Dal Tomato Saar

A thin and tangy dal preparation that goes well with varan bhat or can be had like a soup.

Dal Tomato Saar
Dal Tomato Saar

Saar is a very thin spiced dal water. Sometimes it is made with just tomatoes too. Traditionally, it was made with the water left behind after boiling sprouted moong beans while preparing mooga-gathi or after boiling chana dal if preparing puran poli. This water is full of nutrients and would be tempered with spices adding tamarind and jaggery turning it into a mouth watering preparation.  However, both of these dishes are almost vanishing from the modern kitchens unfortunately and hence Saar is something that you would probably only find in a post puja meal.

But do not fret! You can still make Saar when you feel like using toor dal and tomatoes. It is quick and yet so tasty without compromising on the flavor. 

Dal Tomato Saar
  1. Toor dal - 1/2 cup
  2. Tomatoes - 1 big or 2 medium, chopped
  3. Green Chilies - About 5 or to taste, cut vertically
  4. Salt - to taste
  5. Coriander leaves - From 2-3 strands, chopped fine
To Grind
  1. Shredded Coconut - 1/2 cup
  2. Peppercorns - Lots of it to taste ( I used about 25 )
  3. Coriander seeds - 1 tblspn
  4. Turmeric powder - 1/4th tspn
  5. Red Chili Powder - 1/4th tspn
  6. Jaggery - 2 tblspn or to taste
  7. Tamarind - a marble sized ball ( Use more or less depending on the tomatoes used )
To temper
  1. Oil - 2 tspns ( I use coconut oil )
  2. Hing - a generous pinch
  3. Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tspn
  4. Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tspn
  5. Curry leaves - 4-5
  1. 1) Wash and soak dal for 15 minutes. Boil it with tomatoes, green chilies and 1/2 tspn of salt with water on high for 1 whistle and on medium low for 2 more whistles or until the dal is soft. Let the pressure drop by itself.
  2. 2) In the meanwhile, grind the ingredients listed and set aside.
  3. 3) Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the ingredients listed under 'To Temper'. Cover with lid and let the mustard seeds crackle. Add the boiled dal mix and the ground paste. Add enough water. The consistency is pretty thin. Adjust seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. 4) Add coriander leaves and switch off the flame. Season with freshly ground pepper if needed. Serve with hot rice with a dollop of ghee.
  1. Serves: 6-8
  1. 1) Saar is good for cold since it is loaded with peppercorn which helps ease respiratory diseases.
  2. 2) Goes very well with varan-bhaat.
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