Go Gherkin go….! Sail the Sambar way….a welcome detour from the usual salad or pickle route. This refreshingly flavoured Sambar made from this bright green, smaller version of cucumber variety can be used with steamed hot rice, idli or dosa.

Dish Type:  South Indian Vegetable StewGherkins Sambar

Preparation Time:  15 min

Cooking time:  30 min

Serves:  4 persons

Yield: 1 litre (approx.)


For pressure cooking:

Tur dhal                       50 gms

Gherkins                      250 gms

Tomato                        2 nos. (medium size)

Water                          1/2 litre

Turmeric powder        A pinch

Curry leaves                1 sprig

Ghee                            A drop

Tamarind paste           1 tsp (to be put after dhal and vegetables are cooked)

Salt to taste                 10 gms approx.

For grinding:

Raw grated coconut    100 gms

Coriander seeds          20 gms

Red Chillies                 4 nos.

For seasoning:

Ghee                            1/2 tsp (or coconut oil/any other cooking oil)

Mustard seeds             1/2 tsp

Curry leaves                1 sprig

Asafoetida                   A pinch

For garnishing

Coriander leaves


Wash gherkins, curry leaves and coriander leaves in water. Drain and keep aside.

Wash dhal separately in water. Drain and keep aside.

Cut each gherkin into 2 pieces lengthwise.

Boil dhal and gherkins in a pressure cooker along with water, turmeric powder and ghee.

While pressure cooking….

Grate raw coconut. Grind this along with coriander seeds and red chillies, initially without using water and then continue grinding using approx. 50 ml water.

When cooking is done and pressure in the cooker has subsided….

Add salt and tamarind paste (refer ingredients list for approx. quantities) Let it boil for a few minutes. Now mix the above ground masala to the cooked dhal and vegetables and continue boiling for another 5 to 10 minutes. At this stage, can you feel the fragrance of sambar?

Now it’s seasoning time…..

For this, heat ghee or coconut oil in a small skillet. Put mustard seeds. When they crackle, put curry leaves. Switch off the burner. Now add asafoetida and immediately pour over the cooked gherkins sambar.

Garnish it with thoroughly washed and chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Flavourful Gherkins Sambar is now ready to use!


Gherkin, being a condiment vegetable, needs mild and gentle cooking since it loses its intense flavour if overcooked.

Few other names associated with gherkin: 

 Ivy Gourd, Tindora, Thondekai, Kovakkai, Horned  Cucumbers

Did you know? A London skyscraper is nicknamed gherkin due to its resemblance to this fruit.

Note:   Also view  recipes for “Beetroot Sambar”, “Eggplant (Brinjal) Sambar”, Onion Tomato Sambar”, “Ridge Gourd Huli Thovve” and “Khara Kootu


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