I don't like to cook when A is not coming home, and usually settle for instant noodles with some soup thrown in for effect. Tonight, though, I decided to leave the snow-covered view from my windows to make a collard-greens sambhar with idlis. He can eat the leftovers tomorrow..:)
Idlis are traditionally made with a lentil-rice batter, like this. We usually make the microwave semolina version, which can be made in fifteen minutes and is more convenient, if not quite as flavorful.
Sambhar is basically a lentil-vegetable stew, forgiving and versatile, a very good way of using up leftover vegetables and lentils. I made a collard greens sambhar.
– 1 cup arhar/toor daal, or yellow Indian lentils
– 1/2 can diced tomatoes
– 1/2 bunch collard greens, chopped
– 1 tsp black mustard seeds
– 1 tsp cumin seeds
– a pinch asfoetida
– 1 dried red chilli
– 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
– 1 tsp tamarind paste/ 2 tbsp lime juice
– a few dried/fresh curry leaves
– 1 tsp vegetable oil
– salt to taste
– Cilantro leaves for garnish.
Heat oil in a heavy pan. Add asfoetida, cumin, mustard seeds, dried chilli, curry leaves. When the spices start to sizzle, add the greens and saute until wilted.
Add tomatoes, lentils, turmeric, salt, and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the lentils start breaking down. I use a pressure-cooker.
Mash some of the sambhar using a hand blender/ heavy ladle. I like to keep it chunky, and do very little mashing.
Add the tamarind paste/lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve hot with idlis/rice/bread, or as a soup.
Tastes especially good with M.A.S.H.