The Big Boys Curry Book


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Sambhar is cooked in practically every home in southern India and can be found in almost every restaurant. It is often served for breakfast accompanied by Idlis (steamed rice cakes) and for lunch with Dosais (lentil pancakes) or rice. You can by ready made mixes (Gita brand) for idlis and dosais which although not as good as the real thing,are an awful lot easier. This is a vegetable curry and you can use almost any variety. Use a mixture of vegetables such as mooli, aubergines, onions, beans, potatoes, courgettes, carrots, turnips, cauliflower, okra and peppers.


The curry

  • 8oz (250g) Red Lentils
  • 2 tsp. Sambhar Masala
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 pint water
  • About 1.5 pounds (750g) mixed vegetables including, chopped roughly into bite size pieces
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped

The tarka

  • 4 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 small onion sliced finely
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seed
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • Salt


  1. Put lentils, sambhar masala, turmeric and water into a large pan. Bring to boil and then simmer gently until lentils are soft and mushy.
  2. Mash lentils and then add all vegetables except tomatoes and peppers. Cook for 10 minute. Add more water if necessary. The mixture should not be too thick.
  3. Add peppers and tomatoes and continue cooking until root vegetables are cooked to your liking.
  4. In a frying pan, heat the oil and add mustard seeds.
  5. When mustard starts to pop, and onions and fry until the are dark golden.
  6. Add the rest of the tarka ingredients and continue frying until chillies are dark.
  7. Pour tarka over vegetables and cover pan.
  8. Serve hot with dosais, idlis, rice or nan.

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