Beetroot Sambar - Beets and lentils

Sambhar is the staple food in any Tamilian household, and I’m sure many other South Indian households too. It’s a balance of protein from lentils, vitamins from the vegetables, calcium and potassium from tamarind. It is served with rice and a dry vegetable curry.
Many a people have this misconception that there is just one sambhar. However, a true blue Tamilian will beg to differ. There are sambhars that differ due to the kind of veggies used and due to the method of preparation. Vegetables that can be used in a Sambhar – Madras onions (most popular, carrots, okra, Pumpkin, Radish, Sweet Potato, Potato, Drumsticks)
Greens like spinach, fenugreek leaves, sprouted pulses

As a kid, I would love messing my hands with the peel when my grandmom used to be busy chopping beets up. I would also love the natural red blush-on effect when the peel was rubbed on the cheeks -was probably discovering organic make-up in those days by doing so- :D

I’m not too fond of the vague sweet taste, almost a metallic kind of taste in the beetroots that we get here. There are only two ways I can eat this vegetable, one is to grate some parts of it into a spicy curry-where it imparts a brilliant colour without imparting much of its taste, and the other is in a beetroot sambar.


¾ cup toor dal (yellow lentils)
2 medium sized beetroots pressure cooked yet firm and skins removed with a tug
1 ½ T sambhar powder
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 lemon sized ball tamarind-soaked in water –extract obtained / 1 T tamarind paste
1 pinch asafoetida

Beetroot sambhar in a traditional 'vengala chatti'


Pressure cook the dal with a pinch of turmeric and asafoetida after rinsing thoroughly.Chop the cooked beets into thick slices and then quarter them.
Heat some oil in a pot. Pop the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
Add the cooked chopped beets, sauté around for 3-4 minutes.
Put the cooked dal, and tamarind extract into the pot and let simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the sambhar powder, salt, and boil for 3 minutes.
Season with salt. Simmer for 2 minutes and take the pot off the heat

Serve with steamed rice dotted with ghee .

This recipe is rich in anti-oxidants and iron. This one goes for Kalyn's WHB and a delayed entry for Anthony's curry Mela if he will take it up this time that is !

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