Feb 7 - Sambar with Fresh Spice blend (Varutharaitha Sambar)

One of the reasons the stereotype of Tamilians eating Sambar every day probably is strengthened by the fact that the powdered spice blend is actually made in large quanities. The spices  - Coriander, Fenugreek and Tuvar & Chana dal (at the most basic level, the list can go on depending upon the specifics of individual family recipes) - are toasted, pounded fine in huge mortars & pestles and sifted fine. Unlike Rasams which tend to be more broth like, the sambhars tend to be thicker gravies.
On special occasions however, the spices are toasted fresh and ground to a fine paste usually along with the addition of fresh coconut. Although not considered strictly kosher as per tradition, I find that shallots and Cipollini are amongst the best vegetables to braise in this flavorful dish.


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