Watercress Sambar

Ever since Channel 4 documented watercress as ‘the’ superfood, I have been trying to include them in our diet.

Research shows it contains more calcium than milk!
I’m in!

I only ever encounter them when they are included in a mixed salad bag and that would be the only time my family consume them.

Historically, salads were never really a big part of my Malaysian Indian diet. And I’m still not a big salad eater, nor the family.
A typical salad in my home would comprise cucumbers, pineapples, shallots and coriander leaves covered in light fresh coconut milk.
Anything leafy (other than coriander) would be joked as ‘goats’ food.

The Malays (Malaysian Muslims) however include ‘ulam‘ (types of herbal leaves) in some of their dishes. Nasi Kerabu being one of them, is best served with traditional ulam.

Part of my aspiring #EatSeasonably project. Watercress is now widely available in shops and are best consumed between months of April to September.

After a few trials, these mustardy, peppery leaves worked really well with lentils!

Thinking I actually invented this super dish, seriously I was over the moon!
I soon realized through google search, some people have trialed this out way before I did.

The shock!

Nevertheless, I took gratitude for managing to include ‘the superfood’ in my family diet (regularly enough) increasing their well-being in long run. I just wonder if that should feel much much greater than the innovative me?  🙂

watercress sambar

A simple recipe:

100g split lentils (washed)
1 clove of garlic
3 small shallots (sliced)
1 big tomato
1 packet of watercress (mine weighed about 45g)
3-5 curry leaves (fresh is best)
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
3 tbsp.  vegetable oil
Hot water

½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. mustard seeds
¼ tsp. fenugreek seeds
2 dried chillies
¼ tsp. asafoetida powder

Seasoning / Curry Powders
1 tsp. mild curry powder / ½ tsp. chilli powder depending on preference.
½ tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste


  1. Cover lentils with water (approx.. two cups), add turmeric powder, garlic and tomato. Cook on medium. Takes approx.. 15mins.
  2. In another saucepan, heat oil. Add the spices and curry leaves. Then add shallots and brown it. Lower the heat, add watercress and coat in oil (I use low heat and stir constantly so nutrients are contained and not lost unnecessarily). Add ginger garlic paste. Continue cooking for approx. 20 seconds.
  3. Stir in the cooked lentils. Add curry/ chilli powder. Stir and cook for approx.. 1min.
    Then cover in hot water. Approx. 2-3 cups (depending on the type of sambar broth (thick/light) you would like).
  4. Add salt. Cover and boil on low-medium for approx.. 5-10 mins. You are looking to cook the watercress slightly and taking away the raw smell and taste of your other ingredients.

Serve with white boiled rice and perhaps salmon fishcakes or curried banana peppers? My family loves either combinations!

Would love to know what you think of this fusion dish…X


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