Tuesday, 7 February 2017

SANDIGE HULI (Sambar Variety without vegetables)

Dekho dekho….baar baar dekho, hazaar baar dekho, dubara dubara dekho. Bas bas, ruko…no matter how many times be your dekho at this dish, baar baar you will sign off with a mile of smile! Here’s a sample of an example. Listen to this conversation between a Da and a Dude. Says Dude “Hey ….see this sambar, Da” Replies Da “Ouii, today’s Sambar dolloped by many an ‘Unde’ (balls of ground dal) looks deliciously different Dude” Now listen to this duel between a duo “Oho spousie, don’t be fussy, this dish begs to differ. Come on, it’s not the same old sambar I keep cooking hazaar baar yaar”!

Come “Wedding Week” in some South Indian samsaraas (families), first dish that’s listed on priority in the menu especially on Devarasamaradhane (first festive event prior to actual wedding ceremony that involves offering prayers to the family diety) is the Total Traditional Sandige Huli.

“Sandige” typically is a common summer condiment which when fried, finds itself firmly footed in the “Fryum” fraternity. But the “Sandige” prepared for this rare recipe called “Sandige Huli”, sorts itself out to a different breed, that is ground out raw, rolled as balls of dal and dunked into boiling sambar (needs neither steaming nor sautéing leave alone frying!). While boiling, do your usual rounds in the kitchen for other chores. Come back quick to have fun watching the balls too doing their rounds floating, leaving the liquid boiling right below these fearless, fryless Sandiges.

Dish Type:  South Indian Vegetable Stew
Time required:  25 min approx.
Serves:  5 persons


For grinding:
Tur dhal                       125 gms
Rice                             1 tbsp
Red chillies                  4 to 5 nos.
Raw coconut grated    2 tbsps
Asafoetida                   A pinch
Salt to taste                 1 tsp approx.
Coriander leaves         1 tbsp (chopped)

For boiling:
Water                          1000 ml approx.
Rasam powder            2 tsps
Tamarind paste           extract from a small lime size ball
Jaggery                        2 tbsps (coarsely powdered)

For seasoning:
Ghee                            1 tsp 
Mustard seeds              1/2 tsp 
Asafoetida                   A pinch (if you have forgotten to use it while grinding! J )
Curry leaves                1 small sprig

For garnishing
Coriander leaves         1 tsp (chopped) 

Wash tur dal and rice with water, drain out the water completely. Using just enough fresh water, soak them together for about 30 min. Grind them along with red chillies, raw coconut, asafoetida, salt and coriander leaves. To achieve perfect consistency, grind them to a smooth consistency using minimum water, just enough to be able to make firm balls out of them.
Transfer the ground mixture from mixie to another bowl. Make balls out of this mixture and keep aside. Grind remnants in the mixie to a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
Add tamarind extract, salt and rasam powder to water and let this boil. While boiling, add those balls into it in raw state itself (no need to steam them). Drop them one by one slowly. As you drop them, you will see each of these balls rising up to the surface. Once you are done dropping all the balls, add the ground paste which you had kept aside. Let boiling continue for few mins. more. Sambar by now would have thickened to gojju (sauce like) consistency.
Now is the time for seasoning…
For this, heat ghee in a small skillet. Put mustard seeds. When they crackle put broken red chillies (optional), curry leaves and switch off the flame. Add asafoetida. Immediately pour it on to the boiling sambar.
Garnish it with thoroughly washed and chopped fresh coriander leaves.
Sandige Huli is now ready.

Tete - a - Tete:
Quantity of tamarind extract depends on your taste.
If consistency of dal/rice ground mix is perfect, they will float on top and not crumble inside the Huli. If they crumble, it will result in a much thicker, gravier sambar than the ideal gojju kind.
As Smt. Vijaya Murthy says, Madras sambar podi (which is devoid of cinnamon) can also be used in place of rasam powder. Thanks Vijaya Murthy for your input
Variation: Sandige balls can be steamed in pressure cooker for about 10 to 15 min. and the steamed sandiges can then be dropped in to sambar just before serving. These steamed balls are more commonly known as “Nuchina Unde” in Karnataka cuisine. Nuchina Unde can also be used as a stand alone all time dish to be served as a healthy snack or during breakfast, lunch or dinner. However, for Nuchina Unde, the dal mixture is ground to a coarse consistency.
Tur dal is also known as pigeon pea

Recipe contributed by Smt. Nagarathnamma, expert cook and mother of my dear friend Smt. Veena Vani Jodidar

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