EcoWatch

The telltale of Sambhar’s origin

Let me just warn everyone beforehand that this information is not for the faint hearted people. Moving on, did you know the much renowned south Indian dish Sambhar might not really be Tamilians’ invention. Being a south Indian, I was as shocked as you are when I was hit with this information.

But this information has been making rounds since past few years and to add it to our grief, one of the India’s top chefs Kunal Kapur confirmed it too (sigh!). The chef who we often see on shows like MasterChef India and other food-travel shows, once revealed on his TV show Curries of India that the first Sambhar was accidently made by the son of Shivaji Maharaj, Sambhaji Bhonsle.

This delicacy is made with a comsbination of vegetables usually, pumpkin, carrot, raddish, brinjal, potato, tomato and onions. To enhance the taste, tamarind, toor dal, red chillies and spices like turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds, asafoetida powder and sambhar powder are also added.

Tales relating Sambhar to Sambhaji

There are many stories connecting Sambhar with the second Maratha ruler Sambhaji (see! it matches with his name as well).

In some stories, it is quoted that once when Sambhaji’s head chef was away, he tried to make dal himself. Dal which is known as Amti in Marathi is typically made using moong dal. But that day, Sambhaji, while trying to make it with toor dal and a hint of tamarind, ended up inventing Sambhar.

Another story goes on to say that Thanjavur Maratha ruler Shahuji, did the above experiment while making Amti and wound up with Sambhar instead. The guest of the day being Shahuji’s cousin Sambhaji on that day, the court named the dish after him as Sambhar.

No matter how disappointed you are, remember we are all Indians first. So gather up and keep enjoying this ultimate dish.

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