Coimbatore Annapoorna Hotel Style Sambar Recipe

Somebody has successfully reverse-engineered the recipe for the world-reknowed sambar served at the Annapoorna Hotel in Coimbatore. Here’s the story, link to videos and recipe summary follows.

I get at least a couple of mails a month asking for Annapoorna sambar recipe as I am from Coimbatore. Everyone in Coimbatore loves the food from this iconic Annapoorna hotel. I am no different. Their Sambar is one of the best. I had tried different recipes but could not nail it. Then this happened. I was talking about my sambar quest to Prema akka (Vinodhs aunt) and she told she knows someone who can give us the recipe. She told me that one Mr. Palinisamy had worked as a cook in their house in the 80’s before moving to Annapoorna as a chef. She told me that she will definitely get hold of him for me. And she did. I met him at a function recently where he was in charge of the kitchen. Mr. Palanisamy is a dhoti clad chef with prominent brown eyes and a big mustache. His eyes are very unique. You will never forget him once you have met him. As soon as I met him, we started talking. He told that he started cooking at the age of 12. He worked at the hotel for 27 years. He now runs his own food and catering service at Coimbatore. His food rocks. If you are in Coimbatore and have a party at home, try Mr. Palanisamy’s food. You can contact Mr. Palanisamy, Sai Baba catering. His phone number 96984 88764. Another number 9344680106 . His food is as good as home cooked food. If you are having a party in Coimbatore, this is the number you need to be calling.

Pretty cool. Go here for the instructional videos, and here’s the summary.

COIMBATORE ANNAPOORNA HOTEL SAMBAR RECIPE

PREP TIME
COOK TIME
TOTAL TIME
Recipe for Coimbatore Hotel Annapoorna Sambar. Recipe as told by a cook who worked in the hotel for 27 years.
Author: Kannamma – Suguna Vinodh
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: South Indian, Tamilnadu
Serves: 4
INGREDIENTS
Measurments Used – 1 Cup = 250 ml
For Dal
  • ½ cup Toor Dal
  • 2 Cups Water
For Veggies
  • 2 Drumsticks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 10 shallots (small onions), diced
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup water
For Sambar Masala
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil (gingely oil)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 black pepper corn
  • 5 fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tablespoon chana dal
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3 dry red chillies (gundu variety)
  • ¼ teaspoon Asafoetida (hing)
  • 3 tablespoon coconut
  • 1½ teaspoon jaggery
  • gooseberry size tamarind
Other ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 stalks coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
For Tempering
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (gingely oil)
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
INSTRUCTIONS
For Dal

Wash and soak ½ a cup of toor dal in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Pressure cook the dal with the water for 6 whistles. Remove from heat and wait for the pressure in the cooker to release naturally. Set aside.

For Veggies
In another cooker add in the drumsticks, diced onion, diced shallots (small onion) and tomatoes. Add one cup of water, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of turmeric. Cook for 4 whistles. Remove from heat and wait for the pressure in the cooker to release naturally. Set aside.

For Sambar Masala

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add in the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, pepper, fenugreek seeds, chana dal, urad dal. Fry for a minute. Once the chana dal is brown, add in the curry leaves, dry red chillies, asafoetida, coconut, jaggery and the tamarind. Fry for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  2. Grind the mixture with half a cup of water to a paste. Let the paste be very slightly coarse. Set aside.

For the Sambar

  1. Take a heavy bottomed pan and add in the ground masala and one cup of water. Let it come to a boil on medium flame.
  2. Once its boiling, add in the cooked vegetables along with the water used for cooking. Add in the salt.
  3. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
  4. Add in the cooked dal and let it continue to boil for 2-3 minutes.

For Tempering

  1. Heat oil in a kadai and add in the mustard seeds when the oil is hot.
  2. Add in the curry leaves and switch off the flame.
  3. Add in ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder and immediately pour it on the sambar.
  4. The red chilli powder might burn if kept in the oil for too long. So have an eye on the kadai.
  5. Add in the coriander leaves and a tablespoon of ghee. Switch off the flame.

Paper Dosa

This recipe will help you get some thin and crisp paper dosa. It’s quite amazing. The only variation on it I added was to follow the directions that came with my Futura tava about water. They recommend draining the rice/dal mix before grinding and then adding about 2 1/2 cups of water as the grind proceeds. After fermentation, I added another scant 3/4 cup.

Futura also says to raise the heat from medium to medium-high while the first dosa is cooking, but you should do this to every dosa. Be advised that the tava needs to be hot without being too hot. If the tava is too hot, the batter will tear as you try to spread it, and if it is too cold the dosa won’t get crisp.

Hotel and street cooks sprinkle the tava with water and turn the heat down between dosas, and also sprinkle and spread the dosa with oil/ghee after the batter has been spread before turning the heat way up. On an electric cooker, the reaction time is much slower than it is on a gas cooker, so it’s often necessary to flip the dosa to speed up the cooking time.

Mane Adige: Paper Plain Dosa, modified.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Urad Dal
  • 3- 3 & 1/4 cups Rice (a combination of two cups idli rice and one cup parboiled is good)
  • 1/4 cup Chana Dal (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp Methi Seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp Poha, thick
  • 1 tsp Ghee/Butter/Oil for each dosa
  • Salt as per taste (roughly a teaspoon)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder (optional)

Method

  1. Soak the dal, rice, methi seeds and poha with enough water for at least 3-6 hours. Change water three times. Can be soaked in a common vessel.
  2. Grind the soaked ingredients with enough water to a very smooth paste; But keep in mind not to add too much water and make the batter runny.
  3. Cover and allow batter to ferment in a warm place for about 8-12 hours; Make sure the container has enough room for the batter to rise. An oven with a 25 watt trouble light works well.
  4. Add salt (and baking powder if you like) to the fermented batter and mix well.
  5. Place a non stick griddle on medium heat. Test heat with a quarter cup of water, which should bounce before you wipe it off. Once hot, pour a ladle full of batter at the center. With the back of the ladle, spread the batter thinly, starting from the center and working outwards, in a fast circular motion. About 12 -15 revolutions should do it, but the batter must be spread thin to be crisp.

    Note: Spread the batter as soon as you pour it on the griddle – the batter will start getting cooked otherwise and stick to the ladle, if you wait too long. If it tears, go in the reverse direction to fix the tear.

  6. Pour few drops of ghee/oil all over the dosa and also at the edges, spreading with a spatula. Let cook on medium high heat until the thin parts turns dark brown.
  7. If making masala dosa, put a glob of potato curry in the center and fold the dosa over it from two sides.
  8. Remove from griddle and serve immediately with coconut chutney, sambar, kurma, saagu or any other side dish of your choice.

Equipment:

Futura 33 cm non-stick tava; may substitute any large frypan or griddle, but the bigger the tava/griddle, the bigger the dosa.

UltraGrind+ idli grinder; may substitute high-power grinder/blender of Indian origin, an American blender won’t really cut it. The batter needs to be smooth.

Prep Time:

About 15-20 mins for grinding and 2-3 mins for cooking each dosa;

Yield: about 10-12 dosas

Chana Hummus

Chana dal is a form of chickpea that can be used as a substitute for the European/Middle Eastern chickpea known as garbanzo beans (kabuli chana in India) in just about any recipe. Chana has a lower glycemic index than garbanzo, has a more pleasant flavor, and is faster to cook. This recipe is for a version of hummus using chana and some Indian spices.

Ingredients
3 cups cooked chana dal (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked chana dal), drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 – 2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sugar
juice of two lemons
1/2 cup roasted tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cold water
4 large cloves roasted or raw garlic
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Garnishes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Preparation

  1. Soak 1 1/2 cups cleaned and washed chana dal overnight in 3 cups water.
  2. Rinse, drain, and cook in enough water to cover about 1 hour until tender. Discard cooking water when done.
  3. Combine all ingredients except garnishes in food processor and grind until fairly smooth but not quite pureed.
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  5. Serve at room temperature for best flavor.

Hummus is commonly eaten as a dip with paprika, parsley, and olive oil as garnishes. It goes well with chips, crackers, pita bread, and vegetable crudités.

Ambode (Indian Chana Falafel)

Chana dal is a form of chickpea that can be used as a substitute for the European chickpea know as garbanzo bean in just about any recipe. Chana has a lower glycemic index than garbanzo, has a more pleasant flavor, and is faster to cook. This recipe is for a Karnataka dish that looks for all the world like a spiced-up falafel.

Ingredients
2 cups chana dal
4 small green chilis
2 dried red chilis
(Optional) 1 cup grated coconut (Fresh or frozen is best. If you use dessicated, hydrate it in a mixture of coconut milk and coconut water first.)
3 tablespoons chopped green cilantro leaf (some people like dill weed instead of or in addition to cilantro.)
1 bunch curry leaves
1 inch ginger piece, grated
1 -2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 shallot, chopped fine
2 tablespoons flour
1 – 2 cups canola/peanut oil for frying
Method
  1. Soak the chana dal overnight. Drain.
  2. Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer to 360 F.
  3. Combine all ingredients, except for salt, shallots and flour, and blend in a food processor. The Indian style is to grind lightly, so that many of the chana beans remain intact.
  4. Mix in salt, shallots and flour.
  5. Form ping pong ball sized balls of the mixture, flattening them slightly if you’re frying in shallow oil so they can be flipped while frying. The Indian style to flatten them all the way to a sausage patty shape.
  6. Fry as many as you can at a time without crowding the fryer.
  7. When brown on the bottom (3 minutes,) flip them so they can brown on both sides. Five minutes total frying time should bring you to golden brown.
  8. After cooking, place on a pair of paper towels to soak up the oil. There won’t be much if you oil was hot enough.
  9. Serve them warm in warm pita bread stuffed with lettuce, tomato, tahini, and Mexican salsa. Indians like to eat ambodes with chutney or ketchup. I can’t comment on that.
Ambodes will keep in the fridge for a week or more.

Potato Curry

This is a nice dish to eat over puris.

Ingredients

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 beet root (optional)
water to cover vegetables
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 sprig of curry leaf
1/2 cup yogurt (optional)1/3 cup fresh or frozen green peas or chopped beet root (optional)

Directions

  1. Boil potatoes (and beet root, if you’re using it) with turmeric. Boil beet root separately as it takes longer, and lose the beet liquor if you don’t like red potatoes.
  2. When potatoes are soft, add spices and salt.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and pop the mustard seed. When seeds are popped, remove from heat and add curry leaf.
  4. Add fried spices to potato and stir to coat.
  5. (optional) Add the yogurt and peas to the potato mix. Continue cooking until heated through.

Equipment

Frypan, boiling pot.

That’s it, easier than pie.

Basmati Rice pilau

Ingredients

2 to 3 tablespoons ghee
1 stick cinnamon, coarsely ground
3 whole cloves, coarsely ground
3 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium onions, chopped
salt to taste
1 cup basmati rice
1 teaspoon ground red chile (not chili powder)
10 fresh green beans, sliced in thin rounds
1 medium carrot, sliced in thin rounds
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
several sprigs cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Method

In a large, heavy, nonreactive skillet or saucepan, heat the clarified butter over medium-low heat and saut? the ground cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom pods to release their flavor. Add the cumin seeds and onion and saut? until the onion is golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add salt, 2 cups of water, and rice to the skillet, tightly cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender, about 25 minutes. About 5 minutes before the rice is done, add the ground chile, green beans, carrots, and peas and cook for 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Source: Pasand

Chicken Tikka Masala

Masala Sauce

3/4 cup chopped onion
up to 1/4 cup ghee
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons ground red chile
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 1/2 tablespoons ginger paste
3 1/2 tablespoons garlic paste
2 teaspoons red chile paste
3 1/2 tablespoons cashew paste
3/4 cup tomato puree

Saute the onions in 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter over medium-low heat until light golden brown. Add cumin, ground red chile, and coriander and mix it thoroughly. At any point, you may add more clarified butter if the sauce becomes too thick, but be cautious, because this recipe can easily become extremely rich.

Add the ginger paste and garlic paste and cook for a few minutes. Add the red chile paste and cook for a few additional minutes, then the cashew paste and tomato puree. Cook over low heat, stirring, until thick. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to add chicken.

Grilled Marinated Chicken

1 cup plain yogurt
5/8 cup mustard oil
1/2 cup ginger-garlic paste
3 1/2 tablespoons red chile paste
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons “black salt” (a pinkish salt with trace minerals
2 tablespoons garam masala powder
1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut in bite-size pieces (as near in shape to cubes as you can manage)
salt to taste
1/2 cup light cream
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves or 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek

Mix the first 7 ingredients plus 1 1/3 tablespoons of the garam masala powder, add chicken, and marinate for 6 to 8 hours.

Preheat a charcoal grill and cook the marinated chicken on skewers, turning periodically, until almost cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the heat of your grill.

Before serving, add the parcooked chicken, the remaining 2 teaspoons of garam masala powder, and salt to the masala sauce. Simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Just before removing from heat, stir in the cream and fenugreek. Present with the basmati rice pilau. Serves 4 to 5.

Source: Pasand

Idli Podi

In Kerala, idlis are often served with this powder, which is mixed with coconut oil and used for dredging the idli to give it a tangy flavor. At Indian groceries, it’s called “Chutney Powder.”

Ingredients
Chana dal – 1 Cup
Urad dal – 3/4 Cup
Red Chilies – 20
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Dried curry leaves – few
Garlic – 3 cloves

Method
Heat a heavy bottomed pan and toast the garlic till it turns golden brown. Add curry leaves and remove from the stove. Cool well. Toast all the other ingredients over low heat till they give off aroma. Grind everything to a coarse powder with salt.

Serve a teaspoon sized portion with idli, make a little cavity in the top as you would for mashed potato, and mix in enough coconut or sesame oil to soak through but not run off. Dredge idli in the mix and enjoy.

Roti Chanai

Actually, this roti canai or turban bread which we sometimes call it is very versatile that you can make any amount of flour or dough which the liquid just varies till it makes a nice med. dough. I just use a chinese soup spoon to scoop the flour.

Ingredients:

2 C Flour
1 C of liquid (half milk & water)
1/2 tsp each of salt & sugar
3/4 C of melted butter/ghee (if preferred) or pam

Method:

Mix the flour and salt, sugar and liquid to a med. soft dough. Add more liquid if it is too dry or add more flour gradually if too wet (due to humidity). Then when dough is kneaded till smooth, break it into small golf ball size, rub them with some butter (from tub-ok) then place them in a big bowl. Cover them up for rest at least 4-6 hours , best overnite.

Then on work surface spray some pam and then pat the ball of dough, then roll it til the best you can, then use your fingers to pull all around till a nice thin pastry is achieved . Sprinkle some of the melted butter or ghee or pam and pull them up as it drapes then make it into a circular shape, tucking the end under. Or just fold it but sprinkle a little after the 2 sides are folded before the other 2 flaps are down to create the layered texture.

Heat pan and lightly oil or pam and fry on med. low then pressing it down gently as it puffs up to enable all layers to cook esp. if made into turban rolls.

When the white colour dough turns into opaque and light golden brown, its done.

Serve with dhal/chicken curry or just sugar or jam.

Happy cooking. But start out with a small amount to get the hang of spreading out the pastry dough.

Contributed by – Christine

AKA: Roti Prata, Roti Canai