Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Microwave Doodhi Methi Sambar

This is my first attempt at cooking a complete dish in the microwave from start to finish. In the past, I have only used my microwave to warm up food or boil a potato in a jiffy. It is the splatter and clean up nightmares that have really scared me away from trying to cook anything in the microwave. So I have always avoided participating in microwave cooking events that I see on the blogosphere until now. However, last few weeks I have seen several of my blogger friends successfully cook dal in the microwave and that gave me some courage to give this a try.

It was my understanding that it is relatively quicker to cook anything in the microwave vs on a regular stove. So last week when I needed some sambar to go along with my masala dosas, I decided to try quickly making some sambar in the microwave. It took me about 30- 40 mins to cook the sambar in the microwave…about the same time as one would need to cook the dal in the pressure cooker and complete making the sambar on the stove top. Maybe toor dal takes a little longer to cook than some other lentils that might give a faster turn-around time in the microwave. Regardless, the sambar turned out really good and we loved the doodhi and methi combination very much. I'm actually quite thrilled that I was able to successfully overcome my fear of microwave cooking and pleasantly happy with the outcome!

Ingredients -
1/4 cup toor dal
1/2 cup chopped bottle gourd/ Doodhi
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fenugreek / methi leaves
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsps oil
1/4 tsp asafoetida/ hing
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4-5 curry leaves
1 chopped green chilli
3-4 tiny dried red chillies (1 large dried red chilli pieces)
1 tbsp sambar masala powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsps tamarind pulp/ to taste
2 tbsps jaggery

Method -
1. Wash the toor dal and soak in hot water for about ½ hour. Drain the dal, add bottle gourd pieces and 2 cups of water to the dal and microwave for about 15 mins in a microwave safe bowl. Use a relatively large bowl so the dal doesn’t boil and overflow.
2. Add chopped tomato pieces and microwave for another 10 mins. Check to see if the dal is cooked. If not, add some water and cook the dal for few more minutes/ until cooked.
3. In another bowl, heat oil for 1 min in the microwave. Add mustard seeds and microwave for 1 min. Then add cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chillies, dried red chillies and turmeric and microwave for another minute.
4. Add fenugreek leaves and cilantro to the oil and microwave for another minute.
5. Add this to the cooked dal and also add salt, tamarind pulp, jaggery and sambar masala powder and mix well. Microwave for 2-3 minutes and serve hot with dosas or rice.

This goes to 'MEC- Delicious Dals' event hosted by Kamalika for the month of June and originally started by Srivalli.