Coming to this recipe, when I saw the measurement I realised it sure is different and calls for almost 6 whole tomatoes. Plus this is the Arachuvita Sambar method, meaning the freshly ground spices are used in this sambar. I simply love this way of making sambar, though on a regular day it's bit hard to accomplish. My kids love dosas with Sambar, though Athamma was telling me that when I made this for Saturday lunch, she was a bit concerned if the kids eat this or not. To what I know this must be their first time, tasting this way of sambar.
Another very interesting aspect was the ground curry leaves. As you all know, curry leaves are very healthy. Still to what I know, most people will simply remove from the dish. That is one reason why we make podis with Curry leaves and eat at least one mudda with Curry leaf powder.
So knowing that this recipe is going to be different, I set forth to make. I had got ripe and bright tomatoes and wanted to make the best use of it.
For those of you who are unaware of this technique, it's the method where spices like Dhania/ Coriander Seeds, Bengal Gram, Red Chilies are roasted and ground along with Coconut, Fenugreek seeds, just before making the sambar. Meaning the spices are freshly ground and added. This method gives an utterly delicious taste and aroma to the sambar and it's an entirely new experience if you are tasting it for the first time.
Basically years back this method was usually done. Though with the busy schedule everybody seems to have now, having a ready made Sambar powder, makes the task easy for us. Still this another method of sambar is something that's truly classic.
Going back to the basics, it helps if you have cooked dal on hand. Read How to cook Toor Dal, and proceed.
Another helpful tip will be extracting tamarind pulp. I mostly have Tamarind Extract readily available, so that my sambar gets done pretty fast.
Ripe Tomato Sambar | Thakkali Arachuvita Sambar
For the Sambhar:
Ripe tomatoes - 5-6 medium sized
Toor Dal / Piegion Pea - 1 cup (pressure cooked in advance)
Tamarind paste - 2 tsp diluted in 2-3 cups of water
Salt to taste
Preparation to be made:
Pressure Cook the Tur Dal and store to use as and when required (Normally Turmeric and Hing is added at this stage)
Tamarind paste made ahead
For the ground Masala / For Arachuvita Sambar method:
Copra* / Fresh Coconut - 1/2 cup
Curry leaves - 10 - 15 leaves
Coriander Seeds / Dhania - 2 tsp
Bengal Gram/ Channa dal - 2 tsps
Dry Red chilies - 4 -5 medium
Oil - 1 tsp (opt)
*Copra - Dried Coconut
The spices, and the lentils are normally roasted in oil, while I dry roasted all the ingredients this time. Allow it to cool, and grind toa smooth paste with little water, just enough for the masala to move in the mixer The paste need not be very smooth, if it's semi smooth is also fine.
To Season / To temper
Mustard Seeds, Urad Dal - 1/4 tsp
Methi / Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp (just about 10 of them)
How to make Arachuvita Sambar / Tomato Sambar:
Bring the tamarind juice to a rolling boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
Then add tomatoes, which are cut in 8 pieces or more, depending on the size. Continue to simmer on medium heat until cooked.
Once done, add the cooked tur dal and bring to a rolling boil again. Add more water at this stage if required.
Add the ground masala and bring to a rolling boil.
Heat another pan with 1 tsp oil, do the seasoning with mustard, urad dal and methi.
Finally add the fresh coriander leaves and simmer for few minutes before removing from heat.
I served it with Rice and Bhindi stir fry