Baba's Okra Sambar

10 okras/ladies finger
1 brinjal, cut into 8 to 10 parts
1 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup toor dhal , washed
1 tbsp tamarind juice
salt to taste

Pounded Coarsely
2 nips garlic
3 shallots
1/4 tsp cumin seeds

3/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp over heaped baba's sambar powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida/kayam powder

2 dried chilies(break into a few segments and deseed)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves

When preparing sambar, especially preparing okra sambar, it is always advised not to use different types of vegetables, as the okras will infuse their own taste which will be lost if mixed with too many vegetables. Therefore prepare okra sambar with minimum vegetables.

Pressure cook 1/4 cup washed toor dhal with tomatoes and brinjal. Cut small both these vegetables. Add in about 2 to 3 cups of water. Cook for about 5 to 6 whistle. Then smash the cooked dhal, tomatoes and brinjal so it becomes mushy. Mix in the powders, pounded ingredients, salt, and tamarind juice. Add about 4 cups of water and leave to simmer. Meanwhile, heat a wok or non stick pan, add in 1 tsp oil, fry the okras in low heat. Okras are cut into smaller parts for sambar. Each okra, cut into 3 parts, the smaller ones you can cut it into two. The reason for the okras to be fried slightly is to take away the stickiness from the okras. By frying lightly, it would be tastier as well. Add  in the fried okras into the simmering gravy. You need to cook the gravy at least about 40 to 45 mins over medium heat in order to take away the raw smell of the powders. The longer you simmer, the better the taste would be. I prefer my sambar to be slightly thicker, therefore I have closed once I got the consistency I wanted. Then we need to temper. In a wok, heat 2 tbsp oil, add in dried chilies, stir a bit, then add in mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and stir slightly. Then you can add in cumin and fennel seeds. Finally, add in curry leaves. Be careful when you throw in curry leaves, as it will splutter, therefore add with caution. Once the curry leaves becomes a bit crisp, close fire and mix into the sambar. Taste to check salt.
Sambar usually thickens once it cools down, if you feel it's too thick,  pour some boiling hot water and stir before serving. Do check the salt as well as you might need to add when adding water.

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