Sunday, 18 April 2010

Mung Dal Sambar/Mung Dal Stew

Mung Dal Sambar/ Mung dal stew
Sambar is probably one of the most popular dishes in Southern India, especially Tamil Nadu. I am generally not a big fan of it but my husband loves it. I always make varieties of sambar quite often and ofcourse I do have some favorites. I try to keep the taste unique depending on what the main dish is and that is why I started making mung dal sambar.
Mung is one of the several lentils that we commonly grow and consume in India. Mung bean which is usually green in colour and ovoid in shape is broken and dehusked to yield mung dal. It is quite a versatile dal as it can be used to make a snack by itself and ofcourse a variety of other dishes. Like most dals, it is a good source of protein. Also, this dal is said to cause less wind in the digestive system than other dals.
For this recipe, my main intent was to avoid tamarind as it tends to give a wierd taste that does not go with my main dish which is usually idlis. Here is how I make this nice sambar
¾ cup mung dal
3 tomatoes finely chopped
6 -8 shallot onions or pearl onions
3 green chillies
3 cloves of garlic (optional)
1 tablespoon sambar powder or ½ tablespoon chilly powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Few pinches asafoetida
Handful of coriander leaves chopped
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 sprig Curry leaves (optional)
Salt as required
Cooking oil
Cook the dal preferably in a pressure cooker, in which case you will need water an inch above the level of dal. In a sauce pan or wok or kadai heat about 1 tablespoon oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter add curry leaves, turmeric powder and asafoetida. Now add onions (cut them coarsely but if they are small, then just halve them), green chillies and garlic. Once the onions turn soft, add the tomatoes and cook until they become pulpy and come together. Adding few pinches of salt will help speed up the cooking and add water only after it is pulpy. Add the dal and required amount of water based on desired consistency. While it begins to boil add sambar powder or chilly powder and salt. Few minutes later add the coriander leaves and boil for no longer than couple of minutes.

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