Saturday, 16 December 2017

Gherkins Sambar (Thondekaayi Huli)

Go Gherkin go….! Sail the Sambar way….a welcome detour from the usual salad or pickle route. This refreshingly flavoured Sambar made from this bright green, smaller version of cucumber variety can be used with steamed hot rice, idli or dosa.
Dish Type:  South Indian Vegetable Stew
Preparation Time:  15 min
Cooking time:  30 min
Serves:  4 persons
Yield: 1 litre (approx.)

For pressure cooking:
Tur dhal                       50 gms
Gherkins                      250 gms
Tomato                        2 nos. (medium size)
Water                          1/2 litre
Turmeric powder        A pinch
Curry leaves                1 sprig
Ghee                            A drop
Tamarind paste           1 tsp (to be put after dhal and vegetables are cooked)
Salt to taste                 10 gms approx.
For grinding:
Raw grated coconut    100 gms
Coriander seeds          20 gms
Red Chillies                 4 nos.
For seasoning:
Ghee                            1/2 tsp (or coconut oil/any other cooking oil)
Mustard seeds                        1/2 tsp
Curry leaves                1 sprig
Asafoetida                   A pinch
For garnishing
Coriander leaves

Wash gherkins, curry leaves and coriander leaves in water. Drain and keep aside.
Wash dhal separately in water. Drain and keep aside.
Cut each gherkin into 2 pieces lengthwise.
Boil dhal and gherkins in a pressure cooker along with water, turmeric powder and ghee.
While pressure cooking….
Grate raw coconut. Grind this along with coriander seeds and red chillies, initially without using water and then continue grinding using approx. 50 ml water.
When cooking is done and pressure in the cooker has subsided….
Add salt and tamarind paste (refer ingredients list for approx. quantities) Let it boil for a few minutes. Now mix the above ground masala to the cooked dhal and vegetables and continue boiling for another 5 to 10 minutes. At this stage, can you feel the fragrance of sambar?
Now it’s seasoning time…..
For this, heat ghee or coconut oil in a small skillet. Put mustard seeds. When they crackle, put curry leaves. Switch off the burner. Now add asafoetida and immediately pour over the cooked gherkins sambar.
Garnish it with thoroughly washed and chopped fresh coriander leaves.
Flavourful Gherkins Sambar is now ready to use!

Tete – a – Tete:
Gherkin, being a condiment vegetable, needs mild and gentle cooking since it loses its intense flavour if overcooked.
Few other names associated with gherkin:
 Ivy Gourd, Tindora, Thondekai, Kovakkai, Horned Cucumbers
Did you know? A London skyscraper is nicknamed gherkin due to its resemblance to this fruit.

Recipe Contributor: Smt. Saraswathi

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