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Spicy Split Peas with Vegetables (Sambar)



  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup dried yellow split peas
  • 2 tablespoons shredded or flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seed
  • 1 (1/2-inch) stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
  • Hot cooked rice
  • Snipped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat 4 cups water and the peas to boiling in 2-quart saucepan; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  2. Cook and stir coconut, coriander, fenugreek and cinnamon in 1 tablespoon ghee in 8-inch skillet until coconut is light brown.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in salt and cayenne pepper.
  4. Crush coconut mixture with mortar and pestle until finely ground; reserve.
  5. Cook carrots, zucchini, onion and eggplant in 2 tablespoons ghee in 12-inch skillet, stirring occasionally, until tender.
  6. Stir 2 tablespoons water into tamarind pulp until softened.
  7. Stir tamarind mixture, coconut mixture and peas into skillet. Cook and stir over low heat, adding water until of consistency of soup, if necessary, until hot and well blended.
  8. Serve over rice, then garnish with cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings


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