Sunday, 13 January 2013

Ulli Sambar - Our comfort food!

Missing your family members, when you stay abroad is quite natural! Most of the times, when I cook certain dishes which are truly south Indian, the food simply carries you back across the miles. One such favorite item in our household is Ulli Sambar AKA Onion sambar. For this recipe I have to give away the whole credit to the homemade sambar masala prepared by my amma for me. The spicy aroma while cooking fills our home & hearts. I stick to 'ulli' sambar as getting all the Kerala veggies for sambar is quite difficult. The shallots (cheriya ulli) which are readily available in most stores make ulli sambar an easy option. For both of us, this is one of our comfort food :)

Ulli Sambar
Recipe adapted from my amma
Ulli Sambar - Our comfort food!


1/2 cup Toor Daal /Yellow lentil
4 - 5 Shallots /small Onions (I cut each into two or three chunks, as shallots are not very small)
2 Green Chillies, slit length wise
1 Tomato, chopped
a small ball size Tamarind
few Chopped Coriander Leaves
few Mustard Seeds
3 Dry Red Chillies
few Curry Leaves
a pinch of Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Red Chilly powder
1 Tbsp Sambar Powder (I use homemade sambar powder)
3 Tbsp Oil
Salt, to taste

  • Pressure cook toor daal with water for 5 whistle's.  Keep it aside until cooled completely.
  • Soak tamarind in a little warm water for sometime, sieve and collect the tamarind water from it. 
  • Heat a Tbsp of oil in a pan and add small onions/shallots and green chillies and saute for 3 minutes. 
  • Add chopped tomato and enough water and cover the pan and allow to cook for sometime.
  • When small onions are cooked and done, then add in the tamarind water and let the mixture boil.
  • Now transfer the whole onion tomato mixture into pot with cooked daal. Stir and simmer on low flame for some more time and add salt as needed.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves and and sprinkle asafoetida powder and simmer for 2 more minutes. 
  • Meanwhile heat some more oil in pan and allow mustard seeds to splutter, throw in the dried red chillies and curry leaves and fry for a minute.
  • Add the sambar powder turmeric powder and chilly powder and saute for 2 minutes on low flame. (Make sure not to burn the masala).
  • Transfer the masala mix in to daal mixture and mix well. Simmer for few minutes and your sambar is ready. 
Notes: We usually have this with rice or dosa's. For authentic Kerala cuisine taste, use coconut oil while preparing sambar.

                                  ♥ Thank You ♥

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