'Arachi vitta sambar' means a sambar made by adding fresh masala in liquid form prepared at home by a mortar.
This is the traditional sambar of India. No need to buy a sambar powder. So the taste won't vary by the brand of powder we purchase.
Mom used to have a hand mortar called 'ammi' to make the masala paste and for me those sambars have tasted heavenly. Here is my attempt to bring back that aroma:)
Homely sambar / arachi vitta sambar / sambar without sambar powder:
Toor dhal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - strawberry size
asafoetida - 2 pinches
Tomato - 1
carrot / radish /unripe mango/ beans / brinjal or any mixed vegetable- 1 cup
Roast and grind:
coriander seed - 2 tbsp
dry red chilly - 6
channa dhal - 1 tbsp
Toor dhal - 1 tsp
fenugreek - 1/4 tsp
Shredded coconut - 3 tbsp
Mustard seed - 1 tsp
cumin - a few
shallot onion - 5 to 10
curry leaves - 1 sprig
oil / ghee - 1 tbsp
Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 20 minutes. Squeeze it and get the extract.
Wash and clean the Toor dal .Pressure cook it along with turmeric powder ,asafoetida and a cup of water for a whistle , reduce flame and cook for 10 minutes.
(If you do not have pressure cooker then boil 2 cups of water and add the dal, water,turmeric powder ,asafoetida and oil.Close it and cook till the dhal becomes soft.)
Then mash it coarsely. Keep aside.
Cook the vegetables in tamarind extract with salt.
Heat a tsp of oil and fry all the items given (except coconut) to roast and grind to a fine paste.
Add this paste to the cooked vegetables and let it boil.
Immediately add the mashed dhal and check for salt.
Heat oil / ghee in a wok and let the mustard splutter. Then add the shallot (skinned but whole), curry leaf ,cumin . Saute till the onion becomes golden brown.
Pour it over the kulambu and let it come to a boil.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.
Serve with rice or idly /dosa.