Idi Sambar translates to ‘Lentil and Tamarind stew made from ground spices’. Idi stands for pounding spices in mortar and pestle (imagine a massive stone mortar that is adhered to the ground and a 5 feet pestle). This is a recipe from 19th century which was published in a local newspaper back in India and my friend had the clipping and texted me the image. Noted the recipe, tried it and Oh my, the best Sambar ever.
- Tamarind-2 packed Tbsp
- Split Pigeon Peas-cooked until mushy-1/4 cup
- Eggplant-1 chopped as semi circles
- Shallots-1 cup-peeled and halved
- Mustard seeds-1 tsp
- Asafoetida-1 pinch
- Rice Bran Oil-1 Tbsp
- Curry Leaves-10 nos
- Turmeric-1 tsp
- Sambar powder-2 tsp
- Salt-to taste
*****SPICE MIX FOR*****
- 4 Dry Chilies
- 1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, brown rice, dry split pigeon peas each
- 1/2 tsp oil
Fry them in 1/2 tsp oil and grind in spice mill.
- Tamarind Juice: Soak tamarind in 1 cup very warm water. After 20 mins, massage the tamarind pulp. It will release all the juices. Filter the juice. Save them in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup water to the remaining pulp. Massage, Filter and repeat with 1/2 cup of water. Discard the pulp. Save the juices. That is the base for the stew.
- Cook split pigeon peas until mushy.
- In a stockpot, add oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida, wait for the seeds to crackle before throwing in the curry leaves. When they splutter, add shallots and toss until they turn translucent on the outside.
- Add eggplants in, toss them in oil. Add turmeric, sambar powder, salt and let eggplants cook for 5 mins.
- Add tamarind juice and let them cook for 5 mins on low flame. Add 1/4 cup water and chuck in the ground spice mix
- Let it boil for another 8 mins on medium flame. Add cooked pigeon peas and when it starts to froth along the edges, remove from heat and add coriander leaves.
- Serve with rice 🙂