Vengayam (Naattu vengayam, ulli, chinna vengayam) - shallot / baby onion; Saambar - A dhal based curry served over plain rice.
Sambars are generally named after the vegetables added and by the variation in masala. e.g., Arachi vitta sambar, murungakkai sambar etc.
The most famous and easy to prepare is the onion sambar.
Though I make many varieties of sambar, this one is my family's most favorite. Almost all my Fridays will begin with this flavorful sambar along with the potato curry . Moreover I always remember to save some sambar for the night to serve along with crispy paper roast dosas and we never get bored of that menu:)
I am narrating my mom's recipe, which I am following for years.
vengaya sambar served in a bowl.
To pressure cook:Toor dhal/red gram lentil - 1/2 cup (100 gms)
water- 2 cups
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
asafoetida - 1 pinch
sesame oil- 1 drop
Wash and clean the lentil. Pressure cook the dhal with the above said ingredients for a whistle. Then reduce flame and cook for 10 minutes. Let it cool. Open the lid and add some fresh cumin seeds .Mash well using a spatula. Keep aside.
(we can cook the dhal in stove top also. But we may need to soak it first for 30 minutes or more and cook for 30 minutes).
Other ingredients:Shallot (sambar vengayam) - 15
(choose small variety. Remove the skin, wash and clean. Don't chop).
Tomato - 1
Tamarind - amla (gooseberry / nellikkai) size ball
cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
cooking oil / ghee - 2 tbsp
(Try to use ghee, as it renders more taste to the sambar).
curry leaves- 1 sprig
cilantro/ coriander leaves (chopped)- 1 tbsp
mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
fenugreek -1/2 tsp
jaggery- 1 tsp (optional)
salt - to taste
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 2 tsp
Sambar powder - 1/2 tsp
Method:Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of hot water and extract the juice by squeezing.
Add the red chilly powder, coriander powder, salt and bring it to a boil. Let it boil till the raw smell vanishes.
In the same time heat oil or ghee in a separate wok. Add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and let the mustard splutter. Before they get black, immediately add the shallots, curry leaf and saute well. Continue frying till the shallot starts getting a golden color (not red). Then add the finely chopped tomato and saute till oil separates.
Pour this hot mixture over the boiling tamarind paste. Add the mashed dhal, sambar powder and bring it to a boil. As it starts boiling, put the crushed jaggery, chopped cilantro and switch off.
Vengaya sambar is ready!
Serving suggestions:Serve hot over plain cooked rice.
The best side dish would be a spicy potato curry and appalam (pappad).
Reserve some sambar for dinner and serve along with paper roast dosas.