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Mutton Sambar | Authentic Pondicherry Recipe

Mar 07, 2019 | 7 Mins

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The first mention of Puducherry, also known as Pondicherry or Pondi, located on the southeast coast of India was recorded only after the arrival of colonial powers like Dutch, Portuguese, English and French.

In the end, when British occupied most of India, Portuguese kept their presence limited to Goa, Dutch to the south and French got their position settled in Pondicherry and other smaller coastal areas of India. 

With the French at the helm of affairs, both Puducherry and Vietnam (or Indo China as it was called) were under the French control and as a result, in the late 1800s and early 1900s the cuisine underwent a lot of cross-pollination because of people who kept traveling between these regions for business, administration and as part of the armed forces for the French.

French officers from Puducherry were positioned in Vietnam and vice versa and that is how the culinary connection came to be.

Following is a unique recipe from Pondicherry by home-chef Pushpa. Let us know how you like it!

Mutton Sambar with Rice. Enjoy home-chef Pushpa's authentic Pondicherry Tamilian feast at her beautiful home in Pondicherry! Check details here.

Ingredients and method to prepare dal

100 grams toor dal

½ coffee spoon asafoetida

½ coffee spoon turmeric powder

½ coffee spoon coconut oil or any oil you wish

In a pressure cooker add 1 cup of water, the toor dal, turmeric, asafoetida and oil. Cook it for 10 minutes. Keep the cooked dal separately

Ingredients and method to prepare mutton ribs

½ kilo of mutton ribs

1 soup spoon sambar powder

½ coffee spoon salt

1 small garlic peeled

In a pressure cooker, add mutton ribs, sambar powder, salt, garlic and 1 cup of water. Cook it for 10 minutes

Ingredients and method to cook vegetables

100 grams fresh tomatoes cut in pieces

100 grams onion sambar (do not cut)

1 drumstick to be cut in few pieces

3 egg plant (cut into pieces)

2 soup spoon sambar powder

½ coffee spoon salt

2 soup spoon of tamarind juice

In a big pan, add tomatoes, onions, drumstick, egg plant and fill water till you cover all the ingredients. Add salt and sambar powder and tamarind juice. Cook it for 10 minutes

Ingredients and method for tempering

2 soup spoon of coconut oil or any other oil

1 soup spoon of vadagam (traditional seasoning ball, recipe given below)

1 strip of curry leaves

Take a small pan, add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the vadagam and the curry leaves. Keep it on slow fire for a minute.

In the big pan where all the vegetables have been cooked for 10 minutes, now add the cooked mutton and the dal. Cook for 10 another minutes.

Then add the vadagam which has been tempered in the pan.

Just cook it for 1 or 2 minutes more.

Ready to serve with white rice. 


Recipe for Vadagam


5kgs shallots, ground coarsely 

1 kg garlic, unpeeled, ground coarsely 

1 tbsp cumin seeds 

1 tbsp turmeric powder 

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp black gram

1 tbsp mustard seeds 

2 handfuls of curry leaves, roughly chopped 

1 tbsp salt 

1½ + 1½ sesame oil 


. Mix all the ingredients except the oil and keep in a glass container. close the container with a find cloth and set aside for 2 days in a dry place. 

. On the 3rd day, spoon the mixture onto stainless steel plates and dry in the sun for 2 days

. On the 5th day, add 1 1/2 sesame oil ix and make balls the size of an orange 

. Dry the balls in the sun for 1 month, pressing them every day with the remaining 1 1/2 cups oil.

. Once the balls are dry, they will have diminished in size. Store them in an airtight glass container

Note: Vadagam can be used as and when required it keeps well for years. The more it ages, the more it blackens and the better it tastes.  


Happy Cooking!



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