Rinse the toor dal and drain the water. Pressure cook the toor dal by adding ¾ to 1 cup of water and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder, and ¼ tsp gingelly oil, if using for 4 to 5 whistles. Let it cool and mash it.
Add the rice flour and ¼ cup of water to this dal, mix well, and set aside.
You can also cook the dal in Instant Pot. As it's ¼ cup of toor dal, you can use a PIP method and cook the toor dal for 20 to 25 minutes at high-pressure mode and release the pressure naturally.
Roast and grind the masala-
Heat ¼ teaspoon of oil in a pan, and when the oil is hot, add the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, urad dal, chana dal, dried chilies—dry roast all the above for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat.
Then add the coconut. After adding the coconut, turn off the heat—no need to roast for a long time.
Transfer it to a mixer jar and let it cool.
Grind it with ¼ to ⅓ cup of water into a smooth paste.
Prepare the sambar-
Take a saucepan or kadai with a heavy bottom, add the chopped pumpkin and 1 cup of water, and cook the pumpkin until it's soft and tender, for about 10 minutes. I used my uruli vessel for the sambar.
Then mix the tamarind paste with ¼ cup of water and add it to the pumpkin mix. Add salt and let it cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
Then add the ground paste, rinse the mixer jar with ¼ cup of water, and add it to the sambar.
Add the jaggery and curry leaves and bring the sambar to a boil.
At this stage, add the mashed toor dal with rice flour to the sambar and mix well. Bring the sambar to a boil and turn off the heat.
Prepare the tempering
Heat a small tempering pan and add the oil. Add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves when the oil is hot. When the mustard seeds splutter, turn off the heat and add the tempering to the sambar. That's it. Sambar is ready. Serve hot with rice.
The Kashmiri or the Byadgi chili variety is for the color, but add one more of the regular red chili if you don't have it. But as always, adjust the spices and salt as per your preference.
You can add up to 2 tbsps of coriander seeds for this sambar if you like the flavor of coriander seeds.
You can grind the masala coarsely or smoothly as per your texture preference. I have tried both, and I go with my intuition on that day.
You can make this sambar with butternut squash, kabocha squash, radish, drumstick, etc. The cooking time varies depending upon the veggie you are using.
You can start with tempering first, add the veggie, and cook as I did in the onion sambar.
Rice flour helps to thicken the sambar. If you prefer thin consistency, skip the rice flour. Adjust the water measure as per your consistency preference.