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 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3



  • 1 cup yellow pigeon peas


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

Packaged Goods/Staples

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 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



  • In separate POTS, cook rice and pigeon peas according to package instructions.

Step 2

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

Cook - Step 1

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

Cook - Step 2

  • Add cooked pigeon peas.
  • Adjust salt & pepper to taste. Mix well.
  • Cook until the pumpkin is tender.


  • Adjust sour- or sweetness to taste.


  • Serve sambar with rice.


  • Substitute pigeon peas with lentils.
  • Substitute pumpkin with (sweet) potatoes, cauliflower, root vegetables, or green beans.
  • Add cooked shredded chicken or sliced sausages.