This South Indian Hates The Watered Down Version Of Sambhar Served In Delhi & It Has A Point!

Mon Sep 11 2017 | 84 Views

Stereotypically speaking, South Indians love their idli, dosa, and sambhar. Sometimes when we refer to food from the South Indian states, we only think of these things and often say them together without stopping to catch a breath. Now, any ‘South Indian’ will tell you that the best sambhar they’ve ever had is at home, and more often than not, they will pass on the what is passed off as sambhar in Delhi; especially when at a Sagar Ratna, Shree Rathnam, or any other place that serves this in copious amounts as a side dish.

Dear Restaurants That Serve Their Own Version Of Sambhar,

Your version has caused my aversion to what is supposed to be a thick, delicious gravy with all kinds of spices and flavours. Instead, what I get is this thin, almost watery dish that has pieces of boiled vegetables floating around in it. Every time I go to a restaurant and even dream of getting piping hot vadas, you give me a large container full of this liquid thing that I’m never going to touch. Thanks to the ‘recipe’ that all of you follow, I can never really have crispy dosas and soft idlis and really enjoy my food like I should.

It’s Watered Down

Like I said, it’s this thin liquid that has some vegetables floating around it. Large chunks of potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, and sometimes even beans—that’s so not how it’s done. There’s a whole list of ingredients that you’re either skimping on or completely missing out. So many times I’ve seen sambhar that’s basically this tamarind flavoured, slightly viscous liquid that has all of these aforementioned vegetables in it. And, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to see a spoonful or two of undercooked dal at the bottom of the dish. Frankly, it makes me angry to have to endure something like this, especially since I’ve been brought up in a house where having sambhar is a weekly affair, if not daily.

It’s a delicate balance between ingredients, flavours, taste, and consistency. Also, you’re supposed to know what flavours you’re going to get, with respect to the ingredients you use. Whoever heard of a sambhar with beans, green peas, or lauki!

It’s Really Bland

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Photo Courtesy Of: Wikimedia Commons

I feel that whatever minimal effort you put into this dish is also useless. Boiling vegetables together and putting a little dal, tamarind pulp, and masalas don’t make for a good sambhar. It’s either extremely bland or sourer than required.

Never have I seen a perfect bowlful of sambhar at any restaurant, anywhere in the city. Maybe you do have a South Indian chef, but that doesn’t mean that what they’re doing is right. Please, look at this objectively; I’m just really unhappy with the quality of sambhar in Delhi, especially because this city is made up of at least 20% of people belonging to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana.

Mommy Makes Best

To anyone who’s reading this and feels just as infuriated as I am, you’d agree when I say that our moms make the best sambhar we could ever have anywhere in the world. Or, if you’re reading this and are flipping out at my outrage, I’ll willingly give you a few different recipes for good sambhar. I understand that you’ve got to make your profits and cut down on costs, which leads to making this abomination of a sambhar in the first place, but you’ve got to maintain the integrity of something that is “iconically South Indian”.

That thin watery thing that you make always goes to waste and food wastage is a huge problem in this country. Maybe, you don’t have to give a watered down version to your customers and you can make it thicker. Give it in smaller quantities if that helps you save on your costs, but please, do it properly.

So What I’m Saying Is

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Photo Courtesy Of: Flickr.com/Sonia Goyal

As a Tamilian who’s been brought up with more than just your regular South Indian fare, I think it’s fair for me to expect quality when I pay good money at a restaurant. Whether I’m paying Rs. 100 or Rs. 500, I think I’m allowed to have a certain level of expectation. I’m not spending so I can put the bowlful of your sorry excuse for sambhar aside. That watered down, bland or sour tasting thing that you’re trying to pass off as sambhar is not the real deal, and it’s simply not acceptable.

Sincerely,

A Very Upset Tamilian Girl

Featured Photo Courtesy Of: Wikimedia Commons


These views purely belong to the author and are in no way reflective of EatTreat.


Saundarya Srinivasan

Saundarya is a 25-year-old from Delhi, who loves photography, crafting, reading books, and all things vintage. When she's not behind her desk, she can be found with a camera and a glass of sangria at her favorite bistro in the city.