Moringa Fruit /Drumstick Sambar (Tangy Lentil Soup)

In every South India household there are traditional recipes passed down from generations. Sambar was almost a religion in the home I grew up. The recipe of the sambar powder was closely guarded by my grandma and passed to my mom who still makes it in fresh batches and hasn’t shared that recipe with a soul. I’m not giving the secret recipe away, but there are are several other ingredients that balance a Sambar perfectly so here goes the recipe for Drumstick Sambar paired with dosa this week. Drumsticks are the hyped #moringa fruit of our times.

What you need:

  • 200g of Tuvar Dal (split pigeon pea)
  • 4 Drumsticks cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 20g Mini onions (shallots)
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp jaggery
  • 1.5 Tbsp tamarind paste dissolved in water
  • Salt to taste


  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Hing
  • 1 -2 Dry red chillies
  • 10 curry leaves
  • Ghee or high smoke point oil
  • 1 tbsp “Secret Sambar powder” or your house mix

How to whip it up :

  1. Pressure cook the dal with tomatoes and turmeric for 3-4 whistles . Alongside steam the drumsticks but make sure they don’t get mushy
  2. In a sauce-pot heat the ghee or oil and add in the tempering starting with the mustard till it splutters followed by the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Once the tempering is well roasted and aromatic, add in the onions and jaggery and caramélise. Stir in the steamed drumsticks, Sambar powder and diluted tamarind pulp.
  4. Bring to boil till the raw smell of the tamarind disappears. You’ll also note a color change to a darker shade in the tamarind pulp
  5. Mash the pressure cooked lentils and tomato and simmer to a boil for 5-10 minutes
  6. Lastly add in salt to taste, coriander to garnish and serve hot with dosas or idlis.

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