Saravana Bhavan Sambar Sadam Recipe
Sambar Sadam literally means “sambar rice” in Tamil. It is a magic mix of sambar powder, curry leaves, toor dal, moong dal, spice powders, and rice. Normally, sambar is cooked separately and then mixed in with rice, but when sambar is cooked with rice, a delicious, soft, and buttery dish is the result. Today, we’ll show you how to make a copy cat Saravana Bhavan Sambar Sadam recipe, which is the most popular version outside of southern India.
Many people are first introduced to this sambar rice recipe as a main course or a side dish from Tamil cuisine when they eat out at a south Indian restaurant. Hotel Saravana Bhavan is a very popular south Indian restaurant chain that has popularized this dish in mini meals. Let us show you how to make this hotel Sambar Sadam recipe, also known as Saravana Bhavan Sambar Sadam, so you can enjoy this delicious meal whenever you want!
What Is Saravana Bhavan Sambar Sadam?
Sambar Sadam is a classic dish in South Indian cuisine and one of the best Indian vegetarian rice dishes. It is one of those everyday foods that you can eat every day and never get tired of. Go to any of the many Tamil Nadu hotels with a restaurant, and you’ll be sure to experience this delicious sambar rice. When you cook rice with toor dal and hot sambar, the texture and flavor of the rice melts into the sambar masala and cooked vegetables. The end result is a porridge-like dish with a nice aroma, beautiful texture, and incomparable flavor. Although there are many popular sambar sadham recipes out there, Saravana Bhavan’s sambar recipe has become the most popular due to the chain’s widespread reach. This is one of my favorite south Indian recipes, and, even better, it’s a one-pot meal.
Do not let the long list of ingredients for this Saravana Bhavan Sambar Sadam distract you here because most of the basic ingredients are already in your pantry. Just get the vegetables of your choice and gather everything in one place to begin this labor of love.
For this Sambar Sadam recipe, you need a small-grained white rice. I’ve seen people replace rice with quinoa, foxtail millet, or brown rice, but the classic flavor and texture will not be the same.
You need toor dal and moong dal for this recipe.
You need a lemon or gooseberry-size tamarind for this recipe. Soak tamarind in water for this recipe to make tamarind water and tamarind extract. Alternatively, you can use tamarind extract for convenience.
A variety of spices are used in this Sambar Sadam recipe like sambar powder, turmeric powder, shredded coconut, red chilli powder, coriander seeds, and salt.
Get vegetables of your choice to add to your sambar. I have used shallots, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and drumsticks, and added green chilli and fresh coriander leaves for garnish. You can add any other vegetables of your choice too, like cauliflower florets, eggplant, etc., according to your preference.
This recipe needs tempering to create that rich aroma. The tempering will require ghee/clarified butter, curry leaves, cumin seeds, cashew nuts, mustard seeds, dry red chilies, and asafoetida.
Follow this step-by-step Saravana Bhavan Sambar Sadam Recipe with pictures.
Wash and strain the rice and lentils. Then add them to a pressure cooker along with salt and turmeric and pressure-cook for up to five whistles. Add enough water to have a porridge-like consistency.
Take a lemon-sized ball of tamarind and soak it in 1 cup hot water. Once it is softened, remove the seeds and fibers to make tamarind water and paste.
Now add 1/2 cup tamarind extract to a mixer grinder. Add coriander seeds, red chilli powder, ground coconut, and sambar powder. Grind it to make a smooth paste.
Next up, heat a tablespoon of ghee in a pan and add shallots or pearl onions. Sauté them for a minute then add chopped drumsticks, carrots, beans, and potatoes. Give them a quick pan fry, then add a cup of water and add a teaspoon of salt & turmeric.
Cook the vegetables until they are half done. It should take approximately 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup tamarind extract from the soaked tamarind and the coconut paste you made in the previous step. Let them boil on a medium flame for another 10 minutes.
At this stage, add the rice and dal mixture to the pan and mix it well with everything. Keep stirring so that the rice dal mixture doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the pan.
For tempering, use ghee instead of oil, as it gives the sambar sadam a characteristic aroma and taste. Heat ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds and let them pop to release their flavor. Then add cashews, cumin seeds, dry chillies, curry leaves, and hing (asafoetida). You can skip asafoetida for a gluten-free version.
Add your tadka to the sambar sadam. Garnish the dish with chopped coriander leaves.
Delicious Saravana Bhavan Sambar Sadam is ready to be served.
Remember the golden rule of South Indian food: whenever we eat something gooey, we serve it with something crunchy. So serve your sambar Sadam with banana chips, or papad or any chips of your choice. You can also serve curd rice and mango pickle on the side. Enjoy your sweet labor of love!