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.
- ½ cup Toor Dal
- 2 Cups Water
- 2 Drumsticks
- 1 onion, diced
- 10 shallots (small onions), diced
- 1 Tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup water
- 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
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 stalks coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (gingely oil)
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
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.
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
- 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.
- Grind the mixture with half a cup of water to a paste. Let the paste be very slightly coarse. Set aside.
For the Sambar
- 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.
- Once its boiling, add in the cooked vegetables along with the water used for cooking. Add in the salt.
- Let it boil for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
- Add in the cooked dal and let it continue to boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Heat oil in a kadai and add in the mustard seeds when the oil is hot.
- Add in the curry leaves and switch off the flame.
- Add in ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder and immediately pour it on the sambar.
- The red chilli powder might burn if kept in the oil for too long. So have an eye on the kadai.
- Add in the coriander leaves and a tablespoon of ghee. Switch off the flame.