Sambar with Ash Pumpkin and Daikon

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IMG_6738Sambar is one of those ubiquitous South Indian dishes with endless variations. Each household has its own recipe for sambar powder and a wide variety of acceptable powders are now available in the grocery stores. But nothing beats a good home made sambar powder. There are also several variations of sambar made with freshly ground spice blends which taste quite distinct and delicious. In South India, sambar is served with virtually every meal; with rice for lunch and dinner as well as an accompaniment to iddli, dosa and other dishes at breakfast or in the afternoon.

Sambar with Ash Pumpkin and Daikon

This sambar was made with fresh daikon and ash pumpkin I found at the Indian store this Saturday.  You could use a wide variety of available vegetables from carrots to eggplant or even potatoes. The onion is optional.

Boil slices of daikon and wedges of pumpkin with onions and tomato, curry leaves and a small bunch of chopped cilantro in tamarind water along with two tsp of sambar powder and 1/2 tsp of salt. When the vegetables are cooked, add 3 comps of cooked pigeon peas (tuvar dal). Stir and bring to a simmer and remove from heat.  Temper mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, hing (asafateda), turmeric and green chillies in oil and stir in. Garnish with cilantro.

  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cook Time : 20 minutes
  • Yield : 8-10 servings


Cook a cup of tuvar lentils in a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water and set aside. Makes about three cups of cooked lentils.

Ash Pumpkin Fresh slices of daikon  In a large stock pot heat 2 1/2 cups of water and stir in the tamarind extract. (You could instead use a lemon size ball of fresh tamarind and remove the fibers by hand.  Add the vegetables, bring to a boil and stir in the sambar powder and salt.  Add the curry leaves and cilantro both of which you can chop or mince first if you prefer. Add the ginger at this stage.

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IMG_6730 IMG_6738Add the cooked lentils when the vegetables are done and stir it in. Temper the mustard and fenugreek in oil in a separate pan adding the hing, turmeric and chillies and stir them in.


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