November 4, 2009

Mullangi Sambar | Indian Radish Sambar Recipe

Easy south Indian radish sambar recipe using fresh radish or mullangi, and lentils.

A trip to Little India is always much looked forward to, especially because of the fresh and cheap 'Indian' vegetables that are available in every nook and corner of the place. A typical trip to Little India will comprise of a 1-hour long elbowing through the grocery section of Mustafa, a good Indian dinner at Murugan Idli Kadai, Anjappar or one of those super-crowded Indian restaurants in Little India.

easy indian radish sambar recipe
The last time we went, I saw some freshly dug up radishes in the Indian vegetable store (this pic was taken 3 days after the shopping day so the shoots have wilted) and I had to buy them. I was thinking mooli paratha when I bought some, but the moment TH saw them, he said "ahh, we can have some nice mullangi sambar tomorrow!"

So mullangi sambar it was! Check out the lovely patterns on the radish pieces, they are so pretty!

Sambar is a very popular South Indian dish that is primarily toor dal and tamarind pulp and sambar powder (a blend of spices, sambar powder recipe). Depending on what vegetable(s) you add to it, the flavour changes. In Kerala, there is only one kind of sambar because we believe in using mixed vegetables in it and this joins the other curries and theeyals that we keep rotating through the week.

In Tamil Nadu, the story is entirely different since sambar is often made on a daily basis and the vegetables rotated for some variation. Arachuvitta sambar is one of those variations that also has coconut added for a kick. I served this radish sambar with instant oats idli once and it was an instant hit!

This is the first time I am making and tasting mullangi sambar and let's just say the radish added a lovely flavour to the versatile sambar!


Mullangi Sambar / Radish Sambar Recipe
Preparation time: 30-40 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients:

1/2 cup toor dal
1/2 cup white radishes, cut into 1" thick discs
8-10 shallots / pearl onions (or 1 red onion cut into chunks)
1 lime-sized ball of tamarind
1 tbsp sambar powder
1 generous pinch of hing / asafoetida / perungaayam
1 pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 tsp sugar or 1/2 tsp grated jaggery
For tempering:
1 tbsp oil or ghee
A few curry leaves
2 shallots/pearl onions cut into long slivers
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp jeera / jeerakam / cumin seeds

How to Make Radish Sambar

1. Pressure cook the toor dal with 2 cups water, the radish pieces and pearl onions for 3 whistles. Make sure that you regulate the cooking time depending on your cooker because otherwise the radish will get mushy and mix with the dal. Mine's an old cooker so no risk of that ;)
2. Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup warm water for 10 mins and extract the juice, discarding the pulp.
3. Once the pressure leaves the cooker, open and add the tamarind juice, turmeric, hing and sambar powder. Bring to boil on a medium flame, stirring gently just to mix the ingredients. If the sambar seems too thick at this point, add some water.
4. Let the sambar boil for about 7 - 10 mins until it all comes together and switch off fire.
5. Heat the oil/ghee for tempering and add all other ingredients. Once the mustard pops and the shallots turn a light brown, remove from fire and add to the sambar. Mix well.
6. Optionally, you can garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves. This changes the flavour of the sambar and takes it in a different direction :)

easy indian radish sambar recipe
Serve radish sambar hot with steamed rice and appalam / vadaam.