Easy method using the OPOS techniques of layering and flash cooking
Coimbatore is one of my favorite cities. I love the people of Coimbatore, who are known for their enterprising nature and the respect they show to their fellow people. During my visits to Coimbatore, its almost imperative for me to pay breakfast respects at Hotel Annapoorna. Their hot ghee dosas dunked in their special sambar is good enough reason for a foodie like me to visit this quaint city often !
When my dear friend Suguna aka Kannamma , posted the recipe of Annapoorna tiffin sambar, hundreds and thousands of people validated it with rave reviews ! I tried the recipe using the core OPOS (One Pot One Shot) techniques of layering and flash cooking. I was amazed at the result and plan on taking full advantage of this yummy sambar to bowl over people during dinners and lunches !
First, what is flash cooking and layering? The OPOS cookbook describes,
Flash cooking as no or minimum water cooking at high heat for a short time
Layering as arranging ingredients layer by layer inside a cooker
By using minimum water and cooking at high heat, we are able to retain the color and flavors of the ingredients beautifully. Technically, “grinding” does not qualify as OPOS, but this recipe involves making (grinding) a sambar masala. I could have used a bunch of dry masalas and pastes as substitutes, but chose not to do that to do full justice to the original recipe. Also, freshly ground masalas have their own charm. Therefore, this recipe loses the tag of OPOS 🙂 You lose some to gain some ! Here are the steps to making the sambar,
We will need cooked tur dal for this recipe.
Pre-cooked dal is a staple in most of the OPOSers refregirators. I swear, I did not invent this word “OPOSers” on the fly, there are a few hundred people who OPOS their meals everyday. Its a great idea to cook dal in bulk and store it in the refrigerator to make dals, sambars and rasam in a jiffy. Dals store well in fridge at least for 7-10 days. If you don’t have pre-cooked dal, cook 1/2 cup of tur dal in 2 cups of water with 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and set aside.
Next we will go on to making the sambar masala. For this, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a kadai or pan and add, 2 teaspoon coriander seeds, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 5 black pepper corn, 5 fenugreek seeds, 2 tablespoon chana dal, 1 tablespoon urad dal and roast till the dals turn golden brown. Make sure to saute in a low flame to avoid burning. Now, add 4 dry red chilies and saute for a min. Switch off the flame and add the following – ¼ teaspoon asafoetida, 3 tablespoon coconut pieces/scrappings, 2 teaspoons jaggery and gooseberry size tamarind and saute in the retained heat for a minute. Cool the ingredients and grind it into a slightly coarse paste.
Next, wash and chop the following vegetables – 2 drumsticks, 10 shallots, 1 Onion and 1 tomato.
Now, let us start layering,
Layer 1 – In a 2 liter Pressure cooker, add 3 teaspoons each of oil and water. Add the chopped vegetables.
Layer 2 – Add the cooked dal over the vegetables,
Layer 3 – Add the ground sambar masala paste on top of the dal,
Add 1 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook on a high flame in a gas stove or at 1200 w in an induction stove for exactly 2 whistles. This should take you approximately 5 – 6 minutes. Even if you don’t get the whistles switch off the stove after the 6th minute. Release the pressure manually and open the pressure cooker.
On opening, the sambar will look somewhat like this… Don’t lose heart ! Proceed…
Now mix in the sambar well. At this stage you can chose to add 1/2 cup water to liquidize the sambar a bit. I did it as I found it to be a bit thick for my taste. This is totally optional.
Kannamma recommends the following tadka for this sambar – Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a kadai, add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds, 2 sprig of curry leaves and switch off. Add 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder. Pour this over the sambar as tadka. Also, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of ghee. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro.