Lunchbox Ideas- 4 | Idly- Sambhar and More

Lunchbox Ideas – Day 4


Short break- Mini idly, Pumpkin/squash sambhar

Lunch- Matar chawal [peas pulao], boondi raita, cucumber slices, jaggery lemonade

lunchbox ideas-day 4 - mini idlies + pumpkin sambhar for short break; matar chawal, boondi raita, cucumber slices and jaggery lemonade for lunch


  1. Cut the white pumpkin/ squash into medium sized cubes. [about 1 large cup]
  2. The idly batter should be prepared the previous evening and set to ferment overnight.
  3. Powder /grate about 1/4 kg of jaggery .


Pumpkin Sambhar

  1. Pressure cook 1 cup of tur dal/ arahar dal with 2 cups of water and a pinch of turmeric.
  2. Pressure cook the pumpkin cubes with just enough water for 1-2 whistles.
  3. Soak a lemon sized ball of tamarind in 1/2 cup water and prepare the tamarind extract.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and add 1 tsp of mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp of methi/fenugreek seeds, a dry red chilli, a sprig of curry leaves and a pinch of heeng.
  5. Once the mustard splutters add the cooked pumpkin [only the vegetable, strain the liquid and keep aside]
  6. Stir and cook for a minute on medium flame.
  7. Add tamarind extract [strained]
  8. Add 1 and 1/2 tbsp of sambhar powder and 1 and 1/2 tsp of salt.
  9. Stir well and allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  10. Add chopped tomato [1/2 a cup] and about 1/2 cup of the liquid reserved from the cooked pumpkin.
  11. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Add the cooked and slightly mashed daal.
  13. Mix well and adjust consistency [if too thick add little water]
  14. Cook on low flame until ‘one boil’.
  15. Turn off heat and add chopped green coriander.

Matar chawal/ peas pulao [ One pot meal]-

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pressure cooker.
  2. Add 1 tsp of cumin seeds, 1 bay leaf, a tiny piece of cinnamon, 1 mace flower, 2 broken cardamoms.
  3. Stir fry on low flame.
  4. Add 1 cup of chopped onion and 1 slit green chilli.
  5. Fry until the onions turn pink.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of green peas.
  7. Wash 1 cup of rice and drain the water.
  8. Add it to the cooker and stir well.
  9. Mix 1 and 1/2 tsps of dhania/coriander powder and salt to taste.
  10. Add 2 cups of water.
  11. Close and pressure cook on medium heat for 1 whistle.
  12. Add 1 tbsp of butter/ghee and garnish with chopped coriander once the pressure comes down.

Boondi Raita-

  1. Beat 1 cup of thick curd with 1/4 cup of water.
  2. Add salt, pepper, chat masala and 1/2 cup of plain raita boondi.
  3. Mix well and set aside for 20 minutes [for the boondi to soak]
  4. Add chopped coriander to garnish

Jaggery Lemonade

  1. Dissolve 1 cup of powdered jaggery in 2 and 1/2  to 3 cups of cups of water.
  2. Squeeze the juice of 2 large limes into this.
  3. Strain the juice and serve [ tastes even better chilled]

For Homemade Idly Batter

  1. Soak 3 cups of idly rice , 1 cup of urad dal and 1 cup of poha in water for 5-6 hours.
  2. Wash well and drain the water.
  3. Grind into a fine paste in a wet grinder, adding a little water at a time. [batter should be of a smooth thick pouring consistency ]
  4. Add salt [I add about 3 tsp] and hand mix.
  5. Store in a large steel container and keep for 6-8 hours at room temperature to ferment.
  6. The batter will rise and double in volume. [ Store refrigerated once it ferments]
  7. For idlies, use the ‘top’ fluffy fermented batter – do not mix the batter and deflate it.
  8. Once done you can mix and use the batter the next day for dosa and other similar items.

Hope you liked this lunchbox idea. Check few more lunchbox ideas here.

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