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Pumpkin Sambar for Idly

Pumpkin Sambar for Idly/Dosa/Pongal

Pumpkin sambar is the most common mainstay of South Indian breakfast. It is usually served for Idly, Dosa and also for Vadas. This sambar is also served in a small bowl with mini idlies. Yellow pumpkin is a perfect ingredient for idly sambar because even though it softens, it will enhance the sambar taste. The freshly ground sambar powder for idly sambar will add more flavour than other powders. We use small onions most often in sambars rather than the big onions for their unique taste. There are some varities of dals that are similar to toor dal, but we use most often is unpolished toor dal. If you soak the toordal for 20 to 30 minutes before pressure cooking helps to cook fast and soft. Pumpkin sambar is made best with the harder pumpkins. Even though there is a natural sweetness in the pumpkin we add a tiny piece of jaggery to balance the flavour.

Pumpkin sambar is the most common mainstay of South Indian breakfast. It is usually served for Idly, Dosa and also for Vadas. This sambar is also served in a small bowl with mini idlies. Yellow pumpkin is a perfect ingredient for idly sambar because even though it softens, it will enhance the sambar taste.
Similar side dishes for Idly and Dosa

Pumpkin Sambar for Idly with step by step photos

Prep time  :   30 minutes
Cook time :  20 minutes
Total time : 50 minutes
Yield : 2.5 cups 

  • 1/8 cup toor dal
  • 15 small onions
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 200 grams pumpkin
  • small lemon sized tamarind
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • few curry leaves
  • few coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt

For sambar powder
  • 7 dried red chilly
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 2 tsp coconut

For tempering
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp urid dal
  • 1 dried red chilly
Cooking Directions

1. Peel the onions and slit the green chillies. Remove the pumpkin skin and cube them. Wash and soak the toor dal for 20 minutes. Soak the tamarind in hot water for 20 minutes and extract the juice.

2. Take a pressure cooker and add the toor dal, onions, slit green chillies, tomatoes, 2 cups water. Next add the turmeric powder and asafoetdia powder or asafoetdia water. Mix them well and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles. 

3. In the meantime, prepare the sambar powder. Heat a pan and add the chana dal. When it turns light golden brown add the coriander seeds and fry them till it turns brown and add the jeera, red chillies and coconut. Fry them well until the coconut gratings turns brown. 

4. Allow them to cool down and powder them well. Combine the sambar powder with just enough water to form a thick paste. 

5. Open the cooker and gently mash the dal and pumpkin with the ladle. Then add the tamarind extract and required salt to it. Keep in low flame and cook for few minutes.


6. Then add the sambar powder paste to the dal and some more water. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes until everything soft. If it gets too thick as its cooking add a little water. 

7. When the sambar boils well add a tsp of jaggery and allow it to boil for few minutes. 

8. Finally, add the coriander leaves and curry leaves and switch off the flame.

9. Heat a tsp of oil in a small pan and add the mustard and urid dal. Allow them to crackle and add the red chilly. Add it to the hot sambar and mix them well. Close it with a lid for few minutes before serving.


1. You can substitute the toor dal with masoor dal or moong dal but I find toor dal gives you the perfect consistency in this recipe so I always prefer toor dal for pumpkin sambar.
2. Take a bowl and add the sambar. Gently place the idlies on the sambar. Pour some more sambar over the idlies and sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves over the idlies. You can also swril some melted ghee over the idlies. Serve restaurant style sambar idlies for your kids.

If you try this recipe for Pumpkin Idly Sambar send us your comments below and share the recipe for your friends and family.


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