“Instant” Sambar:


This is a quick and delicious version of sambar that is best served with idlis or dosais. If you are ever invited for a Tamilian wedding breakfast, you would surely be served this sambar.

But hey, why wait till then? You can make it at home quite easily!




  1. Tuvar dal – 1/2 cup
  2. Masur dal – 1/2 cup
  3. Onions – 1 medium-sized one
  4. Tomatoes – 2
  5. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp.
  6. Sambar powder – 1 tsp.
  7. Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp.
  8. Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp.
  9. Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp.
  10. Fenugreek seeds – a pinch
  11. Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  12. Salt to taste


  1. Soak the dals in cold water for about 1/2 an hour.
  2. Boil the soaked dal in plenty of water and turmeric powder until soft and mushy. Or you could pressure cook them.
  3. Chop the onion and tomatoes and keep aside.
  4. In a wok, heat the oil.
  5. When hot, add the mustard seeds and the fenugreek seeds.
  6. When all the mustard seeds have crackled, add the onions and sauté until pale brown.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt to taste.
  8. And the curry leaves.
  9. When they soften, add the sambar powder and the asafoetida powder. Sauté for a minute more.
  10. Add the cooked dals and salt to taste.
  11. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.

Serve hot with idlis or dosais.


Paneer Masala

This is one of my family’s favourite paneer dishes. The list of ingredients may seem quite lengthy, but the end result is worth it. I use milk with cornstarch dissolved in it instead of cream. But you could use cream, if you wish. 

This dish never fails to please and satisfy even the most picky eaters!


  1. Paneer, cut into small pieces – 300 g.
  2. Tomatoes – 2, finely chopped
  3. Milk – 1/2 cup
  4. Cornstarch – 1 tsp.

To be ground into a paste:

  1. Onion – 1
  2. Tomatoes – 2
  3. Garlic – 2 cloves
  4. Ginger – 1 inch
  5. Cinnamon – 2 pieces, 1 inch each
  6. Cloves – 2
  7. Cardamom – 5
  8. Red chillies – 3 (de-seeded)
  9. Fresh coconut – 1 tbsp.


  1. Cut the paneer into 1 inch pieces and soak them in warm salty water. This softens the paneer.
  2. Grind all the ingredients in the “To be ground” list. This is your spice paste.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a big wok on medium heat.
  4. Add the spice paste to the wok.
  5. Stir-fry for about 4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes to the paste and let it cook together, until the tomatoes are softened.
  6. Add the paneer pieces to the wok, mix in well, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk, and add to the contents of the wok. Cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens. Turn off the heat.

Serve hot with naan or chapatties.