Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pumpkin and Okra Sambar(Palakkad style)

Pumpkin and okra sambar
We had this awesome sambar at a friends place during the Diwali weekend. It was made by my friend's mother and she had used pumpkin and ladiesfinger/okra for the sambar. The family has it's roots in Palakkad,a town on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Being Palakkad Iyers their cuisine is a unique blend of the cooking styles from both the states (Kerala and Tamil Nadu).
I've always used the popular ready-made sambar powder to date and had never made the sambar from scratch(roasting and grinding the masalas). I had to get the recipe and it turned out so well that I've decided to make sambar the 'hard-way' instead of taking the 'easy way' out henceforth.
This sambar is typically made with any two of these seasonal vegetables: ladiesfinger/okra, arabi/taro root, pumpkin, capsicum and drumstick.
Here's the recipe as given by Ms Sarda Ramakrishnan:
Ingredients: (Serves 8)
  • Coriander seeds: 2tbsp
  • Fenugreek seeds:1 tbsp
  • Channa dal: 1 tbsp
  • Dry red chillies: 5
  • Tamarind pulp: walnut sized (soak in water and squeeze out the pulp),
  • Tur dal: 2 cups (finely mashed)
  • Fresh coconut: 1/2 cup grated
  • Pumpkin: 1 cup (cut into 1 and 1/2" pieces)
  • Ladiesfinger/Okra: 1 cup (cut into 1 and 1/2" pieces)
  • Hing/asafoetida: 1/2tsp
  • Salt: to taste
For the tempering:
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Curry leaves:5-6 nos.
  • Oil: 2tsp
  1. Roast the coriander seeds,fenugreek seeds,channa dal and the red chillies in a pan till the fenugreek and channa dal start turning red.
  2. Let it cool and then grind to a fine paste along with the grated coconut.
  3. Cook the pumkin and okra pieces in the tamarind pulp along with salt and enough water till the vegetables are half cooked.
  4. Add the cooked tur dal and the ground masala paste to the vegetables. Add enough water to bring it to a sambar consistency.
  5. Bring the sambar to a boil and add the hing powder.
  6. In a separate pan,heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When it starts to sputter,add the curry leaves.
  7. Pour this tempering over the sambar.
  8. Serve hot with rice.

Question: What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?
Don't throw away the pumpkin seeds- you can wash, dry and then roast them. The roasted pumpkin seeds are considered a snack food and are loaded with zinc.