Chena sambar is a very easy to make curry as there is no fine cutting and chopping involved .The yam is cut into big pieces and so is the ginger and green chili.
This age old recipe comes to you from Ammumma (granny).Let me quote what she says”Nallavannam vevunna chena ayirikanam.” She has a unique recipe for making this sambar which I am sure you will find nowhere else.
If she was to tell you the recipe it would go like this… fistful(oru pidi) ,kurachu(little) or a pinch (oru nullu) :). She does no compromise on using whole spices and reluctantly okays using powders but she definitely adds ” swaadu kurayum”.Oh! pressure cooker too is no.. no..for her .
This recipe is a breeze if done using pressure cooker .
Chena/ Yam-1/4 th of a big yam (1/2 pack if frozen suran)
Toordal/Toran paripu-1/2 cup Tamarind- a small lime sized soaked in water or1 tsp paste
Coriander powder- 2 to 3 tsp
Chili powder-1 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp asafoetida- a pinch Ginger-1 to 2 inch piece(cut into rounds) Green chili – 2 or 3 (cut into rounds) Small onion 7 to 8( thinly sliced)
Coconut grated- 1/2 cup salt to taste Mustard,whole red chilies and curry leaves for seasoning.
1.Clean and cut yam into slightly large cubes.
2.Pressure cook toor dal add little water.Once the pressure goes add turmericpowder,chili powder, coriander powder and put the yam pieces and start cooking in the pressure cooker itself .Once yam is half cooked add the little water if needed,salt,asafoetida,tamarind paste,green chili and ginger pieces.let it boil for two minutes.Put back the lid of the pressure cooker and let one or two whistle come switch off .
3.Meanwhile in another pan heat oil add mustard(let it splutter), whole red chilies,small onion,and coconut grated and fry it till coconut is dark brown(not black 🙂 )add curry leaves too .
4.season on top of the sambar.Keep it covered till served.
Enjoy with rice and other traditional kerala dishes like aviyal, thoran etc.
This sambar is not too runny.Do not add too much water while pressure cooking.If u find the sambar to be really thick after adding seasoning add some boiling water and adjust salt too.
Do not omit adding raw ginger and green chili pieces to the curry as all the distinct flavors come from them.
I prefer frying some chili flakes instead of whole red chilies for seasoning.