Radish sambar (mullangi sambar, mooli sambar) recipe, a very flavourful sambar from South India that’s made with radish, a vegetable that I don’t know what else to do with besides making a radish stir fry. Yes I know you can make mooli paratha but really guys, what else do you do with this vegetable? We get really fresh radish in the markets here and I usually just glance over them because I am stuck, so do help me.
Anyway, talking about this sambar, TH loves radish sambar for some inexplicable reason. I think it’s the way the vegetable soaks up the sourness and saltiness of the sambar which makes it delicious.
I have evolved the way I prepare sambar over the years. My favourite method continues to be to cook the dal separately until really soft and mushy and then adding it to the cooked tamarind with sambar powder and other additions like vegetables and shallots. Since I like my dal really soft and mushed up, I soak the toor dal for an hour or so before pressure cooking it, and I absolutely love the results of that. I also add turmeric to the dal while pressure cooking it. I read somewhere this enhances the taste of the dal but to be very honest, I can’t say I can tell the difference. I just do it anyway.
Ok, so radish sambar. Cut up your radish in bite-sized chunks, definitely add some shallots (ulli, chinna vengayam) because it really enhances teh taste of sambar. There’s a reason they call it sambar onion in Tamil Nadu after all. Oh, and also, if you have the time and the interest, do make your sambar powder fresh. It makes a ton of difference. Since I am most often lazy than not, I use my sister’s homemade sambar powder which is fantastic and fragrant. I keep all spice powders in the freezer for maximum freshness since I store them for many years to a year sometimes.
Ok, that’s a lot of yada yada, let’s get down to some serious sambar business.
- 1 cup of toor dal, soaked in water for 1 hour
- ¼ tsp of turmeric powder
- ½ cup of radish, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup of shallots (sambar onion, chinna vengayam)
- 1 of small lemon-sized ball of tamarind, soaked in ¼ cup water
- 1-2 tsp of sambar powder
- A few curry leaves
- 1 tsp of oil
- ½ tsp of black mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp of hing (asafoetida, perungayam)
- ¼ cup of finely chopped shallots
- 3 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves, for garnish
- Pressure cook the soaked dal with turmeric powder for 4-5 whistles or 20 minutes
- Meanwhile, extract the juice from the tamarind and discard the pulp
- Add 3 more cups of water to it along with the shallots, radish, curry leaves, and sambar powder
- Bring to boil and let it simmer until the radish pieces are tender, about 10-15 minutes
- Add salt and cooked, mashed toor dal to this
- Stir well to combine and heat until it just begins to boil
- Heat oil in a small pan (or tadka pan), heat oil for tempering
- When it starts smoking, add the mustard seeds
- When they pop, add the shallots and hing
- Fry until the shallots are golden brown
- Dunk the entire tempering into the cooked sambar
- Adjust salt as needed and garnish with chopped coriander leaves
- I also add a pinch of sugar at the end, it enhances the taste quite a bit but mostly because my grand mom used to do that
Step by Step Pictures for Making Radish Sambar:
Pressure cook the soaked toor dal with turmeric for 20 minutes or 4-5 whistles. Meanwhile, extract the juice from the tamarind and discard the pulp. Add 3 more cups of water to it along with the shallots, radish, curry leaves, and sambar powder
Bring to boil and let it simmer until the radish pieces are tender, about 10-15 minutes
Add salt and cooked, mashed toor dal to this.
Stir well to combine and heat until it just begins to boil
Heat oil in a small pan (or tadka pan), heat oil for tempering. When it starts smoking, add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the shallots and asafoetida. Fry until the shallots are golden brown
Dunk the tempering into the cooked sambar and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Mix well, adjust salt as needed, and serve hot with rice and curry of your choice.
Radish sambar tastes best with a coconut based curry like thoran.
For radish sambar recipe in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Urdu etc please use the Google translate button in the sidebar.