This Sambar recipe is one of the most loved dishes in South Indian cuisine. It accompanies most every meal. In South India, there are variations to this sambar recipe, but this is the one I use.
Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 20 minutes. Squeeze it out, adding water little by little to prepare 1 cup of juice.
Choose a heavy cooking pot. Wash and clean the dal. Boil 2 cups of water and add the dal, turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of oil. As the dal boils, skim off the foam and discard. Boil until the dal is soft and then mash it coarsely. If needed, add more water as it is boiling but do not let it get too watery. If you use a pressure cooker it will take about 5 minutes.
Masala Puree or Paste
Prepare the vegetables as indicated in the ingredients list. For the paste, heat the oil in a large, heavy fry pan and add the cloves and cinnamon bark and fry for a minute. Add the ginger, chilies,and onionand fry until the onions are translucent. Remove from the heat and stir in most of the bunch of coriander leaves, chopped. Reserve the remainder of the leaves for garnish. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor with the coconut. Set the puree aside.