Onion Sambar (Restaurant Style)

Sambar is a staple food in South India. It is served with rice, idli or dosa or vada, etc. You can make a lot of variations in sambar and it also varies based on various region in South India.

There are a few restaurants in Tamilnadu which is famous for their sambar. Today I have made Restaurant Style Onion Sambar which is rich and delicious. The freshly ground spices and masala paste adds a lot of taste to it. It is also popular in Tam-Brahm families. Follow the steps carefully and you can prepare a wonderful sambar which your family and friends will love and appreciate.

Onion sabar fi


  • Small onions (shallots) – 25
  • Toor dal – ½ cup
  • Moong dal – 1 tbsp
  • Sambar powder – 2 tbsp
  • Tamarind – small size gooseberry
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry powder -  2 tbsp
  • Shredded coconut – 3 tbsp
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Dried chili -1
  • Curry leaves – one sprig

Method of Preparation:

onion sambar 1

Wash onions and soak in the water for 10 minutes. It will be easy to remove the skin. Soak tamarind in 2 cups of hot water. Peel the onions and cut them into two halves.

Wash the toor dal and moong dal, add 1 ½ cup of water and pressure cook for 5 whistles. Turn off the stove.

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and chili. Allow it to splutter then add onions and keep aside 4 to 5 onions for masala. Saute over medium heat until it turns into slight brown colour. Add ½ cup of water allow and boil for 3 to 4 minutes.

Extract tamarind juice and discard the pith. Add the tamarind juice to the onions along with sambar powder and salt. Allow it to cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.

o.sambar 2

In the mean time dry roast the shredded coconut in a pan until the water content is gone. Make a paste of curry powder, reserved onions and fried coconut with water.

o.sambar 3

Mash the cooked dal. Add the dal and ground paste and mix well. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes. Set it aside. Heat a small pan with 1 tsp of oil add mustard seeds, allow to splutter then turn off the stove. Add this tempering to the sambar.

Restaurant style sambar is ready to serve.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
No.of servings: 6
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