Cooking with Sujaya: Indian Food for Beginners. Today’s Lesson, Sambar


    This is the second installment in Cooking with Sujaya. My dear friend, Sujaya, teaches me how to cook Indian cuisine. I’m no chef, but the meals that I cook (that I’m comfortable cooking) are the meals that my mother passed down to me. In this same vein, Sujaya, teaches me what her mother taught her. Her recipes teach us how to include spices in every stage of the cooking process, as well as, how not to be scared of spices or ingredients you might not know anything about.

    We used a pressure cooker for this recipe, but a Dutch oven would have done the trick. The pressure cooker is mostly to speed up the cook of the Sambar. If you have time, and don’t have a pressure cooker, a Dutch oven will be fine.

    I didn’t include the process of the Dosa you see in this picture because it was pre-made batter. Making the Dosa was as simple as pouring the batter on a hot-flat-skillet and rounding out your desired shape. Wait until the edges form, and then flip. Easy.

    Cooking with Sujaya: Indian Food for Beginners. Today’s Lesson, Sambar
    Cooking with Sujaya: Indian Food for Beginners. Today’s Lesson, Sambar

    Comment below and let us know what you think!

    Cooking with Sujaya: Indian Cooking for Beginners

    Sambar (spiced vegetables with lentils) and Dosa

    • Pressure Cooker
    • Dutch Oven
    • 1 Medium opo squash
    • 1 white raddish
    • 1 cup cauliflower
    • 1 cup green beans
    • 1 cup carrots
    • 1 cup toor dal ((Split yellow pigeon peas))
    • 1 tbsp tamarind extract
    • 1 tbsp sambar powder
    • salt to taste

    Tempering Ingre

    • 2 tbsp Gee
    • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
    • 1 tbsp urad dal
    • 5 dried red chilies
    • 1 sprig of curry leaves
    • 1/4 tsp hing
    1. Cut the vegetables up into small pieces. Cook toor dhal in a pressure cooker / instant pot for 10 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally.

    2. How to Temper:

      Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp Gee/oil. Once hot, add the mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, curry leaves, dried red chilies and hing. Let it all splutter and when it stops, pour it on top of the Sambar.

    3. For Sambar:

      Put one tbsp oil in the instant pot and when it is hot, add the vegetables, turmeric and salt. Fry it all for about two minutes before adding two cups of water and the tamarind extract. Let this cook until it comes to a rolling boil. Next, add the sambar powder and let it cook for 5 minutes. Once the vegetables are soft, they are cooked, and you can add the cooked toor dhal.

    Cooking with Sujaya: Indian Food for Beginners
    Cooking with Sujaya: Indian Food for Beginners

    Dinner, Soup
    Dosa, Lentils, Sambar,, Vegetables

    Previous articleThe Power of Music
    Next articleGiving Myself Permission to Step Back
    Olga Rosales Salinas is Managing Editor for San Francisco Bay Area Moms. As a freelance writer and journalist, her articles have been published nationally by Palabra, National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Her debut collection of poetry and prose, La Llorona, was published by Birch Bench Press in August of 2021. Her monthly column "Thriving While Anxious" is featured @ Jumble & Flow. In 2019 her philanthropy and activism began with a non-profit benefiting first-generation and immigrant students, The Rosales Sisters' Scholarship. She has had spotlights in the following podcasts and radio stations; Los Sotelos Podcast, The Hive Poetry Collective, Walk the Talk Podcast, "Making a Difference with Sheetal Ohri" on Bolly 92.3 FM, and Roll Over Easy @BFFdotFM Radio.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here