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Pearl Onion Lentil Curry/ Pearl Onion Sambar

You want a warm wholesome dish with soft bursts of flavour with each bite? By "bursts of flavour", I mean literal BURSTS of flavour. The pearl onions are mini taste explosions. We've just found our new favourite way of making sambar.

Sure, this recipe may say it serves 4, but what I mean to say is, please try and find it in you to portion it out into four meals. "Try" being the operative word :P It didn't work for me, but here's to hoping someone else will find the advice helpful :D

Sambar - How We Enjoy it

Sambar is one of the most versatile dishes. You have vegetables in your fridge and you want a quick spiced curry? Or, you have a batch of fluffy idlis you need soaked in spiced vegetable curry? At home, even if fluffy idlis or crispy dosas aren't on the menu we make sambar and enjoy it liberally poured over our rice (or in a bowl - whatever suits your fancy), along with a side of vegetables. More vegetables, you ask? Nah, can't have too much :P

This particular sambar is made with pearl onions instead of a wide variety of vegetables. Perhaps not as nutritious, but it definitely doesn't compromise on flavour. At all.

Kitchen Essentials

Pressure Cooker - for cooking the dal

Pressure Cooker

Deep Pot - for cooking the vegetables and adding all the ingredients together

Potato Masher - for mashing up the lentils



Cooking the Lentils

  1. Rinse tuvar dal 1-2 times. In a pressure cooker (PC), add the rinsed tuvar dal, chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder and water. On medium heat, cook the dal for 8 whistles, till they are completely cooked. Once all the steam evaporates (i.e. no steam escapes when lifting the PCs weight) mash the dal well.

  2. In 1/2 cup warm water soak the tamarind for approx 15 minutes. Once soaked, extract the tamarind pulp, keep aside.

Cooking the Onions

  1. In a deep pot, heat coconut oil, splutter mustard seeds and urad dal (it should turn dark brown). on low flame. Add dry chilli and urad dal, sauté till chilli changes colour.

  2. Add pearl onion and curry leaves, sauté till translucent. Add asoefetida, tamarind pulp and water, stir well and bring to a simmer. Add sambar powder and stir in well.

  3. Add the mashed dal and stir well. Add salt and simmer, approx 5-6 minutes.

  4. Take off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and serve :)


  1. Add more water if required, the consistency should be more soupy

  2. Ensure Pearl Onions are WELL sautéed till translucent. Otherwise, crunchy onions, rather than onion bursts, are more likely.

If you make these bowls of deliciousness, tag us on Instagram @ayurfit. We'd LOVE to see your creations!

Or, have family or friends you know would love this recipe? Share the love via Facebook, Pinterest or Email!

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