Vengaya Sambar or Onion Sambar is the most delicious of all the sambar varieties. It`s in fact the unwritten favourite of all the kids in every tamil household. Vengaya sambar and Urulai Fry would probably be the most cooked combination, for a lazy sunday morning brunch. This is the variety that is ground with coconut and roasted spices and then simmered till done.
1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Water
20 – 22 shallots or baby onions available in Indian Stores.
1/2 cup of cooked toor dhal.
Salt to taste.
1 Tsp Mustard.
A small piece of ginger.
To Fry in Ghee:
2 Tsp of Dhania
4 Red Chillies
1/2 Tsp Venthayam/ Methi Seeds.
1 tsp Bengal Gram.
1/3 Cup of fresh dessicated coconut.
- Roast the dhania, methi seeds and red chillies in a spoon of ghee. The roasting should be done on a medium low flame until you get the aroma of the spices that are roasted.
- In a kadai, add a spoon of ghee and a spoon of oil and when hot, add mustard, curry leaves and the baby onions. Allow to saute well and to slightly brown a little.
- Grind the roasted spices along with coconut, about 4 browned onions, and a small piece of ginger and a little water to get a smooth paste. Set this aside.
- Now add the tamarind water, salt, hing, turmeric and curry leaves and allow to simmer on a medium flame.
- After about fifteen to twenty minutes when the tamarind water is slightly reduced and the raw smell is gone, add the ground paste and the mashed cooked toor dhal to the simmering kadai.
- Mix well and add a little water to adjust the consistency of the sambar.
- Allow to boil again and when done, switch off the stove and add a dash of chopped cilantro leaves.
- Serve steaming hot with Urulai Fry or kovaikkai curry.
For a richer tasting sambar, grind the roasted spices with 2 spoons of coconut milk and water. This can be reserved to special occassions as coconut milk is high in fat calories.