Onion Sambhar

Onion sambhar,alu podimas and beans thoran were our alternate weekly Sunday menu. And all of us would look fwd to it with gusto..and if amma skipped this for more than two weeks..she would be reminded from Thursday that Sunday..she needs to make this.
Usually sambhar is 'podi-podathu' or 'arachuviadathu'. The earlier one was with dried sambhar powder..but at my place we loved the second one..which had coconut in it. Actually compared to many south-indian homes sambhar was not a regular at my place..i think my mother made it once or twice a week it was eaten with gusto.
Anyway enough of my gab and let me go to the recipe...


Toor Dal - 1 1/2 cups (cooked).
Tamarind - golf ball sized, soaked in hot water and pulp extracted.
Onions - 3 large, sliced.
Sambhar powder - 1 tsp. (if you do not have sambhar powder, use 1/2 tsp. of red chilly powder).
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp.
Oil - 1 tbls.
Salt - as needed.

Toast and grind:

Oil - 1 tsp.
Red Chillies (whole) - 4 to 6.
Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Whole Coriander seeds - 1 tbls.
Urad dal - 2 tsp.
Coconut - 1 cup (grated), you can used 1/2 a cup too
Chana dal - 2 tsp.


Oil - 1 tsp.
Mustard Seeds - 1 tbls
Curry leaves - 6-8,roughly torn.


1. Soak the tamarind in hot water for 1/2 a hour and take out the juice. It should equal around 3 large cups.

2. Pressure cook the dal and keep it aside to cool. It should be well cooked and should be mushable (is that a word ;)

3. Slice the onions and keep aside. In a large kadhai, heat 1 tbls of oil and in medium heat fry the onions till they are completely cooked and translucent. They should not get brown.

4. When the onions are cooked, add the tamarind water,turmeric,sambhar powder and cook in medium heat till the raw smell of tamarind dissapears.

5. Meanwhile in a pan, toast all the ingredients listed under 'toast' except the coconut till the dal changes color. Then add the coconut remove from heat and stir the mixture for a few more minutes till the coconut is lightly toasted thru the heat.

6. Now grind the above to a smooth paste. Mix it with the cooked dal and stir well so that the mixture is amalgamated.

7. Add the above mixture to the onions cooking in tamarind, add the salt and cook for 5 to 7 minutes in medium heat till you get it to the consistency you want.

8. Take the sambhar off the heat and do tadka with rai and curry leaves.

This is off to Radhika of Radhi's kitchen who hosting JFI-Onions.


Sig said...

Arachuvitta sambar is my favorite.. actually we didn't call that sambar at my place... only the no-coconut variety was known as Sambar, which I didn't really love... :)

Shankari said...

sambhar & potato is the ultimate comfort food and ofcourse appalam

Jyothsna said...

Somehow sambar was always arachavittathu at my place... :)

Nags said...

hmm anything flavoured with onions can't go wrong :)

Jayashree said...

Ulli sambar and spicy potato fry was a Sunday staple in our house.


I love Sambar with pearl onions!!

Nupur said...

The Sunday lunch at your home sounds like my idea of heaven :D
Thank you for this delicious variation on sambar...I don't have a very good grinder for making wet masalas (the food processor does a so-so job of it) but I am going to try this anyway.

Laavanya said...

I love vengaya sambar and this araichuvitta part must've given it immense flavour. I usually douse quite a bit of sambhar on my rice or idli (almost like rasam) :)

Jayashree said...

Samba rava is broken wheat rava...the same thing that's used to make lapsi.

Hima said...

Sambar is looking so great rajitha. Same at my place too, my mom use to make sambar only on sundays with some taro root/colocacia fry. Love those days.

Namratha said...

Looks thic and delicious, good one Rajitha!! I'm yet to work on it....

And yes, I do know you have an event too, I got hold of the soya nuggets only recently, so I'm working on that as well :)

Happy cook said...

Love sambar.
I can just eat them with rice in heaps :-)

Richa said...

i like the one with coconut, made it over the wknd :) like the combo of rice, sambar & ghee :)

TBC said...

I love the second version but I take the easy way out and always make the first version you mentioned. When H makes sambar, he does it properly...coconut et al:-)

Prema Sundar said...

Have planned to make arachuvitta sambhar for pongal. Usually I make sambar without coconut but during special occasions I make arachuvitta sambar. Looks nice and would taste great with potatoes.

sra said...

I'm not sure I've had this, or maybe I didn't know it was such a delicacy - you've got me wanting to try this, and I'm not a sambar fan.

Cynthia said...

That looks so rich and creamy.

Seena said...

am a sambar fan, but love to get it as thick..yours looks like that..

Sia said...

true comfort food for me....

Rajitha said...

Thanks for all ur comments ladies..cannot respond individually as my computer is acting up and i am doing this when it is sane for a few minutes!!