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Pumpkin sambar in a white bowl

Pumpkin Sambar with Moong Dal

  • Author: Shri Repp
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Pumpkin sambar is a hearty spicy and sweet lentil stew that gets its depth from the moong dal, heat from warm spices, and sweetness from simmered cubes of pumpkin.


  • 2 Tbs - Vegetable Oil
  • ¼ tsp - Mustard Seeds
  • ½ tsp - Cumin Seeds
  • 5-7 - Curry Leaves
  • 2 - Shallots (120g) - finely chopped
  • 4 - Garlic Cloves - finely chopped
  • 4 - Thai Green Chilies - finely chopped
  • 3 tsp - Kosher Salt - plus more to taste
  • 2 cupsMoong Dal, cooked
  • 2 Tbs - Store-Bought or Homemade Sambar Powder
  • 1 lb - Pumpkin, cubed into 1" pieces
  • 3.5 cups - Water
  • 2 - Roma Tomatoes (225g) - finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup - Tamarind Water (Check out this post on making tamarind water and substitutes)
  • (Optional) Chopped Cilantro
  • (Optional) Cooked Rice, Roti, or Dosa to eat with Sambar


  1. Use a deep and wide pot with a lid and set heat to medium-low. Add oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves to the oil until they start to sizzle and dance in the oil. This process, known as tempering the spices, imparts the flavors of the spices into the oil. Be careful not to burn your spices in this step or your final product will be bitter.
  2. Add the green chilies, garlic, shallots, and 1.5 tsp kosher salt. Cook until shallots and garlic start to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Next, turn heat to medium-high and add tomatoes, cubed pumpkin, an additional 1.5 tsp of kosher salt, and sambar powder. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the tomato slightly softens. The pumpkin won’t soften much besides the exterior initially.
  4. Add tamarind water, regular water, and dal to the pot. Cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. 
  5. Once the sambar comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and allow the sambar to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.
  6. Taste, adjust for salt, and garnish with chopped cilantro.


  • Prep Time: 40
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Pumpkin Sambar With Moong Dal