Madras Cucumber Sambar

Madras Cucumber Sambar is a lentil based stew made with Madras Cucumber, Tur dal and spice powder. Just like any other South Indian household, Sambar is an indispensable dish in our household too. I do make Sambar with most veggies suitable for Sambar like ladies finger, drumstick, brinjal, carrot or bottle gourd. However, I started making Sambar with Madras Cucumber only in the recent few years.

Madras Cucumber Sambar

This gourd was never bought or used both at my mom-in-law or my mom’s place. Only after my kids were born, I started buying and trying vegetables that I had never bought earlier. Madras Cucumber is one such and also my daughter’s favorite. She likes this gourd when made into Sambar as well as Kootu. Like all other varieties of cucumbers, Madras cucumbers are an excellent source of fiber. Rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, they also contain antioxidants that help to delay the ageing process. Knowing the health benefits and being my daughter’s favorite veggie, this Sambar finds its place at least twice a week in our menu.

I usually make this Sambar as a one pot dish as Madras Cucumber is one veggie that has crunchy watery texture of a cucumber yet holds its form when cooked. I use my small pressure cooker, which results in perfectly cooked cucumber and dal. Use of Madras Cucumber lends a nice and delicious flavor to the Sambar and makes it finger licking.


Tur dal (Thuvaram paruppu) – 100 gms
Madras Cucumber – 1 large
Onion – 1 small sized
Tomato – 1 small sized
Sambar powder – ¾ tbsp heaped
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind – 1 big gooseberry sized ball
Hing (Asafoetida) – a big pinch
Jaggery – 1 tbsp powdered (Optional)

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 and soak it in water while you chop the veggies. Soak tamarind in ½ cup water and extract juice. Set it aside.
  2. Chop onion and tomato. Peel and dice the madras cucumber discarding the seeds.
  3. Heat oil in a small pressure cooker; Add mustard seeds, let it crackle. Add hing, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Saute for 30 secs.
  4. Add chopped onions and sauté till it turns pink.
  5. Add tomatoes and fry till mushy.
  6. Add the diced cucumber and sauté for 3-4 mins. Now add the turmeric and chilli powders along with salt to taste. Give a quick toss.
  7. Now add the soaked dal along with 2 cups of water and stir well. Close the lid and pressure cook it until done. I normally lower the flame after one whistle and cook for 10 mins. Switch off and wait for the pressure to release.
  8. Once the pressure is released, add the tamarind extract and jaggery (if using) to the Sambar and let it boil until the raw smell of tamarind vanishes and the Sambar comes to a rolling boil. .
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Serve this delicious Madras Cucumber Sambar with steamed rice and any vegetable of your choice.

Madras Cucumber Sambar


  1. Add the tamarind extract only after the vegetables are cooked.
  2. 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.
  3. In step 8, before adding tamarind, check for salt and spice levels and add more, if required. Also, if you feel the Sambar is thick, add more water while adding tamarind extract to get the desired consistency.