Onion Sambar Recipe

Here is a very simple Sambar recipe with onions. It can be served with rice or as a side dish for idli/vada/dosa.
Course main
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 78 kcal
Author Gayatri Vivek


  • 1/2 cup Tuvar Dal (arhar dal)
  • 2 medium-sized Onions (chopped in to big pieces)
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 ½ tbsp Tamarind (paste/pulp)
  • 2 tsp Sambar Powder
  • 1 pinch Hing
  • Salt as required

For seasoning

  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Rai
  • 1/2 tsp Methi Seeds
  • 10 Curry Leaves
  • 1 or 2 Red Chilli (depending on the spice level you need)


  1. wash and soak dal in water for 15 minutes. Cook the dal in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles.

  2. In the meantime take a pan, add oil and fry the onions. Add haldi powder.

  3. After they become a little soft, add 3 cups of water.

  4. Let the onions get cooked completely. Then add the sambar powder and salt. Let it boil for 4-5 minutes.

  5. Now add the tamarind paste or pulp in 1 cup of water into the mixture.

  6. Also by now, the dal would be ready to take out from the cooker.

  7. Mash it till smooth and add it to the mixture.

  8. Mix it nicely and bring it to a boil.

  9. For seasoning, take a small pan, heat oil.

  10. Add rai, methi seeds. When they splutter, add curry leaves, red chillies, and hing. Switch off the flame.

  11. Pour this into the sambar mixture.

  12. Stir it and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

  13. Serve with steamed rice, idli, dosa or vada.