Onion Sambar Recipe

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One of my daughter’s favorite side dish for Idli and Dosa. It is easy to prepare except the process of making the small onion ready to cook. This sambar doesn’t have the taste of the usual sambar.


  • Small onion – 250 gms
  • Tamarind – lemon size
  • Coconut grated – 1 cup
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Thoor dhal – 150 gms
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly powder – 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Asafetida – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Seasoning:
  • Oil/ghee – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Dried red chilly – 2 halved
  • Curry leaves – 1 tsp

Method of Preparation:

  • Extract tamarind pulp of 1/2 liter
  • Cook small onion in tamarind pulp with salt, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and coriander powder (don’t pressure cook)
  • Soak and cook thoor dhal separately with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder
  • Add cooked and mashed thoor dhal into the cooked onion
  • Grind coconut and cumin seeds into a fine paste with little water and add to the onion, and let it boil and add asafetida powder
  • Remove from stove and keep on stirring for 2-3 mins
  • Heat oil/ghee in a wok and mustard seeds
  • Add red chilly halved and curry leaves when mustard starts crackling
  • Pour the seasoning on the top of the sambar and don’t stir until it is served
  • It is an ideal combination for Idli rather than Dosa.
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