Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Chinna Vengaya Sambar | Onion Sambar

Chinna Vengaya Sambar, a delicious sambar(lentil stew) made from toor dal and pearl onions. In tamil,  "Pearl onion" is known as "சின்ன வெங்காயம்/chinna vengayam ". Other varieties of onions don't give the same flavor and taste to the sambar like pearl onions. So if you haven't tried  this sambar before and wanna give it a try, i highly recommend to use pearl onions and it's usually available in all Indian stores across North America.

I make this sambar usually to pair with fish fry more than with veg curries. After nearly 3 months, last week we went to Indian store to buy some basic Indian groceries and picked a bunch of pearl onions also. The next day itself made this chinna vengaya sambar along with fish fry and relished to the core. 

Back home in India,  we use mostly pearl onions for all types of cooking and it's very rare to see the use of big onions(பல்லாரி) in daily cooking. Mostly the big onions are used for egg omelette and onion raita. After moving out of  India, initially I pestered ST to go to Indian Store at least once a week mainly to buy chinna vengayam and curry leaves.

Later the frequency of visit to Indian Stores got reduced and now i can replace pearl onions with big onions in any recipes without a second thought and kind of adjusted to the taste also. Also here in Canada, most local stores have the basic Indian produce and groceries, so the need to visit Indian stores is very rare now a days and it's quite manageable also.

Ok,now coming back to the recipe, as i said earlier, this sambar tastes great with both veg and non-veg side dishes. Personally i like it better with fish fry or chicken fry  and prefer my sambar to be a little watery/thin for non veg side dishes so usually i don't add coconut masala to this sambar. 

But if you prefer sambar with coconut, do check out this sambar recipe for coconut masala and use the same in this recipe. Now let's check out how to make the flavorful chinna vengaya sambar.

Chinna Vengaya Sambar | Onion Sambar

Preparation Time : 10 mins | Cooking Time : 20 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Curry | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
chinna vengaya sambar, onion sambar,sambar, tamilnadu sambar, ulli sambar Chinna Vengaya Sambar, a delicious sambar(lentil stew) made from toor dal and pearl onions.
Toor Dal- 1/2 cup
Pearl Onion/Shallots -15
Tomato -1(small)
Green chili - 2
Tamarind - small gooseberry size
Coriander leaves- few
Asafoetida powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste(about 1 &1/2 tsp)
Red chili powder -1/2 tsp
Sambar Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder -1/4 tsp
Water - to need
Oil - 1 tsp
To Temper 
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal- 1/4 tsp
Red Chili - 2
Curry leaves - few

Wash the dal and add it in a pressure cooker along with asafoetida powder and enough water. Pressure cook it for 3 whistle or until it's mushy.
Once the pressure from the cooker released naturally, open the lid and mash the dal well with the ladle and keep it aside. Soak the tamarind in a cup of water . Peel the onions, cut the tomatoes into small pieces and slit the green chilies and keep it ready.
In a kadai, heat a tsp of oil and then add the onions with a pinch of salt and saute till they are slightly transparent and then add the tomatoes and green chili.
Saute till the tomatoes are soft and then extract the tamarind juice from the soaked tamarind and add into the kadai along with spices(turmeric, red chili ,sambar powder) and salt.
Let it comes to boil and cover the kadai with lid. Cook till the onions are soft and the raw smell of the spices are gone.
Then add the mashed dal and water to adjust the consistency, let it simmer for 5 more mins. In the mean time, temper the ingredients listed under "To Temper" and add into the sambar.
Flavorful and tasty onion sambar is ready.
For more curries and veggies, check out here

  • Make sure to cook the dal well, it should be like smooth puree 
  • Adjust the red chili powder as per your liking.
  • I have used home made sambar powder and it doesn't have much chili in it. If you're sambar powder has more spiciness, reduce the quantity as per your liking.
  • Tempering at the last gives more flavor to the sambar.
  • Instead of pearl onions, you can use shallots also.

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