Ever since I received my copy of that award winning cookbook with traditional recipes "Cooking at Home with Pedatha", a book from Pritya Books, the publishing house of the author-duo Jigyasa Giri & Pratibha Jain. I was dying to try out her recipes. I have been eating and eventually cooking Maharashtrain food all my life, but Idli and Sambar are Indian foods and they can be found at every nook and corner of India. They are no longer south Indian Specialties. Some foods are second nature to us. Making the art of sambar requires patience and some knowledge of the process. All this while I was making Sambar, but knew that it was lacking something. it never hit the mark. But now no more, all thanks to pedatha. Her recipe for the sambar was truly SIMPLE. I mean it guys. Just follow her words blindly and you can master the art of making Sambar and all the recipes in the book. I an a newbie to this style of cooking specially with Tamarind. We use a lot of Kokum and Lime in our food to sour up things, so learning to cook traditional Andhra Recipes was a challenge for me.
I read the recipe and re-read it more times, thinking if I missed anything, any trick. It sounded so easy, with basic stuff , basic spices, then where was I going wrong? So I attempted the Sambar her way and it turned out a bit tangy for our tastes. Cooking with tamarind needs adjusting and a little more than required can make or break the dish.So with this in mind, I gave this a second try. Must say, this is a Keep recipe and never will I make Sambar my way. The only thing that my way was missing was Cooking with love and letting things do their own thing without being rushed. She says to boil the veggies in the water before adding the dal with the Sambar Podi/Masala. I did exactly that and let the veggies mash up well. My kids refuse to eat eggplant, squash in the form where they can see and identify them, so it is a very important step for me to cook the veggies till they can be mashed up. Carrots they eat, so they can be visible. My kids literally drank bowls of it and requested some more.
Cooking with Pedatha is like cooking with your aunt or an experienced chef who will not only teach you basic traditional simple cooking, but what cooking and serving food is all about. It is an art form just like any dance or music form, where you need to practice for hours and months and years to master the perfection. Every time I open the book, I feel like her spirit is watching over me, talking to me, guiding me and helping me understanding the nuances of Andhra cooking, helping me with the never heard of pronunciations and names of ingredients. I am dedicating this page and post to her and will post all recipes that I try from her book. Truly a treasure to be shared.
For the exact recipe, you guys will need to order her book from Pritya Books. But since this is the season of giving , I will post the recipe which I tweaked to suit our tastes here.
You will need;
1 Cup Toor dal, Boiled with little Turmeric and Hing and mashed well
1 small Eggplant, chopped fine
2-3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tomato chopped
1 Small Carrot- Chopped into discs
1 tbspn Tamarind Pulp
1 tbspn Pedatha's Sambar Powder
** if you do not have this ready to use, use any Sambar powder that you have on hand.
Salt to taste
1 tbspn Oil
1 Tspn Oil/Ghee
1 tspn Cumin/Jeera
Few Curry leaves
In a pot heat some oil, add the onions and the eggplant and the tomato and saute for a minute. Then add the Crushed garlic and carrots and enough water to cover the veggies. After the veggies are fully cooked and mashed, add the Sambar Powder and salt and the Tamarind Paste. Lastly add the cooked dal and Gur and bring it to a boil. Simultaneously prepare the tempering. Heat the ghee in another pan, once hot, add the jeera and the curry leaves and then add this tempering to the dal mixture. Garnish with Cilantro and serve hot with Idli, Dosa or rice.
Cook with me from Pedatha's book and share your links in comments with all of us.