Thoughts Sans Boundaries

Leftover pumpkin becomes pumpkin sambar (curry)

Posted in life by Aditya Moorthy on December 2, 2008

I had a big piece of pumpkin left, after the pumpkin soup that I made on Sunday. So, I decided to make pumpkin sambar and here is the recipe for it. For those of you who don’t know what sambar is, let me explain. It is a simple South Indian curry / gravy which is usually mixed with white rice and eaten with some vegetables on the side. For first timers it can be a bit daunting to make it, given the number of ingredients but take my word, it is worth the effort and you will soon become an addict like me. The good thing about South Indian sambar is that you can substitute it with any vegetable and it becomes a different sambar and the taste and fragrance is different as well. So, here is the ingredients list and the method.


1. Sambar powder – You should be able to get this in any Indian provision store – 2 tea spoons
2. Toor Dhal – Also known as Yellow Pigeon Peas – 1 cup
3. Mustard seeds – half a tea spoon
4. Pumpkin – 200-300 grams – cut in small pieces (1 cm cube approximately)
5. Canola / Sunflower oil – 3-4 table spoons
6. Tamarind – This normally sells in an Indian store in processed fleshy form – 1 cm cube
7. Salt
8. Red Chilli powder
9. Coriander leaves


Boil the toor dhal, preferably in a pressure cooker (I like it that way) or you can use an electric cooker as well. I boil it with the ratio of 1:3 water, that is, 1 cup dhal and 3 cups water. While you are boiling the toor dhal, soak the fleshy tamarind in warm water and after a while, mash the tamarind so that all the essence of the tamarind comes out. Keep this aside for the time being and let it continue to soak. I would use about 250 ml of water for this.

In a wok, take pour 3-4 spoons of oil and add the mustard seeds. Heat the wok till the mustard seeds starts to burst. Add the pumpkin cubes and sambar powder and sautee it a bit. Then pour the tamarind water (use a filter so that the fleshy portion of the tamarind does not fall into the wok). Add salt and let it boil till the pumpkin is soft. Now take the toor dhal from the cooker and mash it nicely (make sure that it is fully boiled). Then add the dhal into the wok and allow it to boil for a little while (about 5-8 minutes). You can add red chilli powder if you like it spicy or alternatively you can add a little bit more sambar powder. Taste it to see if there is enough salt and sourness in it. It should not be sour but you should be able to feel the tingle in your toungue.

Switch off the heat and add the coriander leaves chopped into small pieces. Voila! the sambar is ready. You can eat this by mixing it with white rice and some cooked vegetables on the side. Baby mango pickle would go well with this as well. Try it and let me know your comments.

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Pumpkin soup made easy

Posted in life by Aditya Moorthy on December 1, 2008

I tried my hand at pumpkin soup on Sunday and here is the way I did it in case you would like to try your hand at it.


1. Red pumpkin – half a big one or one small one – approximately 1 kilogram
2. 3 Onion – purple or white – depending on what you like. I like the purple ones
3. 3-4 red chillies – You can use the green ones but it affects the colour of the soup
4. 3-4 cloves of garlic
5. Cayenne pepper – in powder form – half a table spoon or depending on how spicy you like it
6. Salt
7. Corriander leaves
8. Coconut milk – 150 milliliters 


Remove the seeds of the pumpkin and the skin and cut them into small pieces – just so that it boils quickly. Boil the pumpkin chunks until they are soft. Cut the onions into small pieces. Keep it small so that they are not too chunky while eating the soup. Sautee the onions until they are golden brown. Don’t make it too brown as it will affect the colour of the soup.

Add the chillies, garlic, corriander and boiled pumpkin in a blender and make it into a nice paste. Pour this into the wok in which you sauteed the onions and let it simmer a little. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste and keep stirring. Just before it begins to boil, add the coconut milk and let it simmer a little. Don’t keep it too long as the coconut milk will start to separate and will make it taste bad. After you add the coconut milk, do not boil more than 5 minutes.

Add some corriander leaves and ground black pepper to garnish. Voilà the pumpkin soup is ready.

Let me know if you tried it and leave your comments below. Would appreciate it much.

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