Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Onion sambhar/ Tamilnadu-Style Sambhar

     Sambar is a vegetable stew made with tamarind and toor dhal, and is very popular in the cooking of southern regions of India especially in Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Each state in the South prepares it with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment.

Serves up to 4 people
Preparation time: 45 minutes


1 cup of toor dhal
1 tomato
15 pearl onions
1/4 tsp of turmeric
1 1/2 tbsp of sambhar powder
1 tsp of fenugreek powder*
2 tbsp of coriander leaves
1 cup of tamarind water
1 tbsp of oil 
1 tsp of ghee
salt as required


1 tsp of mustard
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of urad dhal
2 pinches of asafoetida
10 curry leaves


1.Pressure cook toor dhal and tomato with 2 1/2 cups of water. In the heavy bottomed vessel, add oil. Add the seasoning mentioned above to the heated oil.
2. As the mustard sputters, add pearl onions. Saute till it turns golden brown. Add the mashed tomato to the vessel. Cook for a minute.
3. Now add turmeric, sambhar powder and salt. Saute for a minute and add tamarind water.
4. As the tamarind water starts to boil, add the toor dhal and close the lid. Add water depending on the consistency needs.
5. Cook in medium flame till the onion if soft and mushy. Add the fenugreek powder and coriander leaves.
6. Sambhar is ready. Serve with Idly, Dosai /rice. It can be made with any other vegetable.
* Dry roast fenugreek and powder them. (This is the secret ingredient that brings out the flavor in sambhar)

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