Drumstick Sambar (Moringa Seed pods in spicy lentil curry)

Drumstick Sambar (Moringa Seed pods in spicy lentil curry)

Almost all Indians are familiar with the ‘Drumstick Tree’ (Moringa Tree) and it’s leaves and seed pods (called Drumsticks) are used from ancient times not just as food but as cure or prevention of many diseases in Ayurveda. The small rounded leaves that are packed with an incredible amount of nutrition: protein, iron, calcium, vitamins, A,C , potassium,  essential amino acids.

The drumsticks of the Moringa oleifera tree are used in cooking and contain vitamins, fibre and minerals. Here is a simple recipe with lentils that is commonly made in most South Indian homes: Drumstick Sambar.

Ingredients for Drumstick Sambar: Serves 4-6

  • Drumstick -3-4 (Cut drumstick into 2 or 3 inch pieces, remove the hard green outer skin)
  • Tur dal -1/3 cup
  • Onion: 1 medium (thinly sliced)
  • Tomato: 1 no.
  • Tamarind paste- 1/2 tsp (or small gooseberry sized ball)
  • Sambar Powder: 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves: 2 tbsp chopped (for garnish)
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

For the seasoning :

  • Oil -2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds -1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds -1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida/hing – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 10-12nos. ( I love using lots of curry leaves 🙂

Method:

  1. Pressure cook dal (use 1 1/2 cup water) along with the turmeric powder, and the whole tomato for 3 whistles. Once the pressure subsides, remove the whole tomato and keep aside. Mash the dal well (you can use an egg beater) and keep it aside.
  2. If using tamarind ball, soak it in 1 cup of hot water, extract the juice and discard the pulp.
  3. Heat oil, add the sliced onions and saute till they become slightly translucent.Then add drumstick pieces and saute for 2 seconds.
  4. Add sambar powder, salt needed, turmeric powder and saute for 2-3 seconds. Add water (around 3/4 cup) and cook the drumstick.
  5. Once the drumsticks are half cooked,add cooked and mashed dal, 1/2 cup of water and simmer for 5-6 minutes(add more water if the sambar is too thick).Switch off.
  6. Heat a little oil in a small tadka pan, add the mustard seeds, when mustard splutters, add fenugreek seeds, hing and curry leaves. Add the tempering to the cooked sambar, mix and cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.