Pumpkin Sambar


Hi friends! Sambar is a very delicious and popular dish from South India. It is served with steamed rice or with idli, dosa. Sambar is served with rice as the main course in everyday South Indian meals. Sambar can be made with pumpkin or only onions or a wide variety of vegetables .

Prep time : 20 minutes
Cook time : 20 minutes
Serves: 5-6


  • 1 cup Tur/Toor dal
  • 2 medium size Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 drumsticks, dressed and cut into two inch pieces
  • 100 gms yellow Pumpkin, cut into medium size cubes
  • 3 medium size Tomatoes, finely chopped
  •  25 gms Tamarind, or small lemon sized ball of Tamarind
  • 1/4 tsp Asafoetida / Hing
  • 3 tbp Sambar powder( I used MTR Sambar powder)
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt or / salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Oil

For the tempering

  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Asafetida / Hing
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 Red Chilies
  • 2 sprigs Curry leaves


Step 1.

Clean and wash tur/toor dal very well. Pressure cook tur dal with 500 ml of water and a pinch of asafoetida and salt. When the pressure is formed, reduce the heat to low flame and cook for twenty minutes. Switch off the stove. When the pressure subsides open the cooker, put the cooked dal in a large bowl and keep aside.

Step 2.

Soak tamarind in hot water for 10-15 minutes and take out the extract, 1 1/2 cups of tamarind juice. Strain and discard the pulp.

Step 3.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start spluttering, add fenugreek seeds. Sauté for few seconds till slight colour change (don’t let it turn dark brown) and add curry leaves. Fry for a second and add onions.

Step 4.

On medium flame, sauté the onions until they are translucent. Add tomatoes, drumsticks and pumpkin cubes. Fry these for two  to three minutes on high flame. Then add sambar powder, tamarind juice and salt. Let it come to a boil. Reduce heat add the previously cooked tur dal.

Step 5.

Add two cups of water and close the pressure cooker lid. Pressure cook on high flame until the pressure is formed, and then switch off the stove.

Step 6.

When the pressure subsides open the cooker. Check the consistency of the sambar, it should not be too thick nor too thin. Adjust the quantity of water accordingly. If too thin, cook till it thickens, then switch the stove off.

Step 8.

Serve with hot steamed rice idli, dosas.

Note : If the sambar is to be served with idli and/or dosa, it should be thin consistency. If it is to be served with rice, it should be a little thick consistency. The taste of the sambar varies according to the sambar powder used.

Health benefits of Pumpkin:

  • It is one of the very low calorie vegetables. 100 g fruit provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol
  • it is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. The vegetable is one of the food items recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
  • Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E.With 7384 mg per 100 g, it is one of the vegetables in the Cucurbitaceae family featuring highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 246% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes.It is also an essential vitamin for good visual sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help a body protects against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as α, ß carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.Zea-xanthin is a natural anti-oxidant which has UV (ultra-violet) rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in retina of the eyes. Thus, it helps protect from “age-related macular disease” (ARMD) in the elderly.
  • The fruit is a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Ref. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin.html

Toor dal is also sometimes referred to as lentils or split pigeon peas. This traditional Indian dish is often served with rich spices over rice, and is a staple in many Indian restaurants and households. Toor dal is a member of the legume family, and this meal is not only delicious, it also has a number of health benefits.

Folic Acid

Toor dal contains folic acid. Getting adequate amounts of folic acid in your diet can help to reduce specific brain and spinal cord birth defects by more than 70 percent, according to the New York State Department of Health.

Protein and Vegetables

 This is because legumes such as toor dal are an excellent source of nutrients and plant protein, and they also contain dietary fiber. In essence, legumes are nutritionally similar to poultry, meat and fish, though they represent a low-fat and low-cholesterol alternative. Legumes such as toor dal provide essential nutrients, fiber and protein for vegetarians as well as those who wish to merely limit their meat consumption.


Toor dal is also an excellent source of carbohydrates, which your body needs for energy.


Legumes such as toor dal are a healthy source of dietary fiber, which can help to prevent constipation and promote regularity. A diet that includes healthy dietary fiber can also reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

Ref. http://www.livestrong.com/article/549835-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-toor-dal/

Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:

  • Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
  • Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
  • Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • If you have a medical condition,Nick’s kitchen recommend that you consult your health care professionals before changing your diet.
  • Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and your responsibility.

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