‘Arachuvitta Sambar‘ refers to sambar made using a freshly-ground spice mix, as opposed to that made using sambar powder. The freshly ground spices make the sambar special, extremely delicious and flavourful. In traditional Tam-Brahm homes, sambar is almost always prepared the ‘arachuvitta‘ way, with freshly ground spices added in. This is typically the way sambar is prepared in several restaurants in Tamilnadu, as well on occasions like weddings.
In our family, we almost always make sambar with home-made sambar powder, quite delicious and flavourful in itself. Arachuvitta sambar is an occasional treat, reserved for special days like festivals or lazy weekends, when we are in the mood to indulge. With coconut added in, this sambar is a rich affair, but in a healthy way. Making this is a bit of a tedious job as compared to making sambar with sambar powder but, I can assure you, the end result is totally worth it. Served with some piping hot rice, a bit of ghee and some potato roast, it is but a slice of heaven!
Different families have different versions of Arachuvitta Sambar, with slight changes in the ingredients used for the spice mix. Today, I present to you the recipe for Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar, radish sambar made using freshly ground spices, our family’s way.
The Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar recipe below is gluten-free and vegan, as I have done away with the asafoetida that is traditionally added in. It is also pegan (a diet that combines the principles of paleo eating and veganism). The pegan diet proposed by Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., advocates a plant-based eating style, with a focus on consuming whole foods that do not spike one’s blood sugar levels, avoiding sugar and processed foods, skipping dairy products entirely, restricting the intake of meat and legumes. The diet suggests the use of ingredients that are organic and wholesome, 75% of your daily intake consisting of non-starchy vegetables and the balance 25% made up of the other ingredients that are allowed in peganism.
Now, let us check out the recipe for Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar, shall we?
Ingredients (serves 4-5):
- 1/3 cup toor daal
- A gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
- 2 medium-sized radishes
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
- Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
For spice mix:
- 1 tablespoon chana daal
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- A pinch of fenugreek seeds
- 4 dry red chillies or to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
- 1 medium-sized tomato
- 1 small onion
For the tempering:
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 dry red chillies
Firstly, we will prepare the tamarind extract for the sambar.
1. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 10 minutes.
2. When cool enough to handle, extract all the juice out of the tamarind, adding fresh water little by little. Keep aside.
We will now boil the toor daal and keep it ready.
1. Wash the toor daal well under running water. Drain out all the water, and transfer to a wide vessel. Add in just enough fresh water to cover the daal. Pressure cook on high flame for 5-6 whistles, or till the daal turns mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.
2. When the pressure has fully gone down, get the cooked toor daal out. Mash it well. Keep aside.
Next, we will prepare the radishes.
1. Peel the radishes and chop into thin rounds. Place in a wide vessel. Sprinkle a little water over the radishes. Pressure cook on high flame for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
Now, we will get the spice mix for the sambar ready.
1. Get a pan nice and hot, then add in the chana daal, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, dry red chillies, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Dry roast on medium heat till the chana daal turns brown and the ingredients begin to emit a lovely fragrance. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn.
2. Now, add the coconut and roast for a minute. Switch off gas and allow the ingredients to cool down completely.
3. Chop the onion and tomato roughly. Transfer to a mixer jar.
4. When completely cooled down, add the dry roasted ingredients to the mixer jar too. Grind to a paste. Keep aside.
Now, we will prepare the sambar.
1. Take the tamarind water in a pan. Add in a little salt, the turmeric powder, the cooked radish, and the curry leaves. Cook together on high flame for about 2 minutes.
2. Now, add the cooked and mashed toor daal to the pan, along with the spice mix paste we ground earlier. Add in salt to taste, red chilli powder to taste (if using) and jaggery powder, along with about 1 cup of water. Mix well.
3. Stirring intermittently, cook on high flame till the raw smell of the tomato and onion goes away and the sambar thickens a little, 4-5 minutes. Switch off gas.
Lastly, we will prepare the tempering for the sambar.
1. Heat the coconut oil in a tempering pan.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop.
3. Add in the dry red chillies and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off gas. Pour this tempering into the sambar cooking in the other pan.
4. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. Your Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar is ready!
1. You can use any other vegetable of your choice in making the sambar. Here, I have decided to use only radish.
2. In a traditional Arachuvitta Sambar, tomato and onion are not used in making the spice mix paste. I usually add them in, for the delicious flavour they provide to the sambar.
3. Since this is the pegan version of sambar, I have used organic coconut oil to do the tempering and have omitted asafoetida in it. To make a non-pegan, non-gluten-free version, you can use asafoetida in the tempering and any other variety of oil you prefer.
4. Make sure the toor daal is cooked well. Mash it well before adding it to the pan, for best results.
5. Adjust the quantity of coconut you use in the spice mix, as per personal taste preferences.
6. Adjust the amount of water you add in the sambar, depending upon the consistency you require.
7. I use a mix of the spicy Salem Gundu dry red chillies and the non-spicy Bydagi ones to make the spice mix paste. You can use any variety of chillies that you prefer.
8. Adjust the quantity of tamarind you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
9. If you think the heat from the red chillies is enough, skip using any red chilli powder in the sambar altogether.
10. Don’t miss out on adding the jaggery powder to the sambar. It doesn’t make the sambar overly sweet, but balances out the other flavours beautifully.
11. Instead of the regular, starchy white rice, I have served this Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar with Rajahmudi rice, a type of red rice that is local to Karnataka. About 3/4 cup of cooked Rajahmudi rice, a cupful of this Arachuvitta Mullangi Sambar, a cupful of salad, along with a little gluten-free South Indian poriyal would make for the perfect pegan meal.
12. I am no expert on peganism, nor am I a qualified nutritionist. I am just your regular home-maker who loves food and working with different ingredients, and tries to feed her family meals that are as healthy as she can make them! I present the above recipe based on my understanding of ingredients and the pegan diet, which comes about from extensive reading up from various sources.
This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, the members of this Facebook group cook for a pre-determined theme. The theme this week is #PeganDiet, as suggested by Veena of Veena’s Veg Nation.