Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pearl Onion Sambar

I make different varieties of  sambar. But this sambar is particularly good with idlis and dosas. I use the pearl onions that you find in the frozen section of any grocery store like Meijer and Walmart. Its convenient as it is ready to use. It saves me all the time cleaning the little onions. Along with these pearl onions you can use any vegetable of your choice like green beans , chayote etc.


  1. Toor Dal         1/2 cup
  2. Pearl onions    1/2 cup
  3. Chayote         1 (chopped into 1 " cubes)
  4. Onion             1/2 (thinly sliced.)
  5. Freshly grated coconut  1/4 cup
  6. Sambar powder   3-4 tsp or as per your taste* 
  7. Salt as per taste
  8. Tamarind    size of a ping pong ball (Soak it in warm water for some time and extract the pulp. You can use a "chalni" to separate the pulp from the unwanted seeds etc).
  9. Jaggery  3 tbsp (you can use more or less depending on your taste)
  10. Hing  1/4 tsp
  11. Turmeric powder (haldi)  1/2 tsp
  12. Oil  2-3 tsp
  13. For the tadka: 
  • Mustard seeds (rai)  1/2 tsp
  • urad dal  1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli   2-3
  • Curry leaves  4-5
  • Oil   2 tsp

  1. Wash the toor dal. Now pressure cook the dal with the veggies (Chayote and pearl onions) until done. When cooking the dals, along with sufficient water also add haldi and a tsp of oil. Adding oil make the dals soft and gives a buttery feel to them.
  2. Heat a 1.5 cups of water in a heavy bottomed vessel. Add tamarind pulp and jaggery to it and let it boil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Now add the cooked dal with vegetables.If the dal seems very thick you can adjust the consistency by adding more water.Cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. In a separate pan, lightly saute sliced onions in a little oil until golden.
  5. Grind  these sauteed onions, fresh grated coconut and sambar powder in to a smooth paste using little water.
  6. Add the paste to the dal mixture and mix well. 
  7. Add the hing and salt and let sambar boil for 2-3 minutes.Turn off the heat.
  8. To make the tadka, heat some oil in a pan. when the oil is hot, add mustard seeds , urad dal and red chillies. When the mustard seeds start popping, add the curry leaves and turn off the heat.
  9. Add the tadka to the sambar. Pearl onion sambar is ready to be served.
* Homemade or store bought.Amongst the store brands i personally like MTR

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