And Grandma creates a new receipe..

                                      We belong to a community known as the Deshashtha Thanjavur Marathi Brahmins. They are found predominantly in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. We are descendants of Maratha administrators, noblemen, soldiers and priests who had migrated during the rule of the Marathas in south India. The uniqueness of this community is the way they have assimilated the southern culture, food, dress into their own. Not only that, in terms of language too, we speak a dialect of Marathi known as Thanjavur Marathi or Dakshin Marathi, and the local language of the state It is a well-documented fact that these migrant Marathis are credited with creating the ‘Sambhar’ which was thick like the ‘varan’ ( dal) back home and had the tanginess of the tamarind and the spices of the south. As time progressed, they created various types of sambhars and put their stamp on a unique cuisine of Thanjavur Marathis and their mixed culture. Coming back to my great grandmother’s tale. It was a custom then for the men in the family to eat a complete meal and go to work. The concept of breakfast was unheard of. Snacks in the form of evening ‘tiffin’ was eaten when they got back from  work.

                                      Those being the days of no refrigerator, vegetables were bought on a daily basis. Also, ladies did not go out into the markets to buy vegetables! Usually, the sons, husbands or menfolk went on these errands. One morning grandma had decided to make’ Phodni sambhar’ which is a kind of sambar sans sambhar powder. All the flavour in this sambar comes from the seasoning or ‘phodni

                                       Once it so happened that grandma sent one of her sons to get the vegetables for the morning meal. Meanwhile as was the custom she had lit two sigrees, one for the rice and one for the dal. Remember those were the days when pressure cookers were unheard of. The dal would take at least 45 minutes to cook. Sometimes more coal had to be put into the sigree and fanned if one was in a hurry. Raghu, her son had been gone a long time. Grandfather was almost ready and pacing up and down waiting for granny to serve him lunch. Twice or thrice, she went out on the street to see if her son was visible or chatting with some of the neighbouring boys. As it was really getting late for grandfather and not knowing what to do, she went back into the kitchen, frantically searched the bamboo basket which contained only bunch of coriander leaves. Chopping them fine she put them in the sambar which was ready minus the veggies and lo she had created a new dish ‘Kothimbiriche  Phodni Sambar’ ( Coriander leaves sambar)


Recipe for Phodni Sambar

Tur dal : I cup

Coriander leaves : finely chopped one cup

 Tamarind : a small lemon sized ball

Green chillies : 2

Ginger grated : 1 inch piece

Curry leaves : 6 -8

Salt to taste

Hing : ½ Tsp

For Tempering:

Oil : 1 tbsp

Red Chillies : 2

Methi seeds : ½ tsp

Mustard seeds : ½ tsp

Hing : 1 pinch

Method :

1. Boil the tur dal in a cooker. Mash it lightly. Keep aside.

2. Soak the tamarind in hot water for half an hour and extract the juice.

3. In a heavy bottomed pan put the tamarind juice, a little bit of water and let it boil till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

4. Then add the slit green chillies, hing, grated ginger, curry leaves to the tamarind water. Let it boil for another two minutes.

5. Add the mashed dal and salt to taste. Let it boil

6. In another pan heat the oil for tempering. When the oil is hot, add the mustard, methi, broken red chillies and hing.

7. Pour this over the boiling dal. Let it boil for another two minutes.

8. If you feel it is too thick you may add a little water to adjust the consistency.

9. Finally add the chopped coriander leaves, switch off the gas and cover immediately.

10. Serve after ten minutes with hot rice and ghee.

        Tip: Coriander leaves can be replaced by vegetables like red pumpkin, cabbage, capsicum etc.