Pumpkin Sambar

Preparation & cooking time: 45 minutes  

Serves 2


  • ¼ cup toor dhal or red lentil
  • vegetables: small aubergine or courgette,1 potato, 2 tomatoes
  • ½  of small pumpkin or butternut squash cut into cubes
  • 1½ medium onion, chopped     
  • 2 tsp of sambar powder or 2 tsp mixed masala powder made with coriander powder, curry powder, plain chilli powder, garlic powder and ground gram powder
  • tempering: ¼ tsp each cumin, mustard seeds, one red chilli
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ tsp tamarind paste
  • few coriander leaves
  • 2 tsp of oil for tempering
  • ½ tsp asafoetida
  • salt to taste


  1. Wash dhal and cook in two cups of water.  
  2. Wash, clean and cut the vegetables small and boil in another pan adding a cup of water.
  3. Heat a deep thava-like pan. Add oil. Add the mustard seeds, cumin, chopped up red chilli and onions. When onions turn slightly brown add the curry leaves.
  4. Add the cooked vegetables, then the tomatoes, dhal,salt, tamarind paste and cook for a minute.
  5. Add the sambar powder and asafoetida; cook for five minutes, if necessary add a bit of warm water so that the mixture doesn’t get too thick.
  6. Cook for another 2 minutes and remove from cooker.
  7. Finally add the chopped coriander leaves and remove from heat.
  8. Serve with thosai, rice, semolina, uppuma, idli etc.

 This recipe doesn’t include milk. But if you like the sauce to be a bit thick then you can add 2 tsp of coconut powder mixed in a bit of milk.

Recipe from Rice and Kari by Sivakamy Mahalingham – 100% proceeds go to; Breast cancer at ACT Cambridge, Great Ormond’s Street Hospital, a Hindu temple in London and an orphanage in Sri Lanka.