This Karnataka style Sambar is made with Roasted Pumpkin- it is slightly sweet, creamy and absolutely delicious. Serve with steamed rice and a veggie side for a comforting meal.
For the second day of this week’s BM under ‘regional side dishes’ theme, I made this delicious Karnataka style Pumpkin Stew/ sambar. Pumpkin can be substituted with butternut squash or kabocha squash. Since pumpkin is inherently sweet, this sambar is slightly sweet and spicy with the addition of sambar powder.
Sambar in South India:
Each South Indian family makes sambar a different way, so there might be a million versions for this one dish. This Karnataka version is from the cookbook ‘Vibrant India’ by Chitra Agarwal. It is an amazing book with delicious vegetarian recipes using ingredients easily available in the U.S.
Ingredients in Pumpkin Sambar:
The main ingredient in this sambar is of course the Pumpkin. Squash is first roasted until lightly browned. Then the roasted pumpkin is ground with fresh grated coconut and sambar powder to form the base of this sambar.
This makes the dish creamy with slight sweetness. In the original recipe all of the roasted squash to ground to a paste, but I reserved half to give texture to the sambar. If you like your sambar completely smooth, then grind all of the pumpkin.
As I mentioned before, pumpkin can be substituted with other winter squash varieties. Butternut squash, acorn squash and even delicate squash can be used in this recipe.
How to Serve Sambar?
Traditionally it is served with steamed rice, idli or dosa. Add a veggie side dish, a pickle and yogurt for a filling and delicious meal. I made this for our weekend lunch along with cabbage poriyal and Bombay Aloo.
- ½ cup Toor or Masoor dal
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 3~4 cups Butternut or Kabocha or Pumpkin, cubed
- 2 tbsp Grated Fresh Coconut
- 2 tbsp Sambar powder (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 tbsp ghee
- ½ tsp Mustard seeds
- Pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
- 6~8 curry leaves
- 1~2 Dry Red chilies
- 2 Scallions, chopped
- 1 tbsp Jaggery or Coconut Sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Fresh Lemon juice
- To taste salt
- 2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine squash with oil and salt; spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 20~25 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- While the squash is in the oven, cook the lentil/ dal until very soft and mushy.
- Grind coconut along with sambar powder into a coarse paste. Add half of the roasted squash and grind to a smooth paste.
- Heat ghee in a saucepan, add the mustard seeds and once they pop, add asafoetida/ hing and cook for few seconds. Add the curry leaves and scallion; saute till they turn soft.
- Stir in the coconut paste, cooked lentils, reserved roasted squash, jaggery/ coconut sugar and salt. Simmer on medium flame, for 8~10 minutes until the flavors meld. Finally stir in the lemon juice and turn off the flame. Serve warm with rice and a curry.