My paati used to add a bit of the paste she would've ground for the kootu to the sambhar and it would really enhance the flavour a whole lot.. I don't do this all the time but reserve it for special occasions so have marked this step optional.
I would like to send this as my 2nd entry to JFI-Toor Dhal hosted by Linda
Toor Dhal - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - small lime sized, soaked in warm water for atleast 15 mins.
Onions - 1 big, sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces OR Pearl onions - 2/3 cup
Tomato - 1 roma (small / medium), chopped
Green Chillies - 2 or 3, slit vertically
Green Bell Pepper - half, cut into 1 inch pieces
Red Radishes - about 10, sliced into thin rounds
Carrot - 1, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
Shakthi Sambhar powder - 3 to 4 tsp,
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - couple pinches
Salt -to taste
Coriander leaves - few stalks, chopped
Oil - 1 to 2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dhal - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry Leaves - few
For Optional Finishing Touch - Grind:
Coconut - 1 tbsp
Cumin - 1/4 tsp
Green Chilli - 1
1) Pressure cook Toor Dhal with about a cup of water, turmeric and asofetida. I normally put the sliced radishes & carrots in a separate bowl in the same pressure cooker as well. Usually 3 whistles do the trick (1 on med-high and 2 on medium) for me and the dhal is very soft. Mash this well.
2) Heat oil in a deep pan and season with mustard seeds and urad dhal. Once they splutter, add curry leaves, asafoetida and the sliced onions & g. chillies. After 2 minutes add the sliced bell peppers (if using). Once they soften a bit, add the tomatoes and salt. Cook till they turn lightly mushy.
3) Now add chilli powder and sambhar powder and after just a minute or so, add the juice extracted from the soaked tamarind to this. Add the cooked radishes and let this boil for about 10 - 15 minutes.
4) Add the mashed toor dhal to this alongwith sufficient water and let it come to a boil. Then simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes more.
5) Finally add the ground paste (if using) and the 1 tsp of ghee, let boil for a few minutes more. Switch off the stove and garnish with coriander leaves. Tasty Sambhar is now ready.