vengaya sambar | onion sambar

vengaya sambar recipe with step by step pics – easy and a delicious sambar made with pearl onions or small onions. a vegan recipe.

vengaya sambar, onion sambar

sambar is a favorite at home and i often make sambar with idlis or steamed rice. i specially buy pearl onions to make this onion sambar and ulli theeyal (kerala curry made with pearl onions). when pearl onions are not available, i make this sambar with regular onions.

pearl onions have a distinct taste of their own and so i also add them to our everyday dals also. this sambar not only tastes good with pearl onions but also with regular onions. the recipe uses sambar powder and i have added homemade sambar powder. there is no coconut added in the recipe.

serve onion sambar with idli, dosa, medu vada, uttapam or with steamed rice.

how to make vengaya sambar

1. rinse ½ cup tuvar dal (pigeon pea lentils) for a couple of times in water. then add the lentils in a pressure cooker along with ¼ tsp turmeric powder & 1.5 to 2 cups water. stir and pressure cook the lentils for 7 to 8 whistles or till they are cooked completely.

cooking tuvar dal in pressure cooker

2. when the dal is cooking, soak ½ tbsp tightly packed seedless tamarind in ¼ cup hot water.

tamarind in hot water in a bowl

3. also soak 20 to 22 pearl onions in water for about 20 minutes. soaking helps in peeling the onions easily. you can also peel them without soaking. instead of pearl onions, you can also use shallots or 2 to 3 medium-sized onions. just dice the onions.

pearl onions soaked in water

4. when the dal is softened really well, mash the dal and keep aside.

cooked and mashed tuvar dal

5. later peel the onions. rinse them well in water and keep aside. also, dice 1 small tomato.

onions for vengaya sambar

making vengaya sambar

6. heat 2 tbsp oil and add ½ tsp mustard seeds along with 1 tsp urad dal (optional). allow the mustard seeds to splutter and the urad dal to change into a maroonish color.

mustard for vengaya sambar recipe

7. then add 2 dry red chilies and 3 to 4 fenugreek seeds. saute till the red chilies change color.

chilies for vengaya sambar recipe

8. next add the pearl onions and 9 to 10 curry leaves. stir and saute till the onions turn translucent.

onions for vengaya sambar recipe

9. add the diced tomatoes and one pinch of asafoetida. stir and saute the tomatoes till they soften.

added tomatoes for vengaya sambar

10. extract the pulp from the soaked tamarind.

tamarind pulp for onion sambar

12. add the tamarind pulp to the onion-tomato mixture.

added tamarind pulp for onion sambar

13. add 1.5 cups of water.

water for onion sambar recipe

14. bring this mixture to a simmer till the raw aroma and taste of tamarind goes away. about 7 to 8 minutes.

simmer the onion sambar mixture

15. then add 2 tsp sambar powder.

sambar powder for onion sambar

16. stir very well.

stir onion sambar

17. now add the mashed dal.

dal for onion sambar

18. stir again.

stir onion sambar

19. add some more water if required and if the sambar looks very thick.

water for onion sambar

20. add salt and stir well. you can also add some jaggery if you want.

salt for onion sambar

21. simmer vengaya sambar for 5 to 6 minutes or until the sambar thickens slightly.

simmer vengaya sambar

22. garnish with coriander leaves if you want and serve small onion sambar with steamed rice or idli, dosa or uttapam.

onion sambar, vengaya sambar
more sambar varieties

Vengaya Sambar

4.8 from 10 votes
vengaya sambar is an easy sambar made with pearl onions or small onions.
vengaya sambar recipe
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:25 mins
Total Time:45 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:south indian
Servings (change the number to scale):4
(1 CUP = 250 ML)

INGREDIENTS

for cooking lentils

  • ½ cup tuvar dal (arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1.5 to 2 cups water for pressure cooking

for tempering

  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (split husked black gram) - optional
  • 3 to 4 fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 9 to 10 curry leaves or 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)

other ingredients

  • 125 to 150 grams small onions (chinna vengaya) Or 20 to 22 pearl onions (shallots) Or 1 to 1.25 cup peeled pearl onions or 2 to 3 medium onions
  • 1 small tomato
  • ½ tablespoon tightly packed seedless tamarind soaked in ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoon sambar powder
  • 1.5 cups water
  • salt as required

INSTRUCTIONS

preparation

  • rinse 1/2 cup tuvar dal for a couple of times in water. then add the lentils in a pressure cooker along with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. stir and pressure cook the lentils for 7 to 8 whistles or till they are cooked completely.
  • when the dal is cooking, soak 1/2 tbsp tamarind in 1/2 cup hot water for about 20 minutes. later extract the pulp from the tamarind and keep aside.
  • also soak the pearl onions in water for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • let the pressure release from the cooker on its own. open the lid and check the dal. if the dal is softened and cooked really well, mash the dal and keep aside.
  • later peel the pearl onions. rinse them well in water and keep aside. also, dice the tomato.

making onion sambar

  • heat 2 tbsp oil and add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds along with 1 tsp urad dal. allow the mustard seeds to splutter and the urad dal to change into a maroonish color.
  • then add 2 dry red chilies and 3 to 4 fenugreek seeds. saute till the red chilies change color.
  • next add the pearl onions and curry leaves. stir and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  • add the diced tomatoes and a pinch of asafoetida. stir and saute the tomatoes till soften.
  • add the tamarind pulp to the onion-tomato mixture.
  • add water and stir well. bring this mixture to a simmer till the raw smell of tamarind goes away.
  • then add sambar powder and stir very well.
  • now add the mashed dal and stir again. add some more water if required.
  • add salt and stir well. simmer vengaya sambar for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • garnish with coriander leaves if you want. serve small onion sambar with steamed rice or idli, dosa or uttapam.
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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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40 comments/reviews

  1. hi,
    thank u for the tasty receipes, all the receipes are good. i have tried many receipes and felt very happy with the result. Here in the above receipe whether coconut is required?
    one more thing i may not be able to comment for all the receipes bt surely i would like to say a big thank you for all those previous receipes and advance thnanks for the coming receipes.thnk you sister, all the best………………………………5 stars

  2. Love this recipe, I’ve made it twice already. Great tip about soaking the pearl onions, something I can use in other recipes too, thank you!5 stars

  3. Thank you so much amit your recipes helps me a lot in my place where I have to manage alone my kitchen with my infant nd cook different types for my husband.
    Thank you so much again

    • first add 1/2 tsp. stir well and check the taste. there should be a sourness in the sambar. not overtly sour, but a sourness which kind of balances with the rest of the flavors in the sambar. if not, then increase from 3/4 to 1 tsp.

  4. I made restaurant style dal makhni which u mentioned it in ur blog. It turned out to be mind blowing thnx soo much!! I made infinite amt of recipes from ur blog the output was all positive. Thnx:)

  5. looks so simple and delicious.. i like the small onions, look so cute and has a very different taste than the big ones.. gotta try out

  6. Usually vengaya sambar is served with idli and not with rice in Tamilnadu and its a staple breakfast there. Loved your recipe . Will definitely make it at home.

  7. Hi Dassana! I’m a huge fan of your blog. I have tried many of your recipes and all of them has come out great!!! Thank you so much for sharing you expertise with everyone through this blog.
    Please share the recipe for homemade sambar powder also. Will be waiting for the recipe. Thanks & God Bless You.