Instant Pot sambar, using part of a 2021 butternut squash.

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Master Chef
Nov 21, 2018
Woodbury, NJ
I was in the mood for an Indian dish, so I put together a one dish meal in the Instant Pot - a sambar, using my last butternut from 2021(!), my last small eggplants and the last Indian cucumber of this season, some kale and senposai from today, plus a potato. I used a cup of toor dal, plus 2/3 c oat groats, and started with an onion, sautéed a few minutes in a little oil, with 6 cloves of minced garlic, cooked briefly, then 4 tb sambar masala added briefly, followed by some finely chopped tomatoes - a little over a cup. That was cooked a few minutes, then I added the diced veggies and greens, stirred to coat them, then the dal and oats, with 6 c water. Added just enough salt (added a little more later), set it on manual, for 14 minutes, and covered. Let the pressure release naturally (about 17 minutes), then stirred in some tamarind, and a little more salt and sambar masala, and checked for seasonings. I let it simmer while fixing the tarka (OK, so it's not really a one dish meal), which actually takes longer to measure out than to cook! The tarka was stirred in, then 1/2 c chopped cilantro. Absolutely delicious!
Last butternut squash from 2021, to make a sambar with, along with several other veggies. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Butternut cubes, stirred in with onions, garlic, and sambar mix. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Greens added to the mix - kale and senposai. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Ingredients lined up for the tarka - mustard seed, peppers, urad dal, and cumin, then the asafoetida with the curry leaves. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Finished sambar, with tarka added. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Finished sambar, with butternut, kale, senposai, eggplant, potato, and cucumber. by pepperhead212, on Flickr
Interesting sounding dish. I had no idea that there was dal in a tarka. Is that common? Could it be other types of dal?
Interesting sounding dish. I had no idea that there was dal in a tarka. Is that common? Could it be other types of dal?
Yes, a small amount of dal is often put in the oil, to cook until toasted, to give the tempering a nutty flavor. Chana dal is often used, too, and sometimes both; the urad dal is the most commonly used, but if you have the chana dal you can use that instead, if a recipe calls for the urad. I haven't done it, but maybe you could use the red lentils, or masoor dal. I have never seen it called for, but it might work.
Does the dal ultimately (or is hit supposed to )break down during the cooking process?
I've done a few recipes that call for toasting the dal (usually the urad dal, as you mentioned), and it never quite breaks down, but remains hard ( not enough to break a tooth, but definitely not enough to blend into he sauce. I wasn't sure if I just didnt cook the dish long enough, or thats how its supposed to be.
I've never had them stay very hard - after the tempering, they soften some, after cooking briefly, before serving. They are just sort of crunchy the first serving, but I never even notice it, in the leftovers, though the flavors are still there.
I had some of that leftover sambar, from last night, but I also made a few roti, to have with it this time. I used a heaping tb of golden flax seed, and a heaping tb of sorghum flour, blended together, until seeds were ground up. Then I mixed that with 1/2 c of WW atta flour, and a little salt, then added 1/4 c yogurt, and just enough water to make a dough with it. I let it sit 20 minutes or so, then rolled out 3 balls, and pressed them into about 6" roti. I cooked them in a CI skillet, over medium heat.
First roti, just put in the medium hot CI skillet. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

First roti, just flipped. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Second roti, flipped a second time, to show the browned second side. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

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