Idli-Sambhar is the most beloved, traditional breakfast combo of the South-Indian households of India. Irrespective of the state and the region, South-Indian cuisine is insanely popular throughout our country.
Idlis are these soft, steamed rice cakes that are served with steaming hot lentil stew called Sambhar and a variety of chutneys. This meal is equally delicious as well as nutritious. In most towns, you will often see youngsters/students/bachelors crowding at the eateries to have a quick plate of idli-sambhar early in the morning, before rushing off to their workplaces.
For the past year, I was longing to make idlis at home but could not find a suitable idli-steamer in Ireland. This time when I went to India, an idli-steamer was on the top of my list of things to buy from there. I found a cute little one that I knew will fit in my pressure cooker easily. I can’t describe the joy I got when I made my first batch of idlis last week and they turned out to be so so good. Yay!
I have been making my own Dosa batter at home for about an year now and I used the same batter to make my idlis this time as well. I had shared the procedure in an earlier post, sometime ago. Here’s the link-
So, just use the exact same recipe for making your idli batter!
As for the Sambhar and chutney, today I am sharing an “Andra-style” version of them, that I learnt recently in Hyderabad.
Today’s recipes belong to a cooking-lady at my sister-in-law’s place in Hyderabad (Andra-Pradesh), whose food I had tasted once before in the past, and had been completely blown away by it. When I came to know that she will be cooking a South-Indian meal for us again on our recent stay there, I just had to grab this chance of a life-time to learn from an expert!
Thus, today I am sharing this different type of Sambhar (using garlic), as well as one of the chutneys from that master-class, in this post.
Give this recipe a go friends, and enjoy! (It’s a bit long but very easy!)
For the Sambhar-
1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas lentils)
2 tbsn oil+ 1 tbsn oil for the tempering
Some fresh ginger & garlic, peeled and grated
1/2 bottle-gourd, peeled and cut into medium pieces
1 onion, sliced
2 drumsticks, cut into long pieces
1-2 green chillies
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsn mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tbsn Sambhar powder
A pinch of asafoetida
1/4 cup tamarind water
2-3 dried red chillies
Some curry leaves
Freshly chopped coriander
1 tsp sugar or jaggery
Salt to taste
For the chutney:
2-3 large, ripe red tomatoes
1/4 cup of peanuts
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 green chillies
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 small onion
2 tbsn oil+ 1 tsp oil for the tempering
Some fresh mint leaves
Some fresh coriander leaves
Some curry leaves
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 dried red chilly
Salt to taste
How to make idlis-
- Thin your home-made batter with a little water, till the consistency is neither too thick or thin. It should be just about pourable. Also, add a little salt to it and mix well.
- Brush idli moulds with oil.
- Pour the batter in the idli moulds.
- Pour 1.5 cups of water in your pressure cooker and keep to boil.
- Once the water is boiling and you can see steam rising up, place the idli stand in the pressure cooker.
- Cover with the cooker lid but DO NOT PUT THE WHISTER/VENT/WEIGHT ON.
- Steam the idlis for 10-15 minutes, on a medium flame.
- Check if the idlis are done by inserting a toothpick, as we do in a cake.
- Take a butter-knife and gently extract your idlis from the moulds.
Delicious idlis are ready!!!
To make Tomato & Peanut chutney-
– Heat 1-2 tbsn oil in a pan
– Add peeled garlic cloves whole and your peanuts in hot oil. Fry for around a minute. Switch off the gas and take the peanuts and garlic out in a plate. Set aside.
– In the same oil, add the cumin seeds once hot.
– Add chopped green chilly and saute for a few seconds.
– Add chopped onions and cook till they turn a bit translucent.
– Add your beautiful chopped tomatoes and cook till they turn a bit soft. Also, add your salt at this point.
– Throw in your fresh mint leaves and coriander leaves. Fry for a few seconds.
– Switch off the gas and let the mixture cool.
– Blend the mixture along with the fried peanuts and garlic we had set aside before to a smooth paste.
– In a pan, heat 1 tsp of oil.
– Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chilly to hot oil and fry for a few seconds.
– Pour this tempering over your blended mixture.
Tasty peanut & tomato chutney is ready!!
To make Sambhar-
– Par-boil the toor dal with salt, turmeric and around 1.5 cups of water. Keep aside in the pressure-cooker itself.
– In a pan, heat 2 tbsn oil.
– Once the oil gets hot, add your cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter.
– Add the chopped green chilly and saute for a few seconds.
– Add sliced onions and cook till they turn a bit translucent.
– Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they turn a bit soft. Also, add your salt at this point.
– Next, add the grated ginger and garlic. Fry the mixture for around half a minute.
– Add your chopped bottle-gourd, carrots and drum-sticks. Give the mixture a good stir.
– Add the mixture to your par-boiled toor dal in the pressure cooker and mix everything well. Add around 1 cup water and pressure cook for 6-7 minutes after one whistle on high.
– In the meanwhile, prepare the tempering. Heat some oil in a pan.
– Add the asafoetida and fenugreek seeds to medium-hot oil. Saute for a few seconds.
– Add mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter.
– Add curry leaves and dried red chilly, Fry for a few seconds.
-Add all the dry spices except for sambhar powder and mix well. Saute the mixture for around half a minute more.
– Add the tamarind water. Increase or decrease the amount according to your preference of the sourness.
– Add your sugar/jaggery.
– Add the sambhar powder. Your tempering will become beautifully fragrant after you put in this spice mix. Mix well.
– Add the lentils and veggie mixture to your tempering and adjust the amount of water if needed.
– Finally garnish your sambhar with fresh, chopped coriander.
Andra-style Idli-Sambhar and chutney is ready!
– Adjust the amount of Sambhar powder, tamarind, spices and chillies according to your personal preference.
– If you want, you can skip tempering your chutney and enjoy it as it is.
– For making the tamarind water for the sambhar, simply soak tamarind overnight in around 1 cup water. Next morning, squash the softened tamarind well into the same water and strain. Tamarind water is ready to use. If you are short of time, you can also boil the tamarind in some water and strain when cooled.