drumstick sambar recipe

Drumstick sambar

Updated: August 7, 2022, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Drumstick sambar recipeSambar is a basic lentil soup from south Indian cuisine and is commonly eaten with rice or Idli & Dosa. There are not many variations of making sambar and the sambar powder too. In most sambar recipes, the ingredients used are same but what makes them different is the proportion of ingredients and the veggies used.

drumstick sambar recipe

Sambar acquires its taste from the vegetables used. Most times vegetable drumsticks are used to make sambar which give a distinct taste. These are known as munagakaya, murungakkai or nugekkai in south Indian languages.

Apart from adding drumstick to sambar I also use them to make
Drumstick recipe with potatoes
Drumstick curry
Drumstick pickle

Drumstick sambar is also known as murungakkai sambar in Tamil cuisine. What I have shared here is the way we make it at home.

This drumstick sambar is made the same way as regular vegetable sambar which I had shared earlier. But the ingredients used here are different. Drumsticks replace all the other veggies in this recipe hence more drumsticks are used than we use in regular sambar.


1. Wash dal a few times with lot of water. Then fresh pour water to cook dal. I have used toor dal and just 2 tbsps of moong dal. You can use only toor dal also.

washing dal to make drumstick sambar

2. Cover and pressure cook the dal on a medium flame for 2 whistles or until completely soft cooked.

pressure cooking dal to make drumstick sambar

3. When the pressure goes off the cooker, mash the dal completely. It must be smooth.

mash the dal well

4. While the dal is cooking, wash the drumsticks. Lightly scrape off the skin and cut them to 2 inch pieces. Discard both the ends. If you are using home-grown drumsticks then don’t need to scrape the skin.

Making drumstick sambar

5. Then add them to a pot along with shallots or onions and green chili. If you do not have shallots you can also use medium sized onions. Halve them and add. I do not saute the veggies but if you wish you can saute them for a 2 mins in 1 tsp oil. But there will be no difference in the taste.

adding veggies to make drumstick sambar

6. Next add in chopped tomato.

tomatoes to the pot

7. Pour 2 to 3 cups of water. The amount of water to use depends on the consistency you prefer. I normally do not make very thick sambar.

pouring water to make drumstick sambar

8. Cover and cook until the drumsticks are half cooked.

cooking veggies until soft

9. When the water becomes hot, take a ladle full of hot water to a bowl. Soak tamarind in it. When the temperature reduces, mash the tamarind and set aside.

soaking tamarind to make drumstick sambar

10. Check if the drumsticks are half cooked, then add in ginger garlic paste. If you do not like it you can skip but it adds lot of flavor.

ginger garlic paste to make drumstick sambar

11. Then add salt.

salt to drumstick sambar

12. Next add sambar powder and chili powder (optional).

adding sambar powder

13. Now add in turmeric and mix well.

adding turmeric to make drumstick sambar

14. Cook until the drumsticks are completely done. By then the raw smell of ginger garlic paste and chilli powder goes away.

15. Then pour the tamarind water. I prefer to filter it.

pouring tamarind

16. Next put in fresh grated coconut. If you do not have fresh grated coconut just skip it. Do not use desiccated coconut or frozen coconut. Let the sambar begin to bubble.

17. Then pour the dal and mix.

adding dal to make drumstick sambar

18. Add in the coriander leaves and lower the flame completely Check the salt and sourness. If desired add more salt and tamarind if needed.

coriander leaves to make drumstick sambar

Tempering drumstick sambar

19. Pour ghee and heat it in a small pan on a medium high heat.

20. Add mustard, jeera and methi seeds. When they begin to splutter, add in garlic, red chili and curry leaves.

tempering drumstick sambar

21. Then add hing.

adding hing

22. Quickly pour this to the sambar and turn off the heat. I prefer to pour 2 to 3 ladles of sambar to the tempering pan as the aroma is totally different when done in that way.

pouring drumstick sambar to tadka pan

23. Then I pour back the tempered sambar to the pot.

tempered drumstick sambar

24. Serve drumstick sambar with rice, idli or dosa.

drumstick sambar

More South Indian recipes
Veg kurma
Tomato rice
Idli sambar


  1. The tempering is made with a generous amount of ghee which elevates the flavor and taste of this drumstick sambar. However if you are a vegan you can just temper the dish with any regular cooking oil.
  2. Ginger and garlic paste are not regular ingredients in a vegetable sambar but this recipe uses it as the key ingredient to enhance the flavor. If you do not eat garlic, you can skip the both ginger & garlic as I have not tested the recipe just with ginger.
  3. The next ingredient is the fresh coconut that adds a different taste & texture. If you do not have fresh coconut you can just skip it but do not use desiccated coconut or copra as it alters the flavor & taste of drumstick sambar.
  4. I have used toor dal and just 2 tbsps of moong dal. You can use only toor dal or a mix of both just like the way I did. Moong dal adds thick texture to the dal.

For the best taste use tender drumsticks. You can serve this drumstick sambar with rice, idli or dosa.

Related Recipes

Recipe card

drumstick sambar

Drumstick sambar

5 from 44 votes
Simple drumstick sambar made with dal, vegetable drumsticks or murungakkai, sambhar powder & spices. This andhra style drumstick sambar is so delicious, flavorful & easy to make when you have some surplus drumsticks in hand. For best results use a good aromatic sambar powder. Serve drumstick sambar with plain steamed rice or any south Indian breakfasts like idli, pongal & vada.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings7 cups

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • ½ cup Toor dal or split skinned pigeon peas
  • 2 tablespoons moong dal or skinned split green gram(optional)
  • cups water to cook dal (use as needed)
  • 3 vegetable drumsticks (cut to finger length)
  • 10 shallots or 3 medium onions
  • 1 tomato large chopped
  • 1 to 2 green chilies
  • ½ tablespoons ginger garlic paste (optional) (refer notes)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1½to 2 tablespoons sambar powder
  • tamarind Small lemon sized ball
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut Fresh grated
  • ¾ teaspoon salt or use as needed
  • 1 Handful Coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 cups water (adjust as needed)


  • 1 red chili (broken)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon cumin or jeera
  • ¼ teaspoon methi seeds or fenugreek seeds
  • 1 clove garlic crushed slightly
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 Pinches asafoetida or hing


Preparation for drumstick sambar

  • Add toor dal & moong dal to a pressure cooker or bowl. Wash it well a few times and pressure cook with 1 ½ to 2 cups water. If cooking directly cook 2 whistles. If following the pot-in-pot method cook for 3 whistles on a medium flame. 
  • When the pressure releases naturally, remove the cooked dal and mash it well. It has to be smooth without any grainy texture.
  • Pour 2 to 3 cups of water in a pot and add all the chopped drumsticks, onion & tomatoes. Cook all of these till the drumsticks are half cooked. You can add more or less water to adjust the consistency of drumstick sambar.
  • While the veggies cook, take half a cup of hot water pour it to a bowl. Soak tamarind in it. When it cools down squeeze, and set aside.

Making drumstick sambar

  • When the drumsticks are half cooked, add salt, turmeric, red chili powder, sambar powder and ginger garlic paste. Continue to cook till the drumsticks are fully done & tender.
  • Next add coconut, tamarind water. Mash the dal to smooth and pour to the sambar. Mix well. Add coriander leaves. Regulate the flame to low.

Temper drumstick sambar

  • On another burner add ghee to a small pan and heat it. When the ghee becomes hot add mustard, cumin and methi. When they crackle, add red chilli curry leaves and garlic. Add hing.
  • Pour this tempering over the drumstick sambar. Turn off the stove. If you plan to refrigerate, do it immediately once it cools down. Serve drumstick sambar with rice, papad or idli dosa.


ginger garlic paste is not used in traditional sambar, but it does add a great flavor to the sambar. It is a matter of personal choice to add or not to add.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Drumstick sambar
Amount Per Serving
Calories 155 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 12mg4%
Sodium 311mg14%
Potassium 402mg11%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 320IU6%
Vitamin C 24.6mg30%
Calcium 33mg3%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Drumstick sambar

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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Hi Swasthi,
Do you peel the Drumsticks? I have only cooked them once. I was told not to peel them and that you had to scrape the flesh from the skin in order to eat them. Discard the skin after cooking.
Perhaps we get old Drumsticks here so that’s how the local Indian diaspora have grown to know them.

Please, what are you doing to have the drumsticks soft – I have tried to cook them for more than 1 hour and also to put them in the steamer for 1/2 h before boiling – unfortunately they a still hard thank you, George

Thank you very much for your reply. I will try to boil it longer ( I have only the frozen ones ). George

5 stars
Very good recipé and instructions.


5 stars
I really thank God for you sister..you are very much inspiration for me a best blessed Chef ever…Wat ever I tried from you is success & awesome ..May God bless you abundantly sister..My blessings & players always with you & your family??God bless you all❤

5 stars
came out well. thanks

You saved my day .. Thanks a lot for the recipe .. Made sambar myself and it came our very well.. For all those men out there if you want to make yummy sambar and surprise your wife then try this recipe

5 stars
Sambhar was authentic South Indian Sambhar. No more to be said. It’s so rare to find this in any restaurant. Thank you for sharing.

All time fav sambar…yummy

It is a good recipe and I will make sambar and idli with the help of your recipe, Thanks

My kid simply loved this sambar.. thanks for the recipe.

Adding a few pieces of potato and carrot cubes will enhance the taste and nutritional values to the sambar.

Turned out very delicious.


5 stars
It’s very simple and easy am going to try this receipe

5 stars
Thanks swasthi..all the guests & my daughter liked it ,very much. & I liked it because it was not time consuming.

5 stars
i like this site very much drumestic samber is easy to prepare

5 stars
Easy recipe best of the you showing the pictures

5 stars
i like this site very much
becoz having a easy process to understand and also they will shown the images its a very gud

5 stars