Happy Konkani New Year.

04 Apr

Today is the Konkani new year. We marked the occasion with a nice family dinner last night. It was extra special this year as we got to celebrate it with Sonal and family. They are our friends from Indy and we were seeing them after 7 long years. It was amazing catching up with them. We picked up right where we left off. I guess seven years means nothing between good friends.
I am the biggest offender when it comes to celebrating the non-commercialized festivals. I never forget Diwali, Christmas, Thanksgiving or Ganesh Chathurthi. But when it comes to the lesser talked about ones like Ugadi (in the US anyways) and I will easily let it pass me by, especially if it falls on a week day.
Last year I decided enough is enough. I would have to try to be accommodating of all types of festivals, the famous and the not-so-famous.
In order to stay true to my words, I made an elaborate dinner of South Indian delicacies to celebrate Ugadi (Samsar padwo in Konkani), like mom would. Luckily for me, South Indian food also happened to Sonal and family’s favorite food. How convenient!
I made vada, dosa, rava idli, sambhar, chutney and pineapple sheera.
It was a lot of work and I ended up being stuck in the kitchen when I knew I would have loved being outside enjoying the gorgeous weather.
Luckily for me, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the dinner. It was all gone and Sonal’s kids couldn’t stop raving about the food. That made it all worth it.

Happy Ugadi to all of you. May the new year bring you lot’s of happiness, health and wealth!

Vada served with tomato chutney

Today I share with you the recipe for sambhar. I ate this sambhar at my dear friend Shobha Kini’s house 3-4 years ago and since then there has been no going back. And this recipe has been a hit every time and this time was no exception. Thanks so much Shobhakka for sharing this recipe with me.

Sambhar a la Shobakka

*Makes about 10-12 cups of sambhar
*Total time: 1 hr
**For the masala mixture
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp corriander seeds
1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds
1/2 tbsp haldi/turmeric
1/4 tsp hing
1/4 tbsp methi seeds
1/2 tsp fresh pepper corns
1 tbsp jeera/cumin seeds
5-6 badigey mensinkayee (dried red chili peppers – available in Indian grocery stores – from the state of Karnataka. badigey is the only chili pepper I like to use in my cooking. It adds the perfect color and spice and none of the excessive heat.)
1/3 cup packed shredded coconut
1 inch diameter circular piece of tamarind or 1 tbsp of tamarind concentrate
1.5 tbsp oil
**For the gravy base:
1 cup + 2 tbsp toor dal
2-2.5 cups vegetables – 1 inch pieces (I used carrots, radishes and green beans)
**Final touches
1.5 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp of curry leaves
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 of an onions cut into slivers
1.5 tbsp oil
Salt – 2.5 tsp or more
1. if using tamarind instead of tamarind concentrate, soak the tamarind in hot water

Tamarind in water

2. Cook the dal and vegtables together by adding 1:2 ratio of daal to water.

Daal and vegetables - ready to be cooked.

Cooked daal and vegetable mixture

3. While the daal is cooking, in a deep saucepan add 1.5 tbsp of oil. When the oil is hot, add all the masala mixture ingredients minus the tamarind. When the spices are browned but not burnt, shut off the flame and let the mixture cool. Once cooled, grind the masala mixture to a fine paste by adding 2 cups of water and the softened tamarind (be sure to remove the tamarind seeds, if any). Set aside.

The fried sambhar masala - browned but not burnt.

4. In the sauce add the remaining oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds pop, lower the flame and add the ground paste.
5. Add the daal and vegetables. Mix well. Then add water to this mix to make the smbhar to be of the consistency you like. I add about 3 – 4 cups of water.
6. Add salt. Mix well.
7. Finally add the chopped cilantro and onion slivers. Let the sambhar coming to a rolling boil on the same low flame or you can raise the flame to medium.
8. Enjoy~!

Please let me know what you think of the recipe if you do try it.

Till next time,

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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Dinner


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