There are several ways to make sambar – some easier than others.
The most elaborate method involves boiling the vegetables in tamarind water, grinding the spice mix and steaming the lentils separately before cooking them all together. Number of cooking vessels involved = 3+.
An easier way is to start with a pre-ground spice mix. The vegetables and the lentils are cooked separately, to which the spice mix powder is added in the end. Number of cooking vessels employed = 2.
The easiest sambar is a one-pot dish. The vegetables, the lentils and the spice mix are all added to a pressure cooker, which is then fired up.
Each method is easier than the previous one. While a connoisseur would argue that taste is compromised, the easier methods save oodles of time and effort.
There are several ways to get to a particular result – some easier than others. Until we have found the sweet-spot between quality and efficiency, it is worth asking ‘How can I make this easier?’