Though I have always loved vatha kozhambu and theeyals better than sambar, ever since I started cooking on my own, I love sambar! However, making sambar on a weeknight means also making a thoran or poriyal to go with it. Sambar sadam or Bise Bele Bath is the quick answer for that. Add in all the vegetables you have in hand and there you go - a nutritious one-dish meal in no time that's very forgiving when it comes to what vegetables you add to it.
Although I realise the actual version requires coconut and freshly ground and powdered spices, etc, that's not a very weeknight-friendly recipe. I have tried that a couple of times but the sheer time it takes to peel the shallots itself is a turn-off.
Anyway, here's how I make mine, the easy, quick version of Sambar Sadam made in a pressure cooker.
Bisi Bele Bath / Sambar Sadam Recipe
Preparation time - 15 mins
Special utensil needed - pressure cooker
What I Use:
Rice - 1.5 cups
I use ponni or basmati but the regular rice you use every day will work just fine.
Toor / tuvar / kandi pappu / pigeon peas - 3/4 to 1 cup
Tamarind - a marble-sized ball or 2 tbsp tamarind paste
Chopped vegetables - 1.5 cups
You can use any vegetables you have in hand like French beans, carrots, potatoes, peas, tomatoes, drumstick, capsicum, etc.
Shallots - 6 (optional)
Green chillies - 2
Sambar powder - 1.5 to 2 tbsp
Hing / Asafoetida / Perungayam - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Shallots - 2, sliced thin (optional)
How to make Sambar Sadam in a Pressure Cooker:
1. Add 1 cup warm water to the tamarind and extract juice. Discard pulp. If using tamarind paste, dissolve it in 1 cup water without any lumps.
2. Heat oil for tempering in the pressure cooker pan and add the rest of the ingredients. Fry the shallots for tempering, if using, until golden brown. Then add the hing, green chillies, turmeric and sambar powder and mix well for 10 seconds.
3. Add all the ingredients and sufficient water. To cook the rice I use every day, the ratio of rice:water is 1:2. Since I have used 1.5 cups rice here, I need 3 cups water in total. Tamarind juice is in 1 cup water so I added approximately 2 more cups of water to the cooker. Its fine if its slightly more than that.
4. Cook for 3 whistles. If you like your sambar sadam a bit mushy, then cook for 4 whistles and make sure you add slightly more water than specified above.
5. Wait till pressure leaves and serve hot with vadaam / chips / appalam and raita / curd.