Your idli's best friend! How did history play its part in naming this dish 'Sambhar'?

Your idli's best friend! How did history play its part in naming this dish 'Sambhar'?

Mar 25 , 2021

On a busy work day or while traveling you manage to squeeze in just about 15 minutes for breakfast at the local eatery. You skim through the menu and wonder what is it that they can bring to the table in under 5 minutes and you can eat in less than 10 minutes before you have to rush to your office.

The answer will always be IDLI accompanied with the tangy soupy Sambhar! Today though, we talk about the Sambhar.

The story of Sambhar is a well known one, from different authors. The most common story is that Sambhar was actually prepared in the Thanjavur kitchen of a Marathi King known as “Shahaji Bhonsale”, son of Ekoji, and founder of the Marathi rule of Thanjavur. On one particular occasion, Shahaji who used to enjoy cooking was trying to prepare amti (Maharashtrian dish), which included Kokum as it’s main ingredient. Due to the unavailability of Kokum, Shahaji himself decided to experiment by replacing Kokum with Tamarind. In this scenario, the dish known as amti was prepared using vegetables, lentils, and Tamarind. It was then first served to Shivaji’s son “Sambhaji” who had come to Tamil Nadu, Thanjavur to meet his relative “Shahaji Maharaj”. The dish was loved by Sambhaji and thus it became popular that way. The experimentation turned out to be good and everybody liked it so much, that the dish was named as “Sambar” after Sambhaji’s name.

Sambar often contains sambar powder, a coarse spice mix made of roasted lentils, roasted whole red chilies, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and sometimes asafoetida and curry leaves. Regional variations include cumin, black pepper, grated coconut, cinnamon, chana dal, urad dal, tur dal, or other spices.

We've got you at iPaaka, you don't have to worry about making this tasty Sambhar from scratch. Our preservative free mix can be prepared in under 10 mins, so pop it on the stove while you leave your idlis to get steamed! 


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