Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sambar Soup For The Soul

Well it is a little boring in my kitchen this week...'Sambar Soup For The Soul' is my new catch phrase for now...

I am having tests to see what is going on with my digestive system, sorry TMI, but that puts a damper on my eating for the moment. I still cook for clients, but they have a guest from India, and it is her younger brother who is here to attend college, so parties, eating out, and traveling for them, so not much for me to cook.

The son did request that I make soup, and he loves helping me make treats like pie. We made both, but you will see the pies next post. I showed him some knife skills and we took some onions, carrots, okra, corn and chicken stock from the freezer and the results were, chop, chop, chop into a big pot of soup. Oh, and we added some of my favorite whole wheat 'macaroni' noodles from a company in Pittsburgh I order on line, they do not taste at all like whole wheat can sometimes.

Sambar is a spice blend that is traditionally served with dosai (gluten free pancakes I have made before) or idlis (steamed rice dumplings), and you would use a metal egg poaching attachment on the top of a pot of boiling water. A wide variety of vegetables may be added to sambar.
Typical vegetables can include okra, carrot, radish, pumpkin or squash, potatoes, tomatoes and onion, but many different vegetables may be used with adequate results.

Typical ingredients of the sambar powder include tur dal, roasted lentils, coriander seeds, dried whole red chili, fenugreek seeds, coriander leaves and curry leaves. Regional variations may include versions with mustard seeds, cumin, black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, or other spices.This powder is prepared by pan roasting the whole spices and grinding them to a rather coarse powder with some salt optionally. This is available at many grocers or Indian markets.

I throw some mustard and coriander seeds into a hot pot with a dash of oil; then add the onions and carrots to pan roast them for a good flavor in the broth; stirring for about five minutes I also add about 2-3 tablespoons of the Sambar powder, and depending on the heat you like...start off with a small amount. I add some chilies, and then the fill the pot halfway up with stock, and added the okra, corn, and fresh chopped tomatoes.

~Apple Pie is coming on the next post!