Indian Pumpkin Sambar

Indian Pumpkin Sambar

Sambar is an Indian stew abundant in hearty pulses and seasonal vegetables, with a bright tart flavor from tamarind. A staple in South Indian cuisine, it is simple, gluten free, and can be plant-based - or not - with each family having their own creative spin on ingredients.
hands-on time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3



  • 2-3 cups cooked yellow pigeon peas [1]


  • 1 large onion halved and sliced
  • 12 oz pumpkin [2] cut into about 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tomato chopped

Packaged Goods/Staples

  • 2 cups broth vegetarian or chicken
  • vegetable oil or ghee
  • salt & pepper

Pumpkin Sambar Culinary Spice Kit

  • Tamarind, coriander, cumin, black mustard, turmeric, fenugreek, asafoetida


  • chili pepper
  • lemon juice
  • sweetener of your choice
  • 1-2 cups cooked shredded chicken or thinly sliced mild sausages

Suggested Sides (See also Serving Suggestions)

  • 2-4 cups cooked rice basmati recommended
  • bread slices
  • noodles of your choice


Soup - Fry Aroma Veggies

  • In a POT, heat 2 tbsp oil.
  • Fry onions over medium-low heat until they turn translucent.

Soup - Cook Veggies

  • Careful of splatters, add pumpkin [2], tomato, broth, and Sambar spices.
  • Add salt, pepper, and chili (opt.) to taste.
  • Cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Cook until the pumpkin is almost cooked.

Soup - Add Pulses

  • Add 2 cups cooked pigeon peas. If you like the soup richer, add more.
  • Adjust salt & pepper to taste. Mix well.
  • Cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Continue to cook until the pumpkin is tender.

Soup - Finishing

  • Adjust sour- or sweetness to taste.

Soup - Toppings

  • Optionally, top with cooked shredded chicken or thinly sliced mild sausages.

Serving Suggestions

  • Add rice to taste into your soup or eat soup with some slices of bread.
  • Alternative: Add small noodles into your soup or pour soup over long noodles.


[1] Substitute pigeon peas with yellow or red split lentils.
[2] Substitute pumpkin with (sweet) potatoes, cauliflower, root vegetables, or green beans, or a mix of it.
Marceline Reid-Jaques
Marceline Reid-Jaques
Karen Jones
Karen Jones
Wonderful, flavorful meals using readily available ingredients!
ann davis
ann davis
My daughter gave me a subscription as a Christmas present while our families were quarantining together. It was so much fun! It introduced us to several cuisines that were totally new to us. The recipes were easy to follow and the spices were transformative - fresh and pungent and delicious.
Jessica Brown
Jessica Brown
The best way to try new dishes!

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