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Sambar (Indian Bean Soup)

What you need: 

1 cup dal (split peas or lentils), cleaned, washe'd & drained
1 quart water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon mild cooking oil
Chopped vegetables (your choice)
Chopped onions (optional, but tasty)
Sambar powder (available at Indian groceries)
Tamarind paste (available at Indian groceries)
Chopped tomatoes (optional)
Salt (optional)

What you do: 

Into a large pot put water, dal, turmeric and oil. Bring to boil; turn heat down to simmer. Cook until beans are almost soft. Add the chopped vegetables, and chopped onions, if used. Add 2-5 tsp Sambar Powder, and a tsp of Tamarind Paste, &/or chopped tomatoes.
Cook 10 minutes more, or until beans are tender.
Salt to taste (optional), and serve with really good vegan bread!
NOTE: For a creamier soup, puree finishe'd soup in blender.

Preparation Time: 
Cooking Time: 
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i understand the obscurity of the ingredients. i am south indian and have this for lunch and dinner almost everyday, but i still have not learned to cook it; too many complicated spices and flavouring to be added at very strategic points of the process. but its some great stuff if you can pull it off. a real grandma's speciality!


Sambar is such a great soup to make, but does have quite a few obscure ingredients involved. I have also written a recipe where I have tried to cut down the number of obscure ingredients that one can only find in the indian grocery store. Please check out for my sambar recipe! Unfortunately, I could not subsitute the toor lentil, that is a must!

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