/body> >

Monday, 30 September 2019

Vengaya Sambar / Onion Sambar Recipe

Vengaya Sambar is a flavorful sambar made with Toor dal (pigeon pea), pearl onions or shallots and freshly ground sambar masala. It is one of the popular sambar variety from the South Indian state of Tamilnadu. Vengaya Sambar is easy to make and usually served with steamed rice but also goes well with South Indian breakfast dishes like idli, dosa, medu vada, etc.

I love sambar to the core but I add many veggies to it like drumstick, pumpkin, onions etc. This Vengaya sambar is different from other sambar varieties as it has a distinct flavor coming from the pearl onions and no other veggies are added to this sambar. Also, fresh homemade sambar masala made by roasting and grinding the lentils and spices adds to the taste of this sambar. This sambar does not have coconut either. This Vengaya sambar is mildly tangy and spicy in taste and the little amount of added jaggery balances the tangy and spicy flavors very well.

Now you all must be wondering why am I posting an onion sambar recipe during Navratri festival. Actually, it is month-end again and the time to post a region Indian recipe for the gourmet facebook group, Shhhhh cooking Secretly Challenge. In this group, each month we select an Indian state depending upon the alphabetical order and partners are assigned for the challenge. The chosen partners then exchange a set of secret ingredients among themselves and cook a dish with those ingredients from the regional cuisine of that month. The other group members who are not aware of the secret ingredients, then take turns to guess the ingredients just by looking at the pic of the dish. Doesn't this all sound interesting! If you are interested in joining this exciting group, leave a message in the comment section below.

                         चित्र में ये शामिल हो सकता है: पाठ

For this month's challenge, we had to cook a dish from the South Indian state of Tamilnadu. I was so glad to be paired with Priya Iyer of Thephotowali . Priya is a versatile blogger and her blog is home to many traditional South Indian and Gujarati recipes. I love her writing style and crisp clear photography. If you love traveling, her travel blogs are worth reading. Priya gave me mustard seeds and tamarind as my two secret ingredients and i made this flavorful Vengaya sambar using the two secret ingredients. In return, i gave her chana dal and dry red chilies and she made Vendakkai More Kozhambu, ladyfinger in yogurt gravy, yet another flavorful dish from Tamil cuisine.


This post is also added to the 131 My legume Love Affair hosted by my dear friend and fellow blogger, Sasmita. Conceptualized by Susan and carried forward to date by Lisa.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-5

  • 1/2 cup Toor dal / Pigeon pea
  • 1 cup pearl onions/shallots
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon jaggery
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
For Sambar powder: (Roast and Powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ghee/ oil
  • 3-4 dry red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • a fat pinch of asafoetida
To temper:
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies slit (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  1. To begin with making the Vengaya sambar, at first rinse and soak the Toor day for 1/2 an hour. This step is optional but i would recommend it as it not only saves time and fuel but also ensures the dal cooks very well. Next, pressure cook the dal with 1 cup water,1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and a pinch of asafoetida for 3-4 whistles and then simmer for another 10 minutes.

2. On cooking, the dal should be soft and easily mashable. Once the dal is cooled, mash the dal with the back of a spoon and keep aside until use.

3. By the time the dal is getting cooked, soak the tamarind in hot water for 5-10 minutes to extract the pulp. Extract the tamarind juice in a cup of water and discard the fiber. Also, peel the pearl onions and keep aside in water until use.

4. Next, we will prepare the sambar powder. For that in a wok heat 1 teaspoon ghee and add the chana dal, urad dal, coriander seeds, broken dry red chilies, and fenugreek seeds. Roast well until aromatic on low flame. Add asafoetida in the end, give a toss and transfer this roasted masala to a plate to cool down. Once it has cooled down, transfer the ingredients to a grinder jar and pulse to get a fine powder without adding water.

5. In the same wok, add 1 teaspoon ghee and add mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds splutter add curry leaves, asafoetida and split green chilies. Next, add the pearl onions and fry them for 2-3 minutes on medium flame until they become translucent.

6. To this, add tamarind water followed by 1 more cup of water, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt and bring to a boil. Continue boiling the mixture for 3-4 minutes or until the onions become soft and tender.

7. To this, add the mashed cooked dal. Give a good stir and more water if required to adjust the desired consistency. Once it boils, add the freshly ground sambar masala to the sambar. Let it boil again.

8. Add crushed jaggery and cook for another 1 minute and put off the flame. Garnish the sambar with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or breakfast items like idi, dosa or medu vada.

Recipe Notes:
  • I have referred the recipe from here.
  • You can make this sambar using normal onions if the pearl onions are not available.
  • Make sure you do not burn the lentils and spices while roasting as the flavor of the sambar depends on this podi.
  • The sambar thickens further after addition of freshly ground spice mix so adjust the consistency of sambar accordingly.
If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below. Follow us on #Facebook, #Instagram, #Twitter#Pinterest and #Google+ for more recipes and new updates. 

Related Posts:

Falahari Papdi Pizza

Falahari Papdi Pizza is a delicious fasting food, a fusion dish where the Italian Pizza gets an Indian makeover. These beauties are made with baked bite-size water chestnut (singhara) papdi  topped with homemade falahari pizza sauce , grated veggies and cottage cheese (paneer). Falahari papdi pizza is gluten-free and very healthy and can be served at Navratri functions and get together as guilt-free party starter. This is one of the falahari dishes that is delectable and guilt-free variation to the monotonous fasting food options (Vrat ka khana). You can bake the papdis ahead of time and assemble the pizza just before serving.

Well, today is Monday and the second day of Sharad Navratri. I observe fast for all 9 days during Navratri and eat only twice a day. I include only fruits and milk in one of my meals and make falhari dishes for the other meal which is made in minimal amount of ghee, uses rock salt, is light and at the same time nutritious. Buck wheat flour ( kuttu ka atta), water chestnut flour (singhare ka ata), amaranth ( rajgira), barnyard millet (bhagar/ samak chawal) are some of the vrat ingredients.

When Preethi di suggested #PizzaMania as the #215th theme for FoodieMondayBlogHop, i thought of skipping it at first as i was pretty busy last week with cleaning the house and preparing for the Navratri festival. But I also wanted to post some falhari dishes for my readers who observe fast during these 9 days. It was when Preethi di confirmed that she was not looking for classic pizzas for the theme and i could post any variation, i thought of making this falhari papdi pizza. Preethi di is a very humble and down to earth person and a very talented blogger. I am impressed with the way she takes out time from her busy corporate job for her passion for cooking and blogging. Her blog, Preethicuisine.com  is a home to many traditional South Indian dishes and easy to make scrumptious dishes from around the globe. 
Little about the ingredients of Falhari Papdi Pizza

Singhara ata / Water chestnut:
The papdi is made using water chestnut flour (singhara ata). Singhara or water chestnut is a winter fruit that grows under water. The fruit is dried and a flour is made out of this which is available year round. This gluten-free flour is rich in fiber, nutrient dense, good source of energy and a power house of antioxidants and minerals.

Paneer / Cottage Cheese: 
Paneer is a versatile dairy product. It is an unaged, non-melting farmers cheese made by curdling milk with a fruit or vegetable derived acid, such as lemon juice. Paneer or cottage cheese is rich in protein, strengthens bones and teeth, good for heart health , improves digestion and boost weight loss.

Veggies like carrots, boiled potato, beetroot can be used in grated form to top the pizza. You may even use grated apples in this falahari papdi pizza. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients for Papdi:
  • 1 cup water chestnut flour / Singhada ata 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mint leaves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  •  Rock salt to taste
Ingredients for Pizza sauce:
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger piece
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Rock salt to taste
Ingredients for Pizza topping:
  • 1 large boiled potato, grated
  • 100 grams paneer/ cottage cheese, grated
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • Black pepper powder as per taste
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnishing
  • Chili flakes as per taste (optional)
Method for making Falhari papdi:
  1. Preheat the oven at 180 Degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Take 1 cup water chestnut flour in a mixing bowl. Add ghee, black peeper powder, crushed dry mints and rock salt to taste.

2. Mix well and adding little water at a time knead the flour to a soft dough.

3. Divide the dough into 2 parts and roll out each part between two greased parchment papers to 1/4 inch thickness using a rolling pin. Using a cookie cutter or using a lid cut the dough sheet into round shape. Using a fork make impressions on each disc , so that the papdi do not puff on baking.

4. Transfer the papdi disc carefully using a spatula onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Flip the papdi midway to ensure it gets well cooked from both sides. A well baked papadi is flaky and crispy in texture. Let the papdi cool down completely before transferring it to an air tight container.

Method for Pizza Sauce:
  1. While our papdis are getting baked, we will prepare the pizza sauce. For that, in a chutney jar of mixer grinder add the chopped tomatoes, peeled and chopped ginger and chopped green chilies. Pulse to make a lump free paste.

2. Transfer the tomato paste to a wok and heat on medium flame. Add rock salt, sugar and roasted cumin powder and stir well. Allow the sauce to cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes. Keep stirring in between to ensure the sauce does not catch the bottom of the pan.

Assembling the Falhari Papdi Pizza:
  1. Before we begin assembling, keep all the ingredients ready. Grate the paneer and keep aside. Also grate the boiled potato and carrots separately. Allow both the papdi and pizza sauce to cool down at room temperature, as the papdi will get soggy if hot sauce is added to it.

 2. Arrange the falhari papdi on a serving plate. Add 1 teaspoon of pizza sauce over each papdi and spread evenly.

3. Add grated potato over the sauce layer. Next, top the papdi with grated carrots and paneer. Sprinkle rock salt, black pepper and chili flakes, if using on each papdi.

4. Lastly garnish each papdi pizza with mint leaf and serve immediately !

Recipe Notes:
  • You may use both buck wheat flour/kuttu ka atta and water chestnut flour/ singhade ka atta in 1:1 ratio to make the falhari papdi.
  • The papdis can be deep fried instead of baking if you wish .
  • You can make the falhari papdi ahead of time and store it in an air tight container. The papdis stay goof for about 10-15 days at room temperature. These can be served as tea time snack plain or with some dipping sauce. You may aslo use these papdis to make papdi chat or dahi papdi chaat.
  • You may choose any fasting veggies and fruits to top the papdi pizza.
  • Consult elders of your family to know what all ingredients are allowed as fasting food in your family. Skip red chili flakes if not allowed.
  • Assemble the falhari papdi pizza just before serving as the pizza sauce and toppings may make the baked papdi soggy if kept for a long time.
  If you like the recipe and ever try it, feel free to share your feedback with us. Would love to know your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below. Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter,#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

Related posts: