Ye Tamils stranded in foreign countries, here is your beacon of hope - the holy grail for bachelors: a Rainman Recipe for simple Sambar online:
1. Keep Puli (Tamarind; not Tiger) in water soaking
1a. Cut Capsicum ( That is the only kind of Sambar I know)
2. Boil Toor Dal in cooker
3. After cooker whistle,
4. Take a vessel and put Puli water (filtered) with Kuzhambu podi flat 3 spoon, turmeric, LG Perungayam (very little), Salt (2 spoons typically) and the cut Capsicum
5. Ready heating vessel, with 2 spoons coconut oil,
6. Put mustard in it and heat
7. After mustard blows up in your face, Add Vathal chilli(1), Dhaniya(little) and fry light
8. On this boiling oil, pour Puli water with all that you mixed in step 4; pour fast and run
9. Let it boil for 15 minutes
10. Pour Puli water second time (that is make some more)
11. Boil again for 10 minutes
12. Take Toor Dal from cooker and pour into the almost ready Sambar
13. After 2 minutes stop heating (that means switch off the gas - not pouring water on the fire) 14. Add Karuvepilai for flavor. You got yourselves some Sambar. Now if you only had some poriyal..
I. Plantain Curry1.Cut two plantain - cut in half, remove skin, cut each half into 3, then cut more.
2.Boil plantain, with turmeric and salt in vessel with 3 times water - till is looks thoroughly defeated (at least 20-30 mins)
3. Cut some green chilli into small bits
4. Put oil, mustard in a vessel and after mustard gets angry at being so treated, add Urad Dal (Ulultham Paruppu) and wait till Dal brown.
5. Take some cut coconut
6. Put plantain (after filtering out water) in oil and run.
7. Fry somewhat
8. Add more salt(2 spoons typically)
9. Switch off
10 Add some karuvepilai
11. Add the coconut
That finishes plantain.
You can make poriyal with cabage the same way - except that cabbage is a green vegetable. So no need to boil it in water first or even add lots of water while it is boiling.
If you are in the mood for Koottu:
1. Cut cabbage (into little pieces - don't cut in two halves and wait for me to call you a moron)
3. Fry Paasi Paruppu. no oil
4. When it is light brown, pour water.
5. Now add turmeric, salt and cabbage
6. Take Green chili - 4, cut coconut, cumin (Cheerakam), LG perungayam, little water, put in mixie and grind
7. When Cabbage "looks" glassy (this is my wife's term)
8. Pour ground items from mixie
9. Boil - till bubbles come.
10.Add milk 1/2 cup (don't ask me why; I have no idea)
11. Light boil - 1 minute
12.Add little Coconut oil in top(not on your top; on the boiled cabbage) and Karuvepilai
Now, if only we had some Rasam (Amma used to make it; I miss Amma...boo hooo)
Hold on cry baby - it is not so difficult. Here is Rasam:
Refer to the Sambar recipe if you do not understand some stuff. Rasam is really Sambar (according to the Sambarites) and Sambar is really Rasam (according to the Rasamites). Come to your own conclusions:
1.Soak Puli in water
1a. Cut tomato
2. Boil Toor Dal, turmeric in cooker - 2 hand fulls of toor dal - double water
3. After cooker whistle,
4. Put Puli thanni with Kuzhambu podi or Rasam podi flat 1 spoon, turmeric, LG Perungayam, Salt, Cut Tomato
5. Keep Vessel, with ghee, mustard and heat
6. Add Jeeragam, Vathal chili after mustard goes bananas; fry light
7. Pour Puli thanni
8. Boil - 10 minutes
9. 2nd time Puli thanni
10. Boil light (5 mins)
11.Pour Dal from cooker into rasam
12. After 1 minute stop boiling
13. Add Coriander (Kothamalli), Karuvepilai
With Rasam, if you got the smell you are done - who cares about how it really tastes.
Now, how do you cook Aracha Sambar, a special version of Sambar that only the most superior cooks know and pass on from generation to generation?
Refer the Sambar section for some details;
1. Soak Puli in water
1a. Cut Sambar Onion without skin.
1b. Get some drumstick ready
2. Boil Toor Dal in cooker
3. After cooker whistle, -- take Kadalai Dal, one red chili, Dhaniya, small amount Toor Dal and fry without oil
4. Take cut coconut and fry Mix with the above
5. To Puli thanni add Kuzhambu podi flat 3 spoon, turmeric, LG, Salt, drum stick
6. To vessel, add 2 spoons cocnut oil, mustard and then wait for mustard to express its displeasure
7. Add the cut onion- fry well
8. Pour Puli thanni
9. Boil - 15 minutes
9a. Add the above combination from 3 and 4 and mix in the mixie.
10. Add 2nd time Puli thanni
11. Boil well - 10 minutes
12. Pour Dal from cooker into Sambar
13. Boil 1 minute
14. Add the above Mixed stuff
15. Boil one more minute
16. Add Karuvepilai
You are done!!!
A few notes to cokking poriyal - as you have seen I have not delineated how to make potato fry and other poriyals. They all follow the same logic of plantain - except that with cabbage, Lady's finger etc you should not boil them too much in water (except if you want to do it for fun and that is your idea of fun). With potato:
1. Cut potato
2. Put oil and mustard in vessel and heat
3. After the noise dies down, add potato, turmeric, some sambar podii, salt and water
4. Let potato boil
That is it - very poor man's potato poriyal is ready!
I think most of the above should work - if you had some common sense. For example, the LG is meant to be added in little bits. I know of people who added lots for flavor and then almost passed out eating the result.
Also watch other cookers (I mean people who cook) carefully until they get uncomfortable. Ask stupid questions. That way you can learn more.