Kerala style sambar, in the Instant Pot

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Executive Chef
Nov 21, 2018
Woodbury, NJ
Today, I made a Kerala style sambala, with 4 different vegetables in it, plus some coconut - what makes it Kerala style. It's not a one dish meal, since the seasonings for the masala paste are toasted in a skillet. Since I didn't have fresh coconut, I used dried, unsweetened, reconstituted some, in hot water. So that was my first step - rehydrating 1/3 c dried coconut in 1/2 c hot water, then 1 oz dried eggplant (about 3/4 lb before drying) in hot water.

Meanwhile, the dal gets pre-cooked. Wash
3/4 c toor dal, and place in the IP with 2 c water, 3/4 tsp turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp asafoetida. Set to pressure cook for 10 minutes, release naturally, then mash the dal, after cooled some.

Sambar Masala Paste

Combine in about a 10" skillet:

2 tsp coconut oil
5 Kashmiri peppers, broken up some
2 Thai peppers, broken up some (or 2 more Kashmiri, for less heat)
2 1/2 tb coriander seed
1/4 tsp cumin seed
1/4 tsp fenugreek
1/2 tb channa dal
20 black peppercorns
10-12 curry leaves
4 tb chopped shallots
soaked coconut, strained and squeezed dry (save water)

Melt the coconut oil in the skillet over very low heat - I do this over a pilot light, while measuring this stuff out. Put the dry ingredients and curry leaves in the skillet, and toss to coat with the oil, then add the shallots and coconut. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 6-7 minutes, or until leaves, peppers, and coconut starts getting a little browned. Remove to a plate to cool. Grind to a paste with about 1/2 c water (I added a little more).
Ingredients for the sambar masala paste, toasted. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Sambar masala paste. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Any vegetables can be used, within reason! This time, I used some potatoes and a sweet potato, peeled and diced, a small butternut, a couple frozen tomatoes, and some dried eggplant. Here I put about 6 cups of those cubed up vegetables in the dal, plus about 3 c water (including that coconut water) about 1½ tsp salt then set for 6 minutes, and let the pressure release naturally.
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut, eggplant, and tomatoes, ready to cook with the pre-cooked dal, for the sambar. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Here, I stirred in the masala paste, and 1 1/2 tb tamarind concentrate, and let it simmer for several minutes.
Sambar, after cooking the masala paste several minutes, before adding the tarka. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Last, a simple tarka - 1 tb coconut oil, 3/4 tsp black mustard seed, and 6 curry leaves, cooked until sputtering. Stir in, and serve.
Simple tarka for the sambar - some mustard seed and curry leaves, cooked in coconut oil.. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Kerala style sambar, with potato, sweet potato, butternut, and eggplant. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

I was going to make some quick (non-fermented) idli to eat with it, but it got too late - maybe tomorrow, when I share it with some friends.
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