Tuesday 27 May 2014

Onion Sambar (வெங்காய சாம்பார்)

'Vengaya sambar' (வெங்காய சாம்பார்) is a popular preparation in the Tamilian household and is often served with 'aloo poriyal'. This recipe is a variant of traditional method, but it works great for me. I have given the traditional method at the end of this post.

Ingredients: (Serves four)
Tamarind – the size of a large gooseberry
Toor dhal – ¾ of a tumbler or 150 ml measure
Sambar onions/ shallot – peeled, 1 tumbler or 200ml measure (சாம்பார் வெங்காயம்)
Sambar powder – 2 table spoon
Jaggery – ½ teaspoon
Salt – to taste
Cooking oil – 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds, split urad dhal - 1 teaspoon each
Methi seeds - ¼ teaspoon
Curry leaves – a few
Coriander leaves – finely chopped, 1 teaspoon 

To be ground into a paste:
Coriander seeds – 1½ teaspoon
Bengal gram dhal – 1½ teaspoon
Coconut – grated, 2 teaspoons

Onion Sambar (வெங்காய சாம்பார்)
Method: Wash toor dhal well, add 400 ml of water, and pressure cook for 6-7 minutes (6-7 whistles). Soak tamarind in warm water. Heat oil in a kadai, fry coriander seeds and Bengal gram dhal till the dhal turns golden brown in color. Allow it to cool. Grind the fried ingredients with coconut and little water into a fine paste.

Heat the remaining oil in the kadai, add mustard seeds, when they start to sputter add split urad dhal and methi seeds, and fry till the dhal turns golder brown. Add the onions and fry till they become transparent and the layers start to separate. Meanwhile, squeeze the tamarind and extract the juice. Add the sambar powder and jaggery to the tamarind juice and mix well. Add the tamarind juice mixture to the onions and bring it to boil. Allow the mixture to boil for 1-2 minutes. Mix the dhal using an ordinary hand blender or a ladle till it is soft and uniform in consistency. Add the dhal to the boiling kuzhambu and mix well. Add salt and bring it to boil. Dilute the ground paste with little water and slowly add to the sambar, while stirring continuously. Allow it to boil for a minute. Switch off the fire. Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice, curry/kootu/appalam. 

Traditional method: Traditionally, sambar powder is not used for preparing 'vengaya sambar'. Instead of sambar powder, 3-4 red chillies are ground along with coconut and fried Bengal gram dhal & coriander seeds into a paste. Rest of the recipe is the same. Garnish with curry leaves, coriander leaves and 1 teaspoon of grated coconut (தேங்காய் பூ). 

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