Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sambar Puli - A Powdery And Spicy Tamarind Relish


Sambar puli in Tamil means 'spicy tamarind' or 'spice tamarind' to be precise. My great grand mother had very active taste buds all through her ninety sixty years of life. She loved to savour spicy and tangy dishes and had them cooked with her expert instructions. As kids we hovered around her to taste her favourite yummy dishes which she lovingly shared with us. Her sambar puli mixed with rice and a spoon of pure ghee used to be a great relish. But we as kids pinched spoons of sambar puli , rolled them into marble size balls and dumped them into our eager mouths.The spice and tang caressed each and every taste bud on our rolling tongues and it was an undescribable experience by itself!
Fresh green coriander is used in the preparation of sambar puli. Instead I have used curry leaves here as per a friend's request. Sambar puli ensures great relief after a grand feast or after a prolonged bland diet. It is a good digestive and relieves nausea.


Curry leaves separated from the stalks - 2 cups
Tamarind - 1 small lime size
Split black gram dal - 4 tbsps
Red chillies - 6
Asafoetida - one small piece
Sesame oil - 2 tsps
salt - 1 1/2 tsp




1. Separate curry leaves from the stalks and wash them thoroughly.
2. Spread the washed leaves on a towel and blot them dry.
3. Shread the tamarind into tiny bits and keep aside.
4. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the asafoetida. ( If asafoetida powder is used add it after the red chillies are fried - Step 6 )
5. Add the split black gram dal and roast till it is golden brown in colour.
6. Add red chillies and fry till they are crisp and switch off flame.
7. Cool the fried ingredients and process in a mixer till it is coarsely powdered.
8. Add shreaded tamarind and salt and blend by running the mixer for a few seconds.
9. Add the curry leaves and again run the mixer so that all the ingredients of the smbar puli blend together  till you get the required texture.


Cool it and store in a clean dry jar. Sambar puli is neither a dry powder nor a wet chutney. The tamarind and the raw curry leaves give it a damp texture. Enjoy with steaming hot rice and a spoon of desi ghee.