Monday, January 10, 2011

Bell Pepper and Radish Sambhar

It snowed here in Columbia today, so it was a snow day and I didn't have to go anywhere - yay! 

It's actually been pretty chilly the last couple of days and I don't know what I was thinking when I made myself a lunch of spinach and feta salad plus a cup of cooked lentils and an orange, but by 3:30 I found myself needing snackage that still didn't hold me until dinner.  Looking out the window at the snow-covered lawn, slushy street and little icicles hanging from the roof, I decided that a big pot of soup would be perfect for dinner.  After flipping through a few familiar cookbooks for ideas, I settled on the one that, with a few adjustments, appeared to make the best use of the produce on hand (from Healthy South Indian Cooking):

Bell Pepper and Radish Sambhar:
1/2 cup toor dal
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 whole dried red chilies
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
1 red onion, chopped
1/2 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
5 thinly sliced radishes
1/3 cup radish greens, washed well and chopped
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp sambhar powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups frozen green bell peppers, thawed

Boil 4 cups of water, add toor dal and 1/4 tsp turmeric.  Simmer covered until very tender, about 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a 2-quart pot over medium heat.  Add aromatics, cover and cook until mustard seeds pop and urad dal turns brown.  (Be careful not to let the urad dal burn.)

Add onion, radish and remaining turmeric, stir and saute for 3 minutes.  Add canned tomatoes and stir.

Add toor dal, cooking water and one more cup of water to the onion and radish mixture.  Add tamarind paste, sambhar powder and salt.  Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

Add tomato sauce, coriander and bell peppers.  Stir, cover and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve with rice or cornbread.

I went with rice because we had some left over, but I did think about making a tray or cornbread muffins.  Maybe tomorrow morning if work is delayed due to road conditions?

Have a good night, and be safe if you have to go out!

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