Drumstick sambar (nuggekayi huli) step-by-step recipe with photos.
About this recipe
Sambar is a South-Indian style dal made with toor dal (pigeon pea), tamarind, and an aromatic spice blend known as sambar powder. Sambar pairs well not just with steamed rice, but also with idli and dosa. This makes sambar an integral part of south Indian meals, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A traditional sambar has a good proportion of dal, is made mostly with a single variety of vegetables, and is definitely made with homemade sambar powder.
Drumstick sambar is my favourite version of sambar. I can eat it with every meal of the day. Be it breakfast where freshly steamed idlis float in a pool of drumstick sambar or steamed rice mixed with nuggekayi huli and tuppa (ghee) at lunch - I cannot get enough of it.
Drumstick is a rare vegetable for us here in Melbourne. We either don't get good-quality fresh drumsticks or they are ridiculously expensive. So I make this sambar with frozen drumsticks that are available in the Indian stores here. They taste just as good as made with the fresh ones, even though I would always prefer making them with fresh drumsticks.
To make the drumstick sambar, I saute some onions and tomatoes in ghee, and add drumstick, sambar powder, tamarind, jaggery, and salt. Once the drumstick is cooked, I add boiled toor dal and let it simmer. I then make tempering (seasoning) in ghee which I mix with the sambar. You may choose to skip the onion and tomatoes and just boil the drumsticks, but making it this way definitely brings out the best taste of this sambar.
Click here to make authentic Karnataka-style sambar powder.
Click here for more Karnataka recipes.
Step by step instructions
Boil the toor dal in a pressure cooker. Mash the cooked dal well (steps 1,2).
Heat 2 tablespoon ghee in a frying pan or kadhai. Add onion and saute until it is translucent (step 3).
Add tomatoes and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes are slightly mushy (step 4).
Add drumstick, tamarind extract, jaggery, sambar powder, and salt. Add water and cook (step 5).
Add the toor dal and simmer for 5-10 minutes (step 6).
Prepare tempering (seasoning) in a small pan (step 7).
Pour this tempering onto the sambar. Add coriander leaves and mix well (step 8).
Drumstick sambar served with idli
FOR THE SAMBAR:
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon urad dal (optional)
- 1 dry red chilli
- 5-6 curry leaves
- A generous pinch asafoetida (hing)
- Soak tamarind in ½ cup water for 15-20 minutes. Extract tamarind water and discard the pulp. Set aside
- Wash toor dal and boil it with sufficient water in a pressure cooker until completely done. Lightly mash it and set aside
- Cut the drumstick into 2-inch pieces
- Heat 2 tablespoon ghee in a frying pan or kadhai. Add onion and saute until it is translucent
- Add tomatoes and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes are slightly mushy
- Add drumstick, tamarind extract, jaggery, sambar powder, salt, and 2 cup water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer until the chayote squash is completely cooked
- Add the toor dal and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add some water to adjust the consistency if required
- In a small pan, heat ghee and add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add cumin seeds, urad dal, dry red chilli, hing, and curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds
- Pour this tempering onto the sambar
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot