Pressure cook Toor Dal with enough water for 3-4 whistles, let the pressure drop before opening the lid.
Chop onion length wise, drumstick into finger sized pieces and pumpkin into small cubes.
Mix tamarind paste with some water and set it aside.
In a pan, dry roast all the ingredients under “For the Sambar Masala” until golden and roasted. Let it cool down completely and then grind into a smooth powder.
In a pot, add chopped onion, drumsticks and pumpkin cubes along with water (to cover the vegetables) and turmeric powder. Boil this until the veggies are cooked ¾th.
Add cooked toor dal and boil for a couple of mins. Add freshly made sambar powder and salt required. Boil on medium flame for 4-5 mins. Add tamarin water and cook for another 4-5 mins. Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat oil/ghee. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and torn red chilli. As mustard & cumin seeds splutter, add fresh curry leaves and asafoetida. Add this to the boiling sambar. Add roughly torn coriander leaves. Remove from heat.
Serve hot with rice or any South Indian breakfast.
Instead of cooking the toor dal in pressure cooker, soak the dal for 30 mins in warm water and cook it directly on stove top. The taste is much better but takes a lot of time.
Instead of using onions, shallots or madras onions can be used in this recipe. Otherwise onions can be completely skipped too.
I used ready to use tamarind paste but of using fresh tamarind, soak one small marble sized ball in warm water and extract the juice. Use it in the place of tamarind extract.
It is important not to cut the coriander leaves but tear them with hand before adding to the sambar. Makes Sambar so much more flavorful this way.