1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup red chilies
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp peppercorns
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch clove
1/2 cup tamarind
2 cups lentils (toor dahl)
4 cups water
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp turmeric
1 whole onion
finely chopped
5 whole shallots
finely chopped
10 whole small red chilies
16 whole curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp fenugreek
2 whole tomatoes
4 tsp sambar powder
1 cup mixed vegetables (carrot green bean potato)
1/2 cup chopped cilatro
salt to taste
Stock Pot
mortar and pestle or spice grinder
For the Sambar Powder
Toast all ingredients in a sauté pan until the spices release their aroma. Grind until find and set aside.
For the Sambar
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 chilies, 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 tomato, vegetable (s) of choice, and sambar powder.
Season and cook until your vegetable is cooked through. (About 10 minutes). You can also par cook your veg 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.