1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup red chiles
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp peppercorns
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch
a pinch
4 cups water
1/2 cup tamarind
4 cups water
2 cups lentils (toor dahl)
1 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
10 whole small red chiles
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tbsp fenugreek
16 whole curry leaves
1 whole onion
finely chopped
5 whole shallots
finely chopped
2 whole tomatoes
1 cup mixed vegetables
(carrot, green bean, potato)
4 tsp sambar powder
salt & pepper
1/2 cup cilantro
  • stock pot
  • mortar and pestle (or spice grinder)
  • sauté pan
For the sambhar powder, toast the coriander seeds, red chiles, masala, cumin seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, mustard seeds, cinnamon, and clove in a sauté pan until the spices release their aroma. Grind until fine and set aside.
For the sambhar, boil tamarind until soft, and strain so that it yields about a cup of liquid. You can add more water to the tamarind if necessary.
Boil the water and add the lentils, turmeric and half of the ghee. If any foam appears while boiling, skim this and discard. Once the lentils are soft, mash them until they are coarse. You can add more water if necessary, but you do not want the mixture to be watery.
In a large sauté pan with the remaining ghee, sauté the chiles, mustard seed, fenugreek, and curry leaves. Add the onion and shallot, and cook until slightly caramelized. Add the tamarind liquid and cook until onions are soft.
Transfer this mixture to the lentils and add tomatoes, vegetable(s) of choice, and sambhar powder.
Season and cook until your vegetables are cooked through. (About 10 minutes). You can also par cook your vegetables and add it to the soup later. The finished result should be slightly viscous, yet soupy.
Re-season with salt and pepper if necessary, and garnish with cilantro.