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Poondu (Garlic) Sambar Recipe

Poondu Sambar Recipe
Poondu Sambar belongs to the typical South Arcot Cuisine that uses very less components for the main ingredient of a dish. I learned this recipe from my MIL and came to know that a sambar can be made with just garlic alone only after my marriage. This sambar does not have any other vegetables, not even onions and tomatoes that are used in almost all other sambar recipes. If you happen to love garlic as much as I do, this will be a real treat for your lunch. The taste and flavor of this sambar is very unique and the best recipe to make when you do not happen to have any vegetables staring at you in your refrigerator.

Anusha, Roshni and myself have joined forces to have a Palooza in a Pan every month to not only enrich our knowledge of the Cuisines across the World but also to add some healthy recipes to our repertoire in our search for finger licking, nutritious meals for our family and this Poondu Sambar goes in as my first contribution for the celebration of Legumes.

Sambar made with poondu (garlic)

Poondu (Garlic) Sambar Recipe

Prep time: 15 mins  |  Cook time: 20 mins  |  Serves: 4
Recipe Cuisine: South Indian  |  Recipe Category: Main

Poondu sambar recipe


  • Garlic, peeled – pods from 2 medium sized bulbs
  • Tur dal (Pigeon Peas) – 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind – 1 small lemon size ball
  • Sambar powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Vengaya Kari Vadagam – 1/2 tsp
  • Whole dry red chillies – 2
  • Asafetida – 1/8 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 2 tsp


  1. Soak tamarind in hot water. Extract pulp and keep aside.
  2. Wash and soak tur dal for 10 mins. In a pressure cooker, place the dal, turmeric powder, enough water and cook for 2-3 whistles till the dal is soft. Mash well and keep aside.
  3. Place the peeled garlic in a mortar and just pound them once with the pestle. The garlic should just have a crack, just enough to let out its aroma. You can do them individually too if you do not mind the time it takes. Keep aside.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle add vengaya kari vadagam, asafetida, broken whole dry red chilies and sauté for 1/2 minute.
  5. Add the tamarind pulp, salt and the garlic pods. Let it come to a bubbling boil. Now add sambar powder and cook for 2 minutes till the raw smell goes off over medium flame.
  6. Now add the mashed tur dal, mix well, simmer the flame, close with a lid and cook for 5-7 mins. The flavors would have merged by now.
  7. Transfer to the serving bowl, add fresh curry leaves, mix well, close with a lid and let it be for 5 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with a steaming rice and enjoy a hearty lunch with your favorite side dish.

Poondu Sambar for south indian lunch


  1. Use the country or “Naattu” poondu, the small variety to make this sambar. Avoid using the Chinese garlic that’s also called as “Malai” poondu.
  2. If there is any left over, reheat on the same day to use if for next day. It tastes even better. Do not refrigerate it over night. The taste will not be the same.
  3. Adjust the quantity of garlic pods according to your preference.
  4. Do not add any other vegetable or onion for this sambar.

Murungakeerai Poriyal / Stir Fried Drumstick Leaves

Murungakeerai Poriyal
Before I begin today’s post I would like to convey my heart felt thanks to all my friends, readers and fans who helped Tickling Palates Facebook Page cross the magic 1000 likes a week ago. Drumstick leaves aka Murungaikeerai in tamil is my favorite greens to consume at any time of the day.  I have already poured my heart out and confessed my love for it in my Murungaikeerai Paruppu recipe. This poriyal is made almost everyday in my Grandmother’s home.

I do know that it is a pain to get the greens cleaned but it compensates with its cooking time as this poriyal just takes 10 minutes from start to finish to cook up and makes our work pretty much easier in the kitchen if we have cleaned keerai readily at hand. I just love the crunchy taste of it my mouth while devour it with rasam. One of my favorite lunch combos. Let me not forget to mention that this leaves also taste good when added in adai.
Stir fry onion, garlic, dry red chillies. Add Murungakeerai.
Cook with a closed lid and finally add grated coconut and serve. 

Murungakeerai Poriyal
Murungakeerai Poriyal

Prep time: 5 Mins  |  Cook Time: 10 Mins  |  Serves: 4


  • Murungakeerai / Drumstick leaves, packed – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1
  • Garlic – 4 flakes
  • Whole dry red chilli – 3
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafetida – 1 pinch
  • Freshly grated coconut – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1/2 tsp


1. Heat pan with oil. Add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add urad dal and roast till gets golden. Add broken whole dry chillies and asafetida and sauté for 1/2 minute.
2. Now add finely chopped onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes till they become soft and translucent.
3. Now add murungakeerai, salt and mix well. Close with a lid and cook for 2 minutes over low flame. The leaves must cook in its own steam.
4. Finally add grated coconut, mix well and take off fire.
5. Serve hot as an accompaniment with rasam or sambar rice.

  • Do not over cook and keep an eye while cooking. If not the leaves burn quickly and you have to throw out the entire dish.
  • You can also add the flowers and buds along with the leaves which is what I usually do.

Quick Rasam with Sambar Powder

Quick Rasam
I have just been back after a 5 day vacation to my native and with the school reopening for the kids after their Quarterly exam holidays it is proving to be very difficult for me to cope. I have gone way too lazy I think. So, did any one miss me at all. While going through the recipe index I could not believe that I have not posted a single rasam recipe that happens to be the most comfort food of many and a must in any South Indian lunch. So thought of posting my quick version today.

The first click was a mistake as the focus is on the tomatoes rather than the main dish, the rasam itself but I loved the tomatoes along with the curry leaves very much so did not have the heart to let go of it. In my home only myself and the younger one love rasam and the other 2 hardly touch it. So I make only a small bowl for both of us and never bother to make rsam powder separately for our sake. I prepare the rasam powder only when guests descend upon me. So other than that I always follow this recipe for our daily lunch.
Make a pulp of tomato and mix together with water and tamarind extract. prepare the seasoning.
Pour the pulp over the seasoning and add sambar powder and salt.
Pour the cooked rasam over the readily kept serving bowl and close with a lid.

Quick Rasam
Quick Rasam with Sambar Powder

Prep Time: 2 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Serves: 2


  • Tomato, ripe – 1
  • Tamarind extract – 2 tbsp
  • Dal cooked water / Water – 1 cup
  • Garlic flakes – 3
  • Sambar powder – 1-1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 4 to 5
  • Asafoetida – 1/8 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1/2 tsp


1. In a vessel pour the water or the excess water that you may have after cooking dal for sambar, tamarind extract. Crush and squash the finely chopped tomatoes with your hands and add the pulp to this water.
2. Heat a pan with oil. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle add asafetida, crushed garlic and sauté over high heat for 1/2 minute. Simmer and add curry leaves.
3. Pour the tomato water to the seasoning. Add sambar powder, salt, mix well. Let it come to a bubbling boil over medium flame. Cook for a minute and take off fire.
4. Place finely chopped coriander leaves in the bowl in which you are going to serve. Pour the cooked rasam over the leaves and immediately close with a lid.
5. Serve hot with rice.

  • Instead of oil using ghee for seasoning will take the flavor to the next level.
  • Using dal cooked water instead of plain water will make the rasam tasty.
  • You can also add 2-3 tbsp of cooked mashed dal while the rasam is cooking.
  • Do not forget to close with a lid as it helps the coriander leaves to impart their flavor into the rasam.
  • You can replace the tomatoes with 2 tbsp of tamarind pulp or lemon juice and make the rasam.