I was planning to tell you all about how to make chole (Cho – lay), which is exactly like the simple dal I already shared except that it’s got chickpeas instead of lentils. This was not my finest effort, so I’m going to refer you to the previous post, tell you to replace the lentils with 2 cans of chickpeas, drained, and carry on. You can, of course, get dried chickpeas. soak them for 2 days, then cook them for 12 hours in the crock pot, or any other cooking method you choose, but the canned ones work great.
Instead of chole, let’s talk about idli sambhar.
Nope, that wasn’t English. Idli (id – lee) are steamed rice patties. By themselves they resemble soft rice cakes in flavor, as in, they don’t really have any. You can make them from scratch, but I’m told they need warm weather, so the batter can ferment correctly. You can buy mix and steam them at home, but you need a tall pot with a lid and a special steamer rack. Or you can do what I do, and buy them frozen.
Sambhar is a spicy vegetable soup. It reminds me in flavor of my Grandma Price’s vegetable beef soup, even though there aren’t a lot of ingredients in common. Sambhar has everything but the kitchen sink in it, pumpkin, onions, spices, curry leaves, and drumstick. Drumstick is an okra-like vegetable that’s long and thin, You can suck the pulp out of the middle, or you can just leave it in the bowl, but it’s supposed to be great as a holistic arthritis (inflammation) treatment. In the above picture the long green stick in the soup is a drumstick. I am not a fan of eating the drumstick, but it doesn’t change the flavor of the broth. You can make your own from scratch, but like I said, lots of ingredients. You can buy a seasoning packet and add your own veggies, but still, lots of ingredients. Or you can do what I do, and buy it frozen.
We have Idli Sambhar at least twice a month for breakfast. The sambhar we get is pretty spicy, at least medium heat, but you could dilute the spice by adding a little sugar or sauteing an extra onion and simmering with the frozen sambhar, That would also make it go further so buy two packets of idli if you’re taking that route, and serve 4 people instead of 2. One box of sambhar and one packet of 6 idli is enough for both of us for breakfast.
So go to your local Indian grocery store, and get you some idlis!