Sunday, December 19, 2010

Arachuvitta Sambhar (Sambhar in a Spicy Coconut Base)

A Tangy-Spicy Accompaniment to Rice or Tiffins like Dosa and Idli, Sambhar is one dish that sees a whole lot of variation . To put it simply sambhar is cooked lentils and vegetables in a tamarind pulp spiced with the sambhar podi (Sambhar Powder).

Araichuvitta Sambhar is a deliciously spiked version of the sambhar where roasted spices and coconut are pounded and added to the lentil-vegetable-tamarind mix.  My mother makes lip smacking varieties of  sambhar and to this date i maintain nobody can cook this dish like her. For many years she used to grind the sambhar podi herself and would not buy the ready-made powder available in market. This recipe is mostly the way i remember eating for so many years now. Have tweaked it a little to suit my changing taste buds.

One thing that needs to be mentioned here is the vegetables that go in to sambhar--- White N yellow Pumkins, Ladies finger, Shallots , Drumstick, Brinjal, Radish are the usual stuff, to which i add Jackfruit seeds, capsicum, potato, and sometimes even boiled colocassia (arbi/seppankizhangu)

One other thing -- because of the spicy powder we make there is usually no need for adding the ready made sambhar powder, but i add a tbsp or two of it too to really sizzle things up! And the lentil for me is a combo of toor dal and moong dal

So here's my recipe for Arachuvitta Sambhar----


For the Lentil and VEgetables----
  • Toor Dal (Tuvaram paruppu)  - 1cup
  • Moong Dal  (Paasi Paruppu) - a handful
  • Yellow Pumkin (washed n cubed) - 1 small cup
  • Brinjal - 2 
  • Green capsicum - 1 (medium)
  • Shallots- 5 to 6
For the Spicy Roasted Powder/Paste
  • Coriander Seeds - 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Red Chillis- 3 to 4 - to taste
  • Chana Dal - 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds (vendhayam) - 1/2 tsp
  • Grated or thinly sliced Coconut ( Fresh or Dessicated /Kopra) - 1/2 cup
Spices & Others:-
  • Tamarind - a lemon sized amount soaked in warm water, extracted in a cup of water
  • Sambhar Powder - 1 to 2 tsp (optional)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric Powder -  1tsp
For the Seasoning N Garnish:-
  • Sesame Oil - 1 to 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds, Urad Dal - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - a few
  • Asafoetida - a pinch or two
  • Coriander leaves - afew sprigs
  • Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves ) - 1 tsp (soaked in warm water)

Wash the lentils well and keep the vegetables chopped and cubed. Let the shallots be peeled and set aside.

Now pressure cook the lentils and vegetables with a pinch or two of turmeric powder till they are soft and tender.  Cooking and simmering the vegetables in the tamarind water adds its own punch , but i prefer to keep things simple!

Prepare the spicy powder/paste first---. Dry roast the ingredients for the spicy mix  till they are a little scorched.... The aroma it emanates is swell---now allow it to cool. 

Pulp them to a fine- coarse powder.  You can store the powder in an air-tight container  and refrigerate it for future use. I add a little water and make it to a coarese paste for it to blend well.

In a heavy bottomed pan/vessel, add little sesame oil and saute the shallots well. Now add the tamarind extract with 2 cups of  water and bring it to a boil. Add a little turmeric powder, salt and the Sambhar powder. Let it simmer for a while

Add the cooked lentlis and vegetables . Let the vegetables and dal simmer in the tangy water for some time.
add little water if you find the mix to be too thick. 

Finally add the ground paste and mix well. Boil it for a couple of minutes. 

Prepare the tempering by allowing mustard seeds and urad dal to splutter in  some sesame oil along with curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida.
Add this to the sambhar along with chopped coraiander leaves and fenugreek leaves soaked in the warm water. 

Give it a quick boil and take off flame. Before closing the lid add a pinch of asafoetida....

I like my sambhar a little thick, but you can have a watered down sambhar if you so want !
Serve with hot rice, idli, dosa, vadai---or in my case relish it along with bread slices---

Enjoy !

Sending this to Priya's MLLA # 30 event announcement by Susan


  1. Ilovee this kulambu ,My mom makes it every saturday and esp on festive times..U made me remember those days..

  2. Enjoyed the step by step process,and also the use of different vegetables. It looks delicious too:)!!!

  3. i like this homemade-masala sambar.....very yummy

  4. The sambhar looks nice but the name was funny... "Arachu vitta" in malayalam means grinded and left... :)

  5. Fingerlicking sambar, sooo tempting.

  6. Delicious sambhar..very well explained recipe!

    US Masala

  7. Sambhar with freshly ground masalas looks very delicious, perfect with idli or dosai.

  8. Sounds fantastic...and super healthy :D YUM!

  9. is my dear priya,with her spice magic.......ha ha ...ur recipes enchant us a lot priya......

  10. Oh sounds so good! Can't wait to make it.

  11. @ Abilash

    You are right, but it is "vutta" not "vitta". Araikiradhu is also a tamil word which denotes grinding. So Arachuvitta is a typical PI way of saying ground into a paste and added.

  12. Such brilliant flavors and color! I want to come to your house for dinner!

  13. @ Spicy Perspective--- U r most welcome Sommer ! You will be in for an amazing culinary treat as well as the most wonderful hospitality !

  14. spicy and deliciious sambar perfect for rice and idli

  15. One of my all time favorite Sambar..Can relish it with any vegetable on any day of the year..Good one..



  17. wow...yummy sambar...n nice color n flavor...thx for sharin!

  18. Wonerful arachuvitta sambhar! staple curry in our house!

  19. Lovely sambhar ... I will def give it a try ..
    You hv an award waitin

  20. Delicious good,thanks for sharing

  21. Reading your blog is like a wonderful cooking lesson. I learn so much and the pictures are beautiful. This sounds like another winner.