Main Course

Onion Sambar Recipe | Vengaya Sambar | Arachuvitta Onion Sambar

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Onion Sambar / Vengaya Sambar is one of the most popular sambar variety in South India. As it’s name suggests, the key ingredient of this sambar is Shallots/Madras Onions (small onion). It’s made using the freshly ground sambar masala (arachuvitta masala).  The addition of shallots gives an excellent flavour and taste. It goes very well as a main course with hot rice and roasted potatoes, but it’s also a great accompaniment for Idli and Dosa as well.  In restaurants it’s served as an accompaniment with idli / dosa, especially for the sambar idli, the idli’s are dunked in piping hot flavourful vengaya sambar!

Sambar is a staple in South India. It’s a tamarind based gravy with spices and cooked with tuar dal. Based on the preparation of spices, vegetable used, we can make many different varieties of sambar.

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 spices adds to the taste of this sambar. This vengaya sambar is mildly tangy and spicy in taste.

Different Types Of Sambar

There are numerous variety of sambars available in India.

  • Arachuvitta Sambar – Here the sambar is made using freshly made ground masala. This is considered as one of the authentic way to cook sambar.
  • Sambar using Sambar Powder – This is a quick way to make Sambar using readily available sambar powder. This saves time and effort to make the sambar.
  • Hotel Sambar – Restaurants always use some secret ingredients and ways of cooking to make it unique and special.
  • Tiffin Sambar – This sambar is made exclusively for serving it with Idli / Dosa.  Here Moong Dal is used instead of Tuar Dal.
  • Udupi Sambar – There are slight variations in making Sambar in Udupi area.

Onion Sambar Recipe | Vengaya Sambar | Arachuvitta Onion Sambar

Recipe by TheFit.Me
0 from 0 votes
Course: Main CourseCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 150gms madras onions, pealed,

  • 1 cup Tuar Dal, boiled, mashed,

  • 1 lemon sized tamarind,

  • 1-2 sprig curry leaves,

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder,

  • Salt as per taste,

  • Fresh coriander leaves,

  • For Sambar Masala To Grind:
  • 6-8 red chillies,

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds,

  • 1 tbsp chana dal,

  • 3 tbsp freshly grated coconut,

  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder,

  • 1 tsp oil,

  • For Tempering:
  • 1 tsp oil,

  • 1 tbsp ghee,

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds,

  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds,


  • Soak tamarind in water and extract the tamarind juice and keep it aside.
  • Cook the dal in a pressure cooker till it is soft and mash it nicely and keep it aside.
  • In a frying pan add 1 tsp oil. Add the red chillies, channa dal, coriander seeds, asafoetida, and coconut fry it until everything becomes golden colour. Allow it to cool down completely and then grind it into a fine paste. Set aside.
  • In a pressure cooker, add 1 tsp oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the onions and sauté until pink and translucent. 
  • Add the tamarind extract, turmeric powder and little salt. Pressure cook this for 1 whistle and allow it to cool down before opening the lid. 
  • Add the mashed dal and stir well to avoid lumps. 
  • Now add the ground paste and mix well.
  • Add curry leaves, adjust the salt and consistency as required. Allow it to come to a rolling boil.
  • Prepare the tempering by heating ghee in a tadka pan. Add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once the mustard seeds crackle add this to the boiling sambar. 
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot.

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