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Saturday Fare

Steamed Semolina Cakes with Spicy Lentils (Idli Sambar)

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus standing time
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes
Serves: 4
Each serving contains: Kcals: 261; g fat: 4.9; g saturated fat: 0.8

Ingredients:
Idlis
* 280 samolina (suji)
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
* ½ teaspoon dried chillies (sukhi mirch)
* 15g unroasted cashew nuts, chopped (bareek kate hue bhune hue kaju)
* 1 fInely Chopped fresh coriander leaves (bareek kate hue dhaniye ke patte)
* ½ teaspoon salt to taste (namak swaad anusar)
* 225g low-fat plain yogurt (plain Dahi)
* 450ml soda water
Sambar
* 225g toor dhal
* ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (peesi hui haldi)
* 1 Carrot, cut into bite-sized dice
* 125g green beans, fresh or frozen, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
* 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (sabu dhaniye ke beej)
* 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (sabut jeera)
* 1-4 dried red chillies, broken up (sukhi mirch)
* ½ teaspoon black peppercorns (Kali Mirch)
* ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds (Sarson ke beej)
* 2 tablespoons tamarind juice or ½ teaspoon tamarind concentrate (imli ka ras)
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
* Leaves and stalks (bareek kate hue dhaniye ke patte, dandi ke saath)

Method:

* Prepare the mixture for the idlis. In a mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Beat the yogurt until smooth, then stir it into the semolina mixture

* Gradually add the soda water and mix until you have a thick paste, slightly softer then the consistency of a dropping cake mixture. If the mixture has any lumps, whisk it with a wire whisk. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes

* Meanwhile, put the dhal in a saucepan and add the turmeric. Pour in 1.2 litres water. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes or until all the foam subsides. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes

* Add the carrot, green beans and salt to the dhal, recover and continue to cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender

* Lightly brush the cups from an egg poacher with oil and prepare a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water for cooking the idlis. Place 1½ tablespoons idli mixture into each cup and steam them for 10 minutes. When cooked, remove and keep hot until all the mixture is cooked

* While the idlis are steaming, preheat a small pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds and cumin seeds, dried red chillies, peppercorns and mustard seeds, and reduce the heat to low. Stir and roast the spices for 30-60 seconds or until they begin to release their aroma. Transfar the spices to plate and cool slightly, then grind to a fine powder in a coffee or spice mill

* Add the ground roasted spices to the lentils followed by the tamarind. If you are using tamarind concentrate, stir until it is dissolved completely. Add the fresh coriander leaves, remove from the heat and serve with the stremed cakes

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Sentinel Group