September 20, 2012

Onion Sambar | Chinna Vengaya Sambar

Onion Sambar

Hope you all had a wonderful Ganesh Chaturthi. We celebrated it with kozhukattai, sundal and pongal. We truly missed the way we used to celebrate it in India. This is one thing we have to sacrifice when you live away from your loved ones. We try our level best to introduce our culture, food, celebrations to our kids. Shweets is very excited whenever we have a puja. She helps me to decorate the idols and arrange the offerings. You should watch her praying, she tries to immitate me. I use the books that my Mom gave me to read slogans. After I finish she just grabs a book and goes on and on. For sample yesterday she said "God Jake (her brother) is very naughty , why did you create him like that" From the back we were just trying to control our laughter. If we laugh, gone case she would get angry and will say you guys spoiled the whole prayer. We had a wonderful time !!

Coming to the recipe, this is sambar that goes well with tiffin items. We do not use any vegetables but just the pearl onions. These small sized onions are slighlty sweeter than the normal onions and it is best suited for South Indian dishes. My Mom and my aunts mostly use this onion for cooking. Though peeling these is kind of painful it is really worth the effort. Whenever I go for vegetable shopping and I see these I surely pick 2 bags of them. I love these in the puli kuzhambu which we make. I will share that recipe real soon. We had this with the pongal I made for the puja. Tasted really good and truly a homey dish.

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 15 minutes

Serves : 4


Toor Dal/Tuvaram Paruppu - 1/2 cup
Pearl Onion/Chinna Vengayam - 15 - 20 no
Tamarind - goose berry sized piece
Coriander Powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Garlic flakes - 3 - 4 no
Mustard - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry Leaves - 2 strigs
Coriander Leaves - for garnish
Salt for taste
Oil - 2 tsp

For roasting and grinding

Red Chilly - 4 - 5 no
Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu - 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds/Jeeragam - 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds/Venthayam - 5 - 6 no
Grated coconut - 3 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp


  • Peel the pearl onions and wash them once. If you want you can cut them into halves, but I prefer having them in full size.
  • Pressure cook the toor dal with the turmeric and the garlic flakes for 1 whistle.
  • Add 1 tsp oil and roast the channa dal, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chilies, grated coconut adding one after other for about 2 minutes in medium flame. Allow the contents to cool down and grind it to a coarse powder.
  • Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup water and extract juice and keep aside.


  • Heat oil in a kadai/wok, add the mustard followed by the asafoetida.
  • When mustard starts to splutter add the onions, curry leaves. Saute until onion turns translucent.
  • In medium flame add the coriander powder, salt, ground powder and saute well for about 2 minutes.
  • Next add the tamarind extract along with 1/2 cup water and cook in closed state for about 5 minutes.
  • When the raw smell of the tamarind is gone add the cooked dal and stir well.
  • Cook for additional 5 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with Rice, Dosa, Idly, Pongal etc.,


  • I add garlic flakes to the dal before cooking. You can skip that if you do not like garlic in your cooking.
  • Do not burn any of the contents while roasting as it would spoil the taste of the Sambar.
  • Add little extra water if your sambar is thick.



Who will say no to this dear,yummy sambar...

Looks so yum and the spread is just delish

Love this tasty sambar ever...

Very nice and tempting sambar. Adding garlic sounds new to me

Who doesnt love sambhar... Yummy with some soft idlis

Looks very flavourful and aromatic!!

awesome and tasty chinna vengays sambar.I am a big fan of this sambar and make potato curry as a combo for this.

That is so cute about her innocence :)
Hope u had a wonderful festival, the sambar looks very appetizing!

The sambar looks like the perfect dish to have today on a wet and cold day.


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