Radish in tamarind gravy (sambar)
This is one of my weekend lunch items. My husband likes traditional south Indian food, but these types of foods take a while to prepare. It is the sambar powder that makes or breaks this recipe. I make my own sambar powder, which works great.


radish - 1 (peeled and sliced)
split yellow pigeon peas (toor dal) - 1/2 cup
sambar powder - 2 tsp
tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (optional, depending on how spicy your sambar powder is!)
salt - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
clarified butter (ghee) - 1 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 1 stalk


Pressure cook pigeon peas with turmeric powder. Heat half the ghee and add curry leaves. Then add cleaned, peeled, sliced radish, tamarind paste, salt, sambar powder and red chilly powder. Fry till cooked and add prepared pigeon peas. Boil for a few more minutes. In the remaining ghee, fry mustard seeds and black gram. When it splutters, add to sambar and cover immediately. Serve hot with rice, idly, dosa, etc.

Sambar powder might be a quicker alternative, but adding freshly roasted and wet-ground mixture of a teaspoon each of the bengal gram, black gram, coriander seeds, 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds, 3 red chillies and 2 tbsp coconut powder adds a special taste to the sambar.
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