Small onions sambar recipe

Small onions sambar is a very traditional sambar made in South India.  In Tamilnadu it is called as chinna vengaya sambar.  Small onions are also called as shallots and are relatively smaller and tastes sweeter than onions.  Sambar made with small onions makes up for an excellent side dish for rice, idlis&dosas and ven pongal.  Here I have used the fresh sambar masala which is prepared and used immediately for making sambar which further enhances the taste of sambar.


  • Small onions - 15 nos (skin peeled)
  • Tamarind - 1 small lemon sized
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Tur dal - 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander seeds - 3 tablespoons
  • Bengal gram/chana dal - 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Methi/fenugreek seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Whole red chillies - 6 to 7 nos.
  • 1 string of curry leaves
  • Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Khus khus - 1 teaspoon
  • Cardamom - 1
  • Dalchini/cinnamon - 1 small one inch piece
  • Oil - 1 teaspoon
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • Oil - 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • 1 string of curry leaves
  • a pinch of asafoetida


Step 1

HOW TO MAKE SMALL ONIONS SAMBAR RECIPE Wash and soak tur dal for half an hour. Add turmeric powder to soaked tur dal and pressure cook the tur dal with sufficient water upto 4 whistles. Once cooled down, mash the tur dal and keep aside.

Step 2

Peel the skin of small onions thoroughly and keep aside.

Step 3

Soak the tamarind in hot water for about 20 minutes and extract the juice to about 1/2 a cup and set aside.

Step 4

Heat oil in a pan. Add coriander seeds, chana dal, methi seeds, red chillies, khus khus, curry leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and stir fry on a low flame till aroma exudes and dals/seeds become light brown in colour. Add grated coconut and saute for few seconds. Remove from flame. Grind all the ingredients with little water to make a smooth paste. (ground sambar masala)

Step 5

Heat oil in a separate heavy bottomed vessel or pan. Add small onions and stir fry till light brown in colour. Add 1/2 cup tamarind juice and 1/2 cup of water and boil on a low flame till raw smell of tamarind goes away.

Step 6

Add salt, ground sambar masala, mashed tur dal and mix well to avoid lumps. Add water as required to bring to a medium consistency. Cook on a medium flame for about 7-8 minutes stirring in between, till the sambar gets a nice boil. Switch off the flame.

Step 7

Take a tadka pan. Add asafoetida and mustard seeds. Once the seeds stop spluttering, add curry leaves and pour the seasoning to sambar and mix well.

Step 8

Now small onions sambar is ready to serve

Step 9

Serve small onions sambar hot with rice, idlis/dosas, medu vadas or ven pongal.



2 Responses to Small onions sambar recipe

  1. This is a regular feature at home. Mom makes it atleast once every 15 days or so.

  2. Sambar looks very yummy. Want to have it right away with dosa.

    -Nithyas Corner

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