Onion Sambar

Ingredients for 4 adults
  1. Toor dal 1 small cup ( 100 gms) Note: The more the dal the thicker the sambhar
  2. Tamarind  - small lemon size or if Tamarind paste, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon. 
  3. Sambhar powder* -3 teaspoons ( or more depending on your taste) 
  4. Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
  5. Fenugreek (methi)seeds - a few ( optional but recommended)
  6. Curry leaves - a few
  7. Coriander leaves - a few
  8. Oil - two teaspoons
  9. Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon 
  10. Hing a small piece or powder 1/4 teaspoon ( two pinches).
  11. Peeled small onions (shallots) - one cup
  12. (Optionlly you can add drumstick pieces - a few)
  1. Dissolve the tamarind in 1 and  1/2  cups of water and keep it aside. ( if you are using raw tamarind, dissolve  using warm water, mash it with your fingers and filter to remove the debris and fibres)
  2. Clean the toor dal and put it in the cooker vessel.
  3. Add 2 cups of water and add the turmeric powder
  4. Pressure cook for 20 minutes ( till the dal becomes soft and mash able)
  Synchronize this process so as to start the sambhar preparation as below by the time the cooker is done. 
  1. Pour two teaspoons of oil in a skillet ( kadai). Put the mustard seeds. Wait till they splutter. Add the fenugreek seeds, a few curry leaves,hing and the peeled onions ( and drumstick pieces if required).
  2. Saute the onions till they turn golden brown. Add the sambhar powder and saute for a minute.
  3. Pour the tamarind water.Add salt. Let this boil for 10 minutes till the raw aroma of the sambhar powder disappears.
  4. Take out the dal, mash the dal with a hand churner or a thick spoon and pour this dal water into the boiling sambhar.
  5. Add rest of the curry leaves, Coriander leaves. 
  6. Cook in a low flame till the smell of the dal disappears and you see the sambhar boiling with bubbles in them.
  7. For more flavor you can add some more curry leaves at this stage.
Note: the thickness of the sambhar depends on the total amount of water you use for cooking the dal and dissolving the tamarind. You can judge the right amount of water after a day or two's trial.
* Preparation of this powder is given separately in this blog. Pre-packed sambhar powder called Madras sambhar powder is also available


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