Jul 24, 2013
Sambar (Spicy Lentil Soup)
A very popular dish from southern India, Sambar is a vegetable stew or chowder with a broth made from tamarind and traditionally using pigeon peas, although here in the states, Sambar is more commonly made with lentils. I’ve never had pigeon peas, have you?
One of my absolute favorite things to do is to reproduce a dish that I try when eating out. I’m always thinking, “how can I make this tastier… healthier… better?” This recipe was inspired at Mela Indian restaurant in Asheville, NC. Their Sambar soup is a little TOO hot for my taste and, of course, too much salt! I don’t get it. Why can’t restaurant chefs go easy on the salt? That’s why someone created saltshakers… so we can add our own.
Anyway, I decided to make a Sambar, giving it my own flair and my own heat… and LOWER sodium, thank you very much. To keep it simple for an appetizer I used a tomato only in this soup. But Sambar will often contain other veggies, too, such as zucchini and green beans. Add whatever veggies you like!
- 2 cups brown lentils
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 6 cups water
- 5 fresh curry leaves
- 2 TBS garam masala spice blend
- 1 TBS dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 TBS coriander powder
- 2 TBS tamarind paste
- 1 TBS tamari or other low sodium soy sauce
- 1 TBS date sugar
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- Add all ingredients to a soup pot, except the tomato paste, and simmer for at least 2 hours, the longer the better. Add more water if needed, so that you have a brothy soup and not a stew consistency.
- When the lentils are tender, stir in the tomato paste. You may want to mix it with a bit of the broth first so that it incorporates more easily into the soup.
- Enjoy the compliments.
Serves 6. Enjoy!