No Need of Onions!!! · Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Vendakkai Sambar (Ladyfinger sauted in tamarind gravy cooked with spice powders)

Vendekkai Sambar
Vendekkai Sambar

This is a variety of  “Sambar” that does not have the ground coconut and spices in it so its pretty straightforward. There are two kinds of basic sambars that we make – the variety that has spices roasted and ground with coconut and the other variety that is spiced only with the sambar powder. This is a part of the latter and hence very easy to make. This sambar is excellent also as a side for Pongal, Idlis and the like. It`s also great with Dosa, adai etc.


8-10 ladysfinger.

1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Extract.



1 spoon of heaped Sambar Powder.

1/2 cup cooked Toor Dhal.

3/4 spoon of rice flour dissolved in 4 spoons of water.


Curry Leaves.



Mustard, Curry Leaves.


  • Take the washed and cleaned Okras and chop off the tips and the top so you have slightly longer pieces. Set aside.
  • Take a copper bottomed vessel and pour oil and season with mustard, curry leaves and hing. Immediately add the chopped pieces of okra and stir in well.
  • Allow the ladysfinger pieces to saute well in the seasoning and when its done, add the prepared tamarind extract water.
  • Add salt, hing, turmeric, sambar powder, cilantro and sir in well. Allow the gravy to boil and lose all the raw flavours and smells.
  • After about 20 minutes, the gravy would have reduced and the spices would be well entrenched in the Okra pieces.
  • Take the cooked toor dhal and slightly dilute with a little water and add to the reduced sambar gravy and stir in well.
  • If you feel that the consistency is a little too watery, add the rice flour dissolved in the water to this and stir to see instant thickening.
  • Allow to boil and immediately switch off the heat. Garnish with torn curry leaves and chopped cilantro.
  • Serve with rice and Kovakkai Curry or Kathirikkai Podimas.
Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Vengaya Sambar (Onions sauted and boiled in tamarind gravy with ground coconut spices)

Delicious Vengaya Sambar.
Delicious Vengaya Sambar.

Vengaya Sambar or Onion Sambar is the most delicious of all the sambar varieties. It`s in fact the unwritten favourite of all the kids in every tamil household. Vengaya sambar and Urulai Fry would probably be the most cooked combination, for a lazy sunday morning brunch. This is the variety that is ground with coconut and roasted spices and then simmered till done.


1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Water

20 – 22 shallots or baby onions available in Indian Stores.

1/2 cup of cooked toor dhal.


Salt to taste.

Curry leaves

1 Tsp Mustard.

A small piece of ginger.

To Fry in Ghee:

2 Tsp of Dhania

4  Red Chillies

1/2 Tsp Venthayam/ Methi Seeds.

1 tsp Bengal Gram.

1/3 Cup of fresh dessicated coconut.

Spices for roasting.
Spices for roasting.


  • Roast the dhania, methi seeds and red chillies in a spoon of ghee. The roasting should be done on a medium low flame until you get the aroma of the spices that are roasted.
  • In a kadai, add a spoon of ghee and a spoon of oil and when hot, add mustard, curry leaves and the baby onions. Allow to saute well and to slightly brown a little.
  • Grind the roasted spices along with coconut, about 4 browned onions, and a small piece of ginger and a little water to get a smooth paste. Set this aside.
  • Now add the tamarind water, salt, hing, turmeric and curry leaves and allow to simmer on a medium flame.
  • After about fifteen to twenty minutes when the tamarind water is slightly reduced and the raw smell is gone, add the ground paste and the mashed cooked toor dhal to the simmering kadai.
  • Mix well and add a little water to adjust the consistency of the sambar.
  • Allow to boil again and when done, switch off the stove and add a dash of chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Serve steaming hot with Urulai Fry or kovaikkai curry.


For a richer tasting sambar, grind the roasted spices with 2 spoons of  coconut milk and water. This can be reserved to special occassions as coconut milk is high in fat calories.