In Marathi amti means a curry and there are a variety of amti’s that we cook. Mashyachi amti (fish curry), channyachi amti (chick pea curry), dalichi amti (flavored and tempered toor dal), and sometimes amti’s are made using vegetables as well.
Usually the amti made with the toor dals is sweet, sour and spicy to taste. While amti’s made with lentil, fish or vegetables, is mildly spiced with a base of coconut gravy and is flavorful.
It is said that the sambar was invented in the quest to make an amti.
So in the year 1673 a fierce battle was imminent in Tanjore as the ruler od Madhurai had decided to capture Tanjore.The courtiers of Tanjore decided to seek help from the Marathas and sent a secret message to Shivaji’s brother Venkoji who decided to be a part of the war himself and marched to Tanjore with his army.
The Maratha army bought their food and taste along with them and after the war Venkoji was so much in love with Tanjore that he decided to settle there.
There are a few stories as to how the Sambar originated. So the sambar that’s an integral part of the South Indian cuisine was created by the Maratha’s.
Sambhaji the son of Shivaji came to Tanjore to visit his uncle and since Sambhaji loved amti, a dish similar to it was prepared and was named Sambar in his honour.
According to another story, Sambhaji was a food lover and he loved to cook as well. he once wanted to make the amti and while preparing it he realized there was no kokum which is a very typical Maharashtrian ingredient used in making amtis and on an advice of a cook he used tamarind which enhanced the flavor of the amti and hence it was called sambar.
Today for dinner I have made 2 varied amti’s one with toor dal and the other with bhindi.
Both the recipes are rather simple and yet very unique and delicious.
1 cup toor dal washed and kept aside
1 medium onion finely chopped
½ a raw mango chopped into 1” pieces
1” ginger finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic crushed
4 green chillies slit
2 tsp sugar
¼ cup fresh coconut grated
3 tbsp of finely chopped coriander
½ tsp turmeric
A pinch of asafetida
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
Few curry leaves
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Pressure cook the dal along with the onion for 3-4 whistles or till done
Once the dal is cooked add the chillies, sugar, ginger, raw mango, turmeric and salt and boil for 5 minutes on a medium flame.
Add the coconut and coriander and boil for 2 minutes and shut the flame.
Heat the ghee and oil and splutter the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Then add the curry leaves and the crushed garlic and let the garlic turn golden and then add this to the dal and your amti is ready.
Steamed rice goes amazingly well with this.
½ kg okra chopped 1” in length
2 cups of fresh coconut grated
6 dry red chillies
6 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
Tamarind to the size of ½ a lemon
3 tbsp oil coconut oil
Salt to taste
Grind the coconut, tamarind, red chillies, 4 cloves of garlic, coriander seeds and turmeric to a fine paste.
Heat 2 tbsp of the coconut oil and sauté this paste till the color darkens slightly and the moisture is reduced.
Then add the chopped okra and sauté further for 2 minutes and then add 3 cups of water and make a nice gravy. Add salt and boil till the okra is done.
Heat the remaining oil and crush the remaining garlic and add to the oil and fry till its nice and golden and add it to the curry.
The Bhendichi amti is ready and can be had with chapatti or steamed rice