A quick method of making mooli sambar: everything in the pot, pressure-cooked, topped with a tadka. Ideal for days when you don’t have too much time for the kitchen.
The traditional way of making sambar involves boiling the dal and the vegetables separately, then simmering them together along with sambar powder and tamarind juice. This is done so because the vegetables and the dal have different optimal cooking times, and the tamarind is best added after the dal has softened to falling-apart consistency. This mooli sambar recipe takes a break from tradition, finding a happy medium where the cooking times of its key ingredients converge. With mooli (white radish) cut into big chunks and toor dal pre-soaked, neither has to compromise on done-ness when boiled together. The souring agent in this recipe is tomatoes not tamarind – and so, there’s no extra step of boiling the cooked dal with tamarind.
- Toor dal – 1/2 cup
- White radish (mooli) – 250 grams (2 medium)
- Tomatoes – 250 grams
- Green chilies – 2 (more if you like it hotter)
- Sambar powder* – 1/2 tablespoon
For the tadka:
- Oil – 1/2 tablespoon
- Asafoetida powder – a pinch
- Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Curry leaves – 10
How To Make Express Mooli Sambar:
1. Prep steps
Wash the toor dal in several changes of water, till the water runs clear.
Soak the dal for 30 minutes in two cups of water.
After 30 minutes, drain.
Scrape the radish and chop into 1/2-inch discs, if using a radish under 1-inch in diameter. Else slit vertically and chop into 1/2-inch half-moons.
Chop the tomatoes.
Chop the green chilies.
2. Pressure cook
In a pressure cooker, place soaked toor dal, chopped radish, tomatoes and green chilies.
Add half a tablespoon of sambar powder.
Pour in three cups of water and give the contents a stir. Lock the lid, cook on high heat for one whistle. Reduce heat and cook till another two whistles.
Let the pressure cooker cool enough to allow the lid to unlock easily.
Lightly mash the cooked toor dal and tomato pieces (if they have not disintegrated into the dal). Let the radish pieces retain shape.
Mix salt to taste.
Heat oil in a small tadka pan. Add to it mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida powder. Add curry leaves and switch off the heat.
Let the tadka splutter for a few seconds. Then tip the contents of the pan into the mooli sambar.
Stir and re-lock the lid of the pressure cooker for a few minutes, to let the flavors from the tadka infuse into the sambar.
Mooli sambar is ready.
Serve mooli sambar hot with boiled rice and a dry vegetable stir fry.
No-onion-no-garlic + vegan meal below: aloo tamatar curry, mooli sambar, karela fry with boiled rice.
This recipe calls for less sambar powder than is usually added to sambar. I prefer a milder spice taste that’s not competing with the mooli‘s sharpness. Go up with the quantity of sambar powder if you like.
Also try: pumpkin moong dal.
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