Monday, May 30, 2011

#108 From the Royal Malabar Kitchen- Pacha Sambar

In a "post from the past",  I had promised to share a personal recipe with tons of sentimental value. A recipe derived from fond memories associated with my maternal grandmother, one that brings back good times spent with her. Remembrances of her jolly old self slowly simmering a pacha sambar in her kitchen while talking about the simplicity of the recipe and her huge idlis that came out warm from the linen lined idli stands that she artfully removed from her large brass cooking pot. She always said that the food cooked the natural way over a wood burned fire always had added flavor and authentic taste. Bless her soul-- she had assistants to help her with the fire and I don't!! so I will stick to my gas stove-- Granma:).

She said she did not use roasted spices of any kind like the normal Sambar powder used in the traditional Sambar making. Hence it is called "Pacha" which means "raw" in Malayalam, it has raw spices and lots and lots of cilantro. The aroma that wafted out of her kitchen in the good old days, still lingers in my memory. What inspired me to remake the Pacha Sambar in my kitchen is when I ran into the recipe from the Royal Malabar Kitchen while I was reading from Ammini Ramachandran's book  "Grains, Greens and Grated Coconuts".  However, this one is my Grandmother's version, only I did not have fresh okra and cucumber but instead I substituted with radishes and zuchini instead.

Toor Dal/Tuvara Parippu- 1 cup
Asafoetida- 1 Tblspn
Brown Sugar/Jaggery- 1 Tbslpn
Green Chillies- 10
Zuchini-1 cubed
Onions- 1 cubed
Radishes- 5 cut into half
Cilantro leaves- 3 Tbslpn
tamarind concentrate- 1 Tblspn
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tspn
Salt, Oil and seasonings(Mustard, methi seeds,red chillies and curry leaves)

1. Place all the vegetables except onions in a pot with tamarind concentrate, green chillies, salt and turmeric.
2. Cook the dal and onions in a pressure cooker and mix in with the curry when vegetables are cooked halfway.
3. To the curry add asafoetida and jaggery and let simmer on a low fire for five minutes.
4. Turn off the fire. Add cilantro and season the mustard, red chillies and curry leaves in a little oil.
5. Pour the seasoning over the sambar.


  1. Yum, I love a simple and spicy dish!

  2. Beautiful! I love reading your recipes - they are always so full of things I've never heard of and they just sound so flavorful. :)

  3. My boy adores sambar more than anyone in my family -- but he's very picky with recipes. I'm sure he'd love it if I made this. Delicious! Thanks for popping over to my space and let me discover yours :)

  4. Thks for sharing the story & Pacha Sambar! It's something new for me :)

  5. What a great story, I love food with wonderful memories like this. I'd love to try your Pacha Sambar, it looks so flavorful!


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