Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sambar Vada and Nimbu Paani - A Guest Post by Square Meals for The Chef's Favourites Series

Hello all..hope you all are doing great !! I am not very active in blogging these days. But I would like to thank a few of my dear friends who were a little concerned about my frequent disappearances :) and also to some of my friends who still stops by to leave some sweet comments even though I don't blog regularly. It's really nice to know that some of you still remember me ;) and very happy to get support and encouragement from you all :) 

I am back with The Chef's Favourites series for the month of June. Today we have 2 Chefs with us, Chef Aparna and Chef Gomathi of Square Meals. Aparna is a relative of mine and I am so happy to have you here along with your dearest friend Gomathi :) Aparna and Gomathi share a special friendship from a very long time and their common interest led to the birth of their lovely blog. How nice it is to know about such deep true friendships and also being co-bloggers rt. Their recipes range from various cuisines and you can find a lot of interesting recipes. I love the simple explanations and the way they share the different experiences about visits to world markets as well as with various cuisines.

Today Chef Aparna and Chef Gomathi of Square Meals are sharing with us not one, 2 recipes which they picked up from their sweet memories. Sambar Vada and Nimbu Paani....these are so popular, delicious and all time favourite recipes of many of us rt. I like to thank both of you to share such lovely recipes and I wish your friendship grow more stronger and more special as years go by :)

Sambar Vada

Nimbu Paani
I would like to thank both of you for this lovely post. Please do accept this as a token of love :)

Presenting to you Chef Aparna and Chef Gomathi now........

About us...

We, Gomathi & Aparna, have known each other for almost 12 years and have been best friends all through. Even though we have loved writing ever since we were in college, we had never thought that we would take up food writing so passionately. We have always been interested in cooking and would experiment with various recipes, when in school and college. After getting married we had to of course move on to full fledged cooking. You can trust us a 100 % when we say that cooking and baking can be absolutely rewarding and relaxing.

After cooking for our families for a few years, we came up with the idea of opening a restaurant called Square Meals. It was easier said than done and we realized that all we could do for now was to start writing about the foods we loved.

Our blog is now a little over a year old and we were extremely thrilled when Sobha approached us with an invitation to do a guest post. One of the clauses for this post was that the food should have a memory attached to it. We share many fond memories, many of which are food related.  We would like to thank Sobha for giving us this opportunity to relive our special memories

Favourite Recipe here @ Good Food
Eggless Sponge Cake because this is a versatile recipe which can be made as cup cakes or a regular cake, with varied flavours.

Favourite Cook Book
There are too many good ones out there but we love Tarla Dalal’s recipes.

Favourite Chef
Our mothers

Favourite Spice
Nutmeg, for its enticing aroma.

Favourite Restaurant  
Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes for their amazing salads, soups and bakery goodies.

Favourite Cuisine
Everything vegetarian

Favourite Food Show
Martha Bakes. Martha Stewart, the queen of cooking and baking and everything else, bakes up some of the most exquisite looking cakes, cookies, pies and other stuff on this show. 

Favourite Recipe
Our college years were spent in discovering the city (Chennai) we lived in, through our trips to the British Council and American libraries and food was of course an integral part of these trips. One of our favorite restaurants was the good old Woodlands Drive-In on Cathedral Road, near the American consulate. This place is very special to us as we have spent many afternoons under the shady trees, writing our assignments and theses.

We usually left our two-wheelers at the drive-in, walked to the library and came back with heavy bags and empty stomachs; the cold lemonade and hot dosas would call out to us from behind the counters. Their rava and plain dosas were good and their sambar was simply wow!!! We remember gobbling down the dosas and drinking the sambar separately!!!

Unfortunately, this restaurant closed down a couple of years ago and was replaced by a park. So this post also goes out as a tribute to the legendary restaurant.

Coming to the recipes we want to share, here are two of our drive-in favorites.

Sambar Vada


Cooked toor dal (yellow pigeon peas) – ½ cup
Tamarind pulp – to taste
Sambar powder (home-made or store-bought) –2-3 tbsps
Chili powder to taste (not required if sambar powder is spicy)
Vegetable of your choice (pumpkin, okra, potatoes, bell pepper etc)
Grated Coconut – 2 tbsps
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Cilantro for garnishing
Ghee – ½ tsp
Salt to taste


For making Vada, please find the link  here.  
Boil the vegetable(s) in some water with salt and turmeric. Once they are partially cooked, add the tamarind pulp and simmer for another five minutes. Grind together the sambar powder and coconut and keep aside. Add the cooked dal to the vegetables, simmer for a couple of minutes and add the ground mixture. Add more salt and chili powder if required. Once mixture simmers for 5-10 minutes, take it off the heat, add the ghee, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Note When using okra, wash them before cutting, else they will become mushy.
Before adding water, sauté the cut okra in a teaspoon of oil for about 5-6 minutes.

To assemble the sambar vadas, take a deep serving bowl and place one or two vadas (depending on the size). Pour on the piping hot sambar, until the vadas are immersed, add a little more ghee for an added fragrance and serve hot.

Nimbu Paani

Ingredients (Serves 2)
Water enough to fill two serving glasses
Juice from ½ a lemon (more if required)
Salt and sugar to taste
Ginger – 1, 1 inch piece
Soda (optional)


Blend together all the ingredients (except soda, if using). Strain and serve over ice cubes for a refreshing summer drink. Add soda for a bubbly twist.

Cooking Tip / Technique or Favourite Quote
Never shy away from new ingredients, flavours and dishes; try them before you decide you do not like them.

29 Tasty Comments:

Unknown said...

nice to read about two good friends and their passion towards cooking... grt friends. nice and all time favourite recipes....

Ez Cookbook

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Thanks for introducing Aparna and Gomathi to us :-) I too believe that without experimenting any ingredient one should not shy away...Cooking is all about learning process...

Achu's Amma's Kitchen said...

wow what a wonderfull post.Nice guest post.Awesome clicks

R.Punitha said...

Hi Sobha

I'm Punitha of

Sambar vadai looks Yummy.

Nimbu paani cools the summer :)

At your free time do visit my blog


radha said...

Nice to have friends doing guest posts for you. And a nice recipe too.

Faseela said...

lovely guest post.....superb..

Priya Suresh said...

Both sambar vada and nimbu paani makes me drool..Kudos to both chefs,thats a lovely guest post Sobha.

Divya A said...

Nice way of featuring a guest post :) Loved both the recipes :)

Participate and win prizes
The Master Chef Contest
You Too Can Cook Indian Food Recipes

Akila said...

Looks delicious... when u get time, do visit mine...

Event: Dish Name Starts With M

Shobha said...

Lovely post..and yummy sambar vadas.

Hema said...

Beautiful post, very interesting read..

Julie said...

Lovely guest post,Sobha..& love sambhar vadas any time!!
Congrats Aparna on the guest post too:-)

Ongoing Events at(Erivum Puliyum)-
1. The Kerala Kitchen(June'12)

2.EP Series-Basil OR Cardamom

San said...

Good to see you back, lovely guest post by aparna n gomathi. Both sambar vada n nimbu paani is very pleasing.

Suja Manoj said...

Great guest post,sambar vada looks so yummy and nimbu pani looks refreshing,nice clicks.

Square Meals said...

Thanks you all for the lovely comments. We are truly honored. Please do visit out blog and grace us with your thoughts there too :-)


Suman Singh said...

Both the dishes looks delicious...lovely guest post!

cookingvarieties said...

hi sobha, this a great post, congrats to apama and gomathi for being guests in this esteem blog of sobha's. the simple to follow dish is definitely a must try for me.. i learnt a lot of authentic indian cooking from sobha's site here...
o yes, i hope you will continue to be actively blogging. have a wonderful day to all of you-
over to guests blog...

R said...

nice read... yummy recipes.

hotpotcooking said...

Both looks yum and nice to know about square meals.

Gopika Ram said...

an awesome post Shoba.. loved them both :)

Treat and Trick said...

Thanks to your guest for featuring this fabulous recipes!

Sangeetha M said...

Hi Sobha
Thanks for introducing such great friends n their blog thru ur Fav chef series,nice knowing them...well written guest post with delicious recipes, sambar vada is one of my fav n constant order at restaurants too:)
Great job guys!! Wish u Good Luck!!!
Spicy Treats

hemalata said...

Nice post, both recipes looks so yummy.

Sensible Vegetarian said...

Lovely post and lovely recipes too.

Shabbu said...

Nice guest post...yummy recipes...
Shabbu's Tasty Kitchen

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Lovely guest post...Delicious recipes...

Ganga Sreekanth said...

nice posts dear:)

Vineetha Sush said...

Good guest post..nice job !

Anisha said...

It's so good to know about the two friends and their sweet story... made me nostagic about my college days.


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