Vengaya Sambar / Pearl Onion Sambar / Shallots Sambar

Vengaya Sambar / Pearl Onion Sambar / Shallots Sambar

Vengaya Sambar / Pearl Onion Sambar / Shallots Sambar is a popular dish in South India for breakfast that is served along with Idli, Dosa, Upma, etc. It is hearty, savory, and filling. Adding a lot of shallots improves the bold flavor. There are so many ways to make this recipe; each one with a twist of its own.

Vengaya Sambar / Pearl Onion Sambar / Shallots Sambar

To add another layer of flavor to this Vengaya Sambar / Pearl Onion Sambar / Shallots Sambar, I added coconut paste. It turned out wonderfully in my opinion. Finally, I tempered the seasoning as the very last step as it brings out a good aroma in my dishes.

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Vengaya Sambar / Pearl Onion Sambar / Shallots Sambar

Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Total Time
55 minutes

I have a bite-sized 2-minute video to show you how to make this Vengaya Sambar / Pearl Onion Sambar / Shallots Sambar.


  • Shallots / Small onion – 250g (2½ cups), peeled
  • Tomato – 1, chopped
  • Green chili – 2, chopped
  • Sambar powder – 1½ tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves / Cilantro – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Gingelly oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste

Mashed Toor Dal

  • Toor dal – ¾ cup
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Water – 2½ cups (or) as needed

To Roast & Grind

  • Coconut – ½ cup
  • Cumin seeds – ½ tsp

To Temper

  • Gingelly oil – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Red chili – 4 nos
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Asafoetida (Hing) – A pinch


  1. Soak the toor dal in water and keep it aside till it absorbs all the water (it will take around 30 minutes). Pressure cook the dal with ¼ tsp turmeric powder and 2½ cups of water for 5 whistles. Once the pressure gets released, mash it well and keep it aside.
  2. In tamarind paste, add warm water and mix it well till it gets diluted completely. Keep it aside.
  3. In a deep bottomed pan, heat oil and add shallots and sauté it for a couple of minutes. Add tomato and stir it till it gets mushy.
  4. Add green chili, tamarind water, sambar powder and mix them well. Add mashed dal, turmeric powder, and salt, and mix them well again.
  5. Dry roast coconut and cumin seeds for 2 – 3 minutes on medium flame. Once it cools down, grind it into a fine paste by sprinkling some water.
  6. Add the coconut paste and mix well. Allow it to boil for 2 minutes. Add coriander leaves (cilantro) and mix it well with the Vengaya Sambar(if it is too thick, add some water).
  7. Heat oil in a pan and add the items given under ‘To temper’. Once it splutters, add it to the Sambar and mix it well.


  1. Before cooking the dal. soak the toor dal in water till it absorbs the water completely (this makes the toor dal so soft and easy to mash).
  2. Tempering at the final stage of cooking the Sambar will give it a rich taste.
  3. You can add coconut paste even without dry roasting.
  4. If you add Sambar powder and turmeric powder while boiling, don’t add it directly as it will create lumps and won’t dissolve properly. Instead, mix the sambar powder and turmeric powder with little water and make it into a paste, and then add it.

Vengaya Sambar / Pearl Onion Sambar / Shallots Sambar

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