Sambar is a dish served with Idly / Khotto / Vada / Dosa / Pongal etc. in the southern parts of India. Idly / Vada are almost go hand in hand with Sambar. Sambar is prepared by cooking lentil with spices and vegetables. Any vegetable of your choice can be added to the same. Sambar can be prepared by adding masala grounded freshly however in India, Sambar powder is readily available in the market and is very handy. If required in large quantity one can always prepare the sambar powder at home too. Here, i have used store bought Sambar Powder. I will soon post Sambar prepared with fresh masala as well as the method of preparation of Sambar Powder too.
For the Preparation of Beetroot Sambar : Skin and chop into cubes 2-3 medium sized beetroot. Pressure Cook the beetroot to one whistle and let cool. Wash and wipe 2-3 large sized tomatoes, chop them to cubes and keep ready. Peel off the skin and cut into large cubes shaped size 3-4 medium sized onions. Keep these ready aside. Add water to a marble sized tamarind and remove a thick pulp, strain and keep it ready.
Wash and pressure cook the 1 cup of tuvar dal by adding 3 cups of water to 4 whistles. Cool and remove from the cooker into a vessel and churn well to get an even dal texture. Add in the cooked beetroot, tamarind paste, salt to taste, tomato and onions. Add in more water if necessary to bring to sambar consistency. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Heat 3 tblsp of oil in a small pan, when hot add 1 tsp rai (sasam), when they splutter add 8-10 curry leaves and 1 tsp of hing powder, add in 2 heaped tblsp of sambar masala powder and mix well, add a few drops of water if you find the masala burning.
Add this to the dal with vegetables and the chopped onions, mix well, add water if necessary to bring to required consistency and bring to a boil, then simmer the sambar for 5-10 minutes.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with Idly / Vada / dosa.