Sambar (South Indian lentil curry)

1 cup toor dal, soaked overnight
1 tsp turmeric powder
50g tamarind, soaked and strained
250g eggplant, cubed
1 tbls coriander seeds
1/2 tsp peppercorns
3 tsp urid dal
3 tsp chana dal
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
8 dried red chillies
4 tbls dessicated coconut
250g beans/drumstick/okra, trimmed
2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
3 dry shallots, sliced
2 stalks curry leaves
400g tomatoes, diced
1 tsp garam masala
1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped

Boil dal in 4 cups of fresh water with turmeric until pulpy (1 hour).
Cook eggplant in tamarind water 10 minutes.
Roast and grind coriander, pepper, urid dal, chana dal, fenugreek, chilli and coconut –
add to eggplant with sliced beans, and cooked dal.
Heat 2 tbls oil and sizzle mustard seeds and asafoetida.
Add onion and curry leaves – fry until golden.
Add tomatoes, cook until oil separates then add to sambar – cook 5 minutes.
Add garam masala and coriander leaves.

Inspired by every meals hall and idli wallah across Tamil Nadu.