3/4 cup tuvar dal (Tuvaram Paruppu)
1 medium lemon sized ball of tamarind
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp powdered jaggery
1 1/2 tsp salt to taste
1 1/2 cups sliced avarakkai
1 medium sized tomato, quartered
3 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp husked black gram
1 tsp husked bengal gram
4 dried red chillies
2 tsp coriander seeds
3/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
2 tbsp dry coconut, grated
1 tsp rice grains
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 dried red chilli, halved
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1. Wash dal and drain. Place dal in a pressure cooker with 1 1/2 cups water. Cook under pressure for 5 minutes.
2. Soak tamarind in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Extract juice and discard pulp.
3. Heat oil for spice paste in a frying pan. Add remaining ingredients for spice paste. Fry over low heat, tossing gently, till dals turn golden and chillies and spices are fragrant. Grind to a smooth consistency, gradually adding 1/2 cup water.
4. In the same pan, combine tamarind juice, turmeric powder, jaggery and salt. Place pan over high heat and bring to boil.
5. Add avarakkai and tomato. Lower heat, stirring gently, cover pan and simmer for 10 – 12 minutes till the raw aroma of tamarind disappears and avarakkai are tender.
6. Mix in dal and spice paste. Add more water if sambar is too thick. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, till well blended.
7. Heat ghee for tempering in a small pan over moderate heat. Add remaining ingredients for tempering in the order given. When mustard seeds splutter, stir contents of pan into sambar.
8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.