Celebrating Spring: Potato Sambar

You know, when something is good, it becomes a classic. This potato sambar, for example. I remember two generations before me, my mother and grandmother, enjoying this delicious and hearty dish. Idly and potato sambar – “more amma…” I would always ask for more when I was a child. Who knew digging into the earth for potatoes would unearth all these precious memory jewels as well! Fresh produce patriotism plus the nostalgia – that’s what this potato sambar is for me now.

I realize that potatoes are not for everyone in this calorie-conscious atmosphere. But baby and new crop potatoes are truly wonderful, and I do think they are worth that extra mile walk.

Toor Dal Mash, Pearl Onions, Tomato and Red Potatoes for Potato Sambar
Toor Dal Mash, Pearl Onions, Tomato and Red Potatoes for Potato Sambar

Potato Sambar
(for 2 or 4, for 4 to 2 meals)

3/4 cup, Toor dal
2 medium sized, fresh potatoes. Cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds (no dice)
10 pearl onions, peel the skin and cut off the ends
1 ripe tomato, finely chopped
Half lime-sized tamarind
1 tablespoon, sambar powder
1/4 teaspoon each, red chilli powder and turmeric powder
1 teaspoon, salt or to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

For Curry Leaf Tadka:
2 teaspoons, peanut oil
One sprig of fresh curry leaves, 6 small dry red chilli pieces, 1/4 teaspoon each – mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and hing

Toor dal: In a heavy cooking pot or pressure cooker, take toor dal. Wash and clean the dal. Add two cups of water, quarter teaspoon of turmeric. Mix, cover and cook until the dal is soft and then mash it to smooth paste. Keep it aside.

Tamarind: Soak half lime-sized ball of tamarind in one cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Squeeze it out between your fingers to extract the juice and discard the pith and seeds.

Prepare the Sambar: In a big pot, heat to medium and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chillies, mustard seeds, fenugreek, hing and curry leaves and saute for 2 minutes. Add the onion and brown lightly. Add the potatoes and tomatoes. Cook, partially covered until potatoes are fork-tender.

Add the tamarind extract, mashed toor dal that was kept aside to the vegetables. Stir in sambar powder, red chilli powder and salt. Add a cup of water. Allow this to boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and remove from heat.

Serve potato sambar warm with rice, idlies or vada. Or fill a cup with sambar and sip with a spoon. However you serve, potato sambar makes a nutritious and satisfying meal.

Potato Sambar and Rava Idly
Potato Sambar and Rava Idly ~ A Meal, Last Weekend


15 Responses to “Celebrating Spring: Potato Sambar”

  1. Harini says:

    U surely have stirred up nostalgic memories of ‘home’

  2. notyet100 says:

    cravin for this now

  3. Indira pappu charu looks good 😉

  4. BlueMist says:

    Lovely recipe. Do you have recipe for rava idly on the site ? not able to locate actually.

  5. Kalyani says:

    wow the sambar looks delicious indira…..

  6. Anita says:

    Sounds very tasty.. I have to try this one.. thanks for sharing..

  7. Apu says:

    Yumm!! That sambar looks so good. I made sambar too today but its for set dosa:)

  8. Madhu says:

    Idly and aloo sambar..classic indeed.

  9. mahek says:

    great looking recipe, a sure try for me as my son and hubby both love sambar…

  10. Kay says:

    Never done sambar with just potatoes for vegetables. I will give that a try.

  11. Kay says:

    Indira, I agree! totally worth the extra walk! I think I’ll grow some potatoes too! 🙂 yes, I’ll do the strawberries like you suggested and will write about it on my blog.

  12. Supriya says:

    how come your mashed toor dal looks so white??

  13. shree says:

    Hi Indira, nice combo of idli and potato sambar…the potatoes will taste even better in sambar, if they are boiled fully and then cut in cubes of any size….

  14. ruchikacooks says:

    Idli sambar is a favorite, and it is even more special if it is home grown potatoes!

  15. Priti says:

    Looks good. I had asked you this question earlier also, Please educate us on using peanut oil in cooking. What are the advantages and disadvantages?

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