When I first began cooking Indian food, most of my dishes were inspired from classic north Indian cuisine. As I became more comfortable with spicing and my curiosity expanded, southern Indian creations soon became a passion. Sambars are a signature part of south Indian eating, typically serving as the first course of the meal along with rice, followed up by a brothy rasam and other vegetables dishes, such as poriyals. These thick soup-like creations can be made with any number of vegetables and are typically served with rice and other accompaniments. But sambars are substantial enough to serve as the main course of a meal, especially when served with rice and some Indian flat breads.
Drumstick features in this sambar. This is only the second time I have cooked with this vegetable — the first time it starred in a vegetable coconut sambar, but I'm already a fan. A long thin green pod, they are commonly used in Indian cuisine, often featuring in sambars as they do here.
The flavor and texture of drumsticks is quite unique. If possible, it is best to find immature drumsticks as they tend to be even woodier and more fibrous the older they are. As it is, most of the skin is removed before cooking and they are sliced into pieces before cooking as it is the soft pulpy interior that makes the vegetable so enjoyable to eat. They're also highly nourishing as sources of calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins and used to be used to treat malnutrition in Asia.
Drumsticks can be found at Asian and Indian grocery stores. Look for the smoothest pods you can find. If you can't find drumsticks you can use any vegetable that you have on hand, such as carrots, green beans, radish, asparagus or sweet potato. This dish would still be delicious, but I would highly recommend the seared eggplant even if not using drumstick. It adds a unique final lovely texture and touch.
You can also easily find prepared sambar powders at Indian grocers, but it's easy to make at home too.
|Drumstick Sambar with Seared Eggplant|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Cuisine: South Indian
Published on January 12, 2015
Thick, hearty and spicy south Indian toor dal curry with drumsticks and fried eggplant
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Other sambar recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen to savor:
Butternut Squash Sambar
Black-Eyed Pea and Mung Bean Sambar
Bitter Melon (Bitter Gourd) Sambar
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