Monday, April 29, 2013

Drumstick Sambar

I know each one of you are going to laugh your lungs out reading this post.  The first disastrous dish I prepared for my FIL & hubby.  When I read the event hosted by Rafeeda  I though it was the perfect time for me to post this. Thank you Rafeeda.

Sambar is one of the very  most important and simple curry which is prepared in any South Indian house. Goes very well with rice, idli, dosa, vada the list is never ending.

I was out from college and the next day I picked up a job, so helping mom with household work was my job, never ventured into the kitchen for cooking as mom never wanted us to do it. 

I was 23 when I got married,  after few days my FIL  said  why don’t you make sambar for lunch.  First  entry to the kitchen as so many days my FIL cooked for us as I was not lucky enough to see my MIL as she was not alive.  My FIL at his 70’s was  pretty good in cooking.  I could not say NO to him and  I thought it was a very simple task to make the sambar,  with little bit of doubts  I wanted to call and ask mom  but no  phone and no mobile, no internet also those days.  All I remembered was seeing the plate in which  mom gave the masala to grind at home, so I remembered all  the ingredients although not perfectly the right proportions.  

I planned to make sambar with drumstick and ladies finger. I fried all the masala and kept aside to let it cool so that I could grind to a fine paste.

On the other side I  cut the drumstick and started to boil, put the fried ladies finger and  cooked with salt.  Then added the masala at this time I realized the sambar is still watery.  Then I realized that I had forgotten to put  the tur dal, just took a bit of the daal, washed it well and put it into the sambar. Now the sambar is boiling on and on, wondering why the daal is not getting cooked and instead the sambar was becoming thick, so all I did as to  add water and again boil, you know what had happened the drumsticks and ladies finger  got over cooked and mashed and invisible of the vegetables except the thread like sticks of the drumstick, in between the daal uncooked worrying me.  Finally it was time for lunch  now no more time to cook. So I just put the tadka and set it on the table for lunch.

My FIL comes to the table and starts his lunch at that time he just put the sambar on rice all he saw was sticks and mashed ladies finger and sambar so gooey and finally the great daal uncooked. All he said was to me you don’t know cooking right. That’s all, poor thing ate a bit of  rice with great difficulty. 

Then it was my hubby’s turn as he was out and when he came for lunch my FIL waiting eagerly to see his reactions.  He saw the sambar condition and said OMG whats this soup or sambar,   made fun of me so much by telling to everyone in the family and had a good laugh. Even today whilst writing this post I told my hubby I am writing my story about the disastrous sambar and there he laughs non stop.

Then on my FIL taught  me all the dishes he knew and one thing was he encouraged me a lot, always said don’t worry if you make mistake you will learn and  within few months I started making good food and he would enjoy every bit of my cooking.
Every Sunday I went home, would go to my mom sit by her side and write down all the method of cooking to experiment on them J. This sambar is one such Palakkad specialty of my mom.

During the past few years my sambar is loved my many people and has got me so many compliments. My mom loves it the most and says I  make it better than her. When my uncles visit home they insist  me to make the sambar.   Even today I dread thinking of my first experience of cooking.

When I started my blog my daughter insisted that I put  down all the recipes on the blog so that it will be of help to her and she will not  have hard time as I have gone through to learn the recipes. Today internet and communications is a boon for the upcoming generations in all aspects.

You all must have a gr8 time reading this post. So here goes my recipe J, I avoid using any spice  powders for my cooking. Instead prefer to use them in whole and it tastes better too.


Drumstick – 3 big sticks
Coconut – 1 cup
Whole dhanya  - 1 ½ tbsp
Methi Seeds – 6 grains
Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
Asafetida – a generous pinch
Red Chillie whole – 6 nos
Cooking oil – 3 tbsp
Tamrind – little for your taste
Tomato – 2 nos.
Tur daal – 1 cup
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Mustard – 1 tsp
Red chilli – 2 nos for tadka


Wash the daal and pressure cook to fine and keep it aside

In a kadai add, 1 tbsp  oil, methi, asafetida, red chilli, dhanya, 1 sprig curry leaves and fry for couple of minutes and then add the grated coconut and fry  till the colour changes to brown. Put off the flame and let it cool and then grind to fine paste.

In another vessel add the drumstick, turmeric, salt, water and allow it cook. When half done add the daal & tomato let this cook for 5 minutes.

Time to add the masala and let this boil well, add the tamrind  pulp as much as you need and let this boil well and put off the flame. Check the salt at this level.

In another small pan, add  2 tbsp oil,  mustard,  broken red chille -2 nos and pour this  on the sambar and garnish with curry leaves.

Enjoy your delicious sambar.


Sending this to :


  1. sweet story to remember and lovely sambar.

  2. it was wonderful post and everybody do have a disaster.

  3. Wow Latha lovely and interesting story behind sambar. Super Palakkad sambar...

  4. Love the sambar with idlis and rice,looks tasty.
    Sai Padmapriya

  5. Beautiful episode your life Lata you put it nicely. Love reading it. By the way Drumstick sambar looks perfect and Delicious.

  6. நா விரும்பும் முருங்கைக்காய் சாம்பார் பார்க்கும்போதே நன்றாய் உள்ளது .நிச்சயம் எல்லோரும் விரும்புவார்கள்

  7. Wonderful post Lathaji, Made me laugh too.. because I went through the samething because my hubby is a typical south Indian and I was very new to all these south indian cuisines. Especially this sambhar. Took a while to learn from my Mil. Hahaha.. Want to try your version too..

    1. I know it would have been more diffcult for you to start learning, but I am sure you must have mastered the South Indian dishes.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  8. Looks so delicious,Latha! :)

  9. that was indeed a funny experience:)mistakes make us perfect...drumstick sambar looks delicious...

    1. Ha ha.... I was zero to start....... Thanks Rani.

  10. Quite a journey on your life and your venture in making sambar. Well, we all started somewhere and here we are, able to cook and make our family happy.

    That drumstick is my fav and when added into sambar, its double happiness. So good and yes with rice please.

    1. Very true you said.

      Drumstick changes the sambar flavor so much.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  11. Lols Latha.. Really enjoyed reading your post.. Reminded me of my cooking disaster when I was learning cooking... I had made kadhi for the first time.. And was following my written recipe... When I made it, the colour was really unusual ...(I don't know what colour to call it..) My brother and mom asked me what is this and how come your kadhi is so thin just like a soup... But then it struck to me that I had made the kadhi without Yoghurt which is supposed to be the main ingredient...hehe.. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face and bringing back some old memories... Drumstick Sambar looks really supper yummy Latha :-)

    1. Ha ha... cute story about your khadi, I think you must be an expert in khadi now.

      thanks for dropping by dear.

  12. Love this flavored sambar all time !

  13. flavorful sambar, nice combo all my fav

  14. thank u so much lathaji for linking this to my event... i also couldn't help but laugh, seriously... we all go through this sometime or the other, but i feel todays' generation is so lucky that they have youtube and loads of bloggers like us to help them!!! :)

  15. flavorful and delicious sambar ,loved the story behind it too :)

  16. Drumstick Sambar looks perfect. I noticed, you add coconut in sambar, nice addition.
    Also had good laugh reading about the story with FIL. Good one.

  17. :-) had a hearty laugh reading your story sis...Lovely post!!

  18. wonderful post Latha :) sambar looks delish...

  19. Wonderful post latha really made me laugh .. Yes we do have disasters in the beginning but your are fabulous cook now :) Thank you for sharing such an lovely story with us :) Now the sambhar looks perfect and delicous dear :)

  20. Hahaha, cant stop laughing here,even its happened to me with my peas pulao..Yep we will learn more after every disaster,wonderful flavourful sambar.


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