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Zucchini Sambar

 Published 2017-Jun-18   Updated 2017-Jun-27

- Submitted by Dahlia

(Zucchini Lentil Soup)

I first came across Zucchini in US farmers market. The fresh vegetables were quite attractive. I always have the habit of buying locally grown vegetables and incorporate in my South Indian style of cooking. Locally grown vegetables are fresher, cheaper and easily available. 

Zucchini looked so much like cucumbers that I just couldn't stop myself from buying it. One of my American friend said that it can be eaten raw. After a taste test, I knew that it can be substituted for all Indian recipes made with bottle gourd or cucumber. I tried various dishes and loved them all. Zucchini blends well with Indian spices. It is very much like any native Indian vegetable. These days Zucchini is also commonly found in India

Zucchini Sambar is one such recipe that I make whenever I buy this vegetable. It tastes very good and can be served with rice or tiffin varieties. Do try this the next time you come across this vegetable.

Recipe for Zucchini Sambar

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4


  • Zucchini - 2 (chopped into big chunks)
  • Toor Dhal - 1 cup
  • Shallots - 6-8
  • Tomatoes - 2 (chopped)
  • Green Chilies - 2
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Sambar powder - 3 tbsp
  • Tamarind Extract - 2-3 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Coriander leaves - one handful (roughly chopped)

For Tempering

  • Oil or Ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
  • Dry red chillies - 2


  1. Wash the toor dal and take it in a pressure cooker. Add about 3 cups of water, green chilies, salt and turmeric powder. Cook for 3 whistles and switch off.
  2. In the meantime, wash and cut the zucchini into round pieces. It is not necessary to peel the skin.
  3. Heat oil (or ghee) in a kadai, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once it starts popping, add the fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, dry red chillies, and asafoetida.
  4. Add the peeled onions, chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder and some salt. Saute for few minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini pieces. Also add some sambar powder and saute for a minute. Add about a cup of water, cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Now add tamarind extract and cook for couple of minutes for the raw smell to disappear.
  7. Add the cooked toor dhal and mix it well. Add water if necessary to adjust the consistency.
  8. Let it boil for another 10 minutes until all the foam that floats on top settles down.
  9. Switch off and sprinkle roughly chopped coriander leaves. Tasty sambar is ready to serve.


  • Some people like to add jaggery to their sambar. If you prefer, you can add it along with the dal.
  • Adding 1/4 cup of coconut milk gives a slightly different taste to the sambar which tastes very delicious too.
  • Just before serving 1 tsp of ghee can be added for a nice aroma.

Serving Zucchini Sambar

  • Serve this zucchini sambar with some white rice and pickle.
  • It can also be served with all South Indian tiffin varieties like idli, dosai, ven pongal, rava dosai etc.

More Zucchini Recipes

Zuccini Chutney Zuccini Chutney Zucchini Curry Zucchini Curry Zucchini Cucumber Pachadi Zucchini Cucumber Pachadi  
See more zucchini dishes...

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 Published by on and last updated on 2017-06-27.