Murungakkai Sambar (Drumstick Sambar)

Drumstick tree or Murungai tree is commonly found tree in the backyard or front of each and every homes in South India. Drumsticks, drumstick leaves, flowers are used in cooking and dishes are made using them as the main ingredient. Drumsticks are made use in poriyal or masala varuval or sambar or kurma or avial. Tender leaves are either cooked as poriyal or kootu or sambar and flowers are made into stir fries.

Drumstick Sambar

Drumstick Sambar

Sambar is an indispensable dish in a South Indian meal. It is a lentil based stew made with any vegetable along with spices. Variety of sambar is prepared in South Indian households on a daily basis and is eaten mixed with rice or as side dish for tiffin items like idli, dosa, pongal and so on.

This is one of the sambar recipes of my mom’s, which I love the most and her favorite. The aroma that arises from the kitchen while making drumstick sambar is heavenly. My mom always mentions that this is one sambar that you can make without using tamarind or onions but still tastes delicious. She says the addition of hing a little more than the usual quantity will make this murungakkai sambar finger licking.

I follow my mom’s recipe and the resulting sambar tastes unerringly close to hers. I can relish this murungakkai sambar without any accompaniment too just mixed with steamed rice.

Health Benefits

From top of the plant till the bottom of the plant, each and every part is used for medicinal purpose. The stems, root, branches, leaves, flowers and the vegetables are used as raw material for medicine preparation.

Drumsticks and its leaves are loaded with valuable minerals and healthy proteins making it a healthy food. They are good blood cleanser and are known to be good source of vitamin A. Also, drumstick pods are of great value as sources of iron, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin C. They are also used as remedy for digestive disorders, gastric ulcers, skin diseases. Drumstick leaves, fruit when consumed helps expectant mothers gain the calcium, iron and vitamins needed and also eases the delivery process. It is highly beneficial for lactating mothers as consuming this vegetable can increase the flow of their milk. It also helps lower sugar levels and eases respiratory problems.


Tur dal (Thuvaram paruppu) – 100 gms
Drumstick – 1 cut into small finger length pieces
Small onion – 15 nos. (If using big onion, use 1 big sized)
Tomato – 1 big sized or 2 medium sized
Sambar powder – ¾ tbsp heaped
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind – 1 big gooseberry sized ball
Hing (Asafoetida) – 2 or 3 big pinches

To temper
Oil – 2 tsps
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coriander leaves to garnish


Preparation time – 10 mins
Cooking time – 15 mins
Total time – 25 mins
Serves – 4 people

  1. Wash tur dal, add a pinch of hing and turmeric and pressure cook it until mushy. Once done, mash it and dilute with 1 ½ cups of water and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, chop all the vegetables. Soak tamarind in ½ cup of water and extract juice.
  3. Heat oil in a pan; add small onions, tomato and drumstick. Saute it well till onions turn translucent, tomatoes turn mushy and raw smell disappears.
  4. Add the dal to the sautéed vegetables. Add sambar powder and salt. Cook the drumsticks till tender.
  5. Add tamarind extract and let it boil until the raw smell of tamarind vanishes and the sambar comes to a rolling boil.
  6. Heat oil in a tadka pan. Add mustard seeds, let it crackle. Add the remaining hing, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Immediately, pour the tempering over the sambar and sprinkle coriander leaves generously. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Serve this delicious murungakkai sambar with rice and any vegetable of your choice. We enjoyed our lunch with murungakkai sambar, rice and potato ennai bedthai.

Drumstick Sambar with Rice and Potato Side Dish

Drumstick Sambar with Rice and Potato Side Dish


  1. Do not overcook the drumsticks. Cook only till the drumsticks are tender to touch but intact in shape.
  2. Add the tamarind extract only after the vegetables are cooked. Vegetables may remain uncooked if the extract is added earlier.
  3. You can use chilli powder and coriander powder mixed in equal quantity instead of sambar powder too. Adjust the spice level depending on your family’s preference.