Top 5 Varieties of Sambar
It is hard to imagine life in India without sambar. This steaming bowl of goodness originated in Southern India and slowly spread across the entire subcontinent until it has become one of the essential components of Indian cuisine. No one can say where exactly sambar was first created; there are very many origin stories. It is at the point that the creation of sambar is at near mythic proportions. Maybe it was originally created in the royal kitchens of Thanjavur Marathas; maybe it was first prepared in Tamil Nadu or Karnataka, it’s a true mystery. And even more of a mystery, or maybe it’s safer to say disagreement, is what is authentic sambar? Sambar just has too many variations. There are hundreds of sambar recipes out there, and just about everyone thinks theirs is the authentic sambar.
But although sambar can vary greatly, there are a few things that just about all sambar has in common. For the most part sambar is a lentil-based soup featuring sambar powder, dried chillies, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, and asafetida or curry leaves. The vegetables are boiled together until they are half cooked then combined with the lentils. A scented spice oil is then added to the sambar for tempering and extra flavoring. Then the dish is garnished with either fresh coriander leaves or curry leaves. The variations of sambar have a lot to do with using different vegetables, various lentils, and various spices. But no matter how you change your sambar recipe, you will be able to recognize sambar instantly.
Below are 5 different sambar variations for you to familiarize yourself with the exciting world of sambar.
This is the most classic sambar recipe; the original, the icon, where it all began – the true sambar of your grandma’s kitchen. It cooks yellow lentils inside a masala broth with fresh veggies and curry leaves. It is super simple to make but has boundless depths to it.
2. Brinjal Sambar
This brinjal sambar takes the classic sambar from your grandma’s kitchen and upgrades it. It is still sambar, it still has the yellow lentils and masala broth. It keeps the fresh veggies and that same familiar sambar taste, except this time it adds a little bit of fresh brinjal.
So, you say you like sambar. You like that healthy lentil infused broth, with the fresh masala and curry leaves. But maybe you need something a little bit different. Maybe you want to smooth out the texture a little bit. The solution for this is buttermilk. The buttermilk in your sambar puts the perfect twist on your standard sambar.
This is a truly authentic sambar that is actually a major component of the Onam festivities. It is actually a type of curry made with a variety of fun ingredients, like drumsticks, tamarind, various dals, and coconut.
Of course, no list of sambhar would be complete without the much needed instant cook variation. This microwave sambar recipe does not need to be cooked on the stove. You can simply combine all the ingredients together and nuke them in a microwave; instant sambar for the chronologically challenged.