Kootu/South-Indian dal with veggies / Sambhar & Rasams / Uncategorized

Cooking With Farm Fresh Veggies: Spring Onion Sambhar

Weekend Lunch @ Ramachandrans

Growing up in Delhi, everyday food at home was mainly north-Indian, interspersed with some south-Indian regulars like kootu (south-Indian dish of lentil and vegetables) and rasam (South-Indian soup). There’d be roti, dal and subzi at all meals and, rice and rasam or kootu every other day. Sundays lunches meant south-Indian food and sambhar would be the highlight.

I used to look forward to the mandi day (the weekly vegetable market) on Thursdays because you could get typically south-Indian vegetables like banana flower, chow-chow and podalangai (gourd varieties) and sambhar onions (shallots). I’d scour amma’s market bag soon as she entered home to see if she’d got the special onions and banana flowers – those were two of my favourite vegetables in a Tamil meal.

Now, of course, I live in Chennai, where these vegetables are a regular affair and sambhars and rasams are on the lunch menu most days. But whenever I visit my ma back in Delhi, I ask her to prepare my favourite shallot sambhar. This time round, she indulged me with a sambhar that was made even more special with the addition of home-grown spring onions.

Spring Onions in the Kitchen Backyard

Shallots have an almost sweet taste compared to the strong flavour of the regular big pink/white variety. Spring onions are even more subtly onion-y than shallots.

Spring Onion Sambhar

This was the first time I’d had sambhar with spring onions, which I’d used so far only in preparing Chinese and to add an interesting dimension to north-Indian curries. And the fact that they were fresh from the kitchen garden, and plucked minutes before cooking them lent a wonderful fresh flavour to the sambhar. She used a mix of readymade sambhar powder and Freshly Ground Sambhar Powder. The addition of the fresh powder also adds its touch to the sambhar.

The other interesting items on the menu that day were a refreshing Summer Salad, Cabbage Kootu, Tomato Rasam, okra dry curry, fried rice-appalam (poppadom), paruppu (mashed lentil), rice, and curd.

Colourful Summer Salad

Cabbage Kootu

Now, for the Spring Onion Sambhar recipe.


(Serves 4)


Spring onion (greens intact) – 8-10

Toor dal (split pigeon peas) – 1 cup

Fresh tamarind – size of a big walnut OR tamarind paste – 1 tbsp

Tomato – 2

Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

Readymade sambhar powder – 1 tsp

Fresh ground sambhar powder – 2 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Chopped coriander leaves – 1 tsp


Cook the dal (pigeon peas) in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water till 3-4 whistles. Mash with a ladle once cool

Halve spring onion bulbs and finely chop the greens. Keep aside

Boil tamarind in ¼ cup of water. Once cool, squeeze out the pulp and mix well with ½ cup water. If using tamarind paste, mix in ½ cup water

Put the tamarind water to boil

Once the quantity is down by half and the raw smell of tamarind has disappeared, add tomatoes and readymade sambhar powder and boil for 10-15 mins

Add salt, mashed lentil and water as required to adjust consistency (around 2 cups)

When the liquid starts to boil, add fresh ground sambhar powder and chopped greens from 2 or 3 spring onions

Cook for 2-3 mins and remove from heat

Heat oil and add mustard seeds

When mustard starts spluttering, add onions and sauté

When onions turn translucent, add greens and sauté for a min

Add onions and chopped coriander to sambhar

Mix well and serve

Click here to see what the other members of BM#16 are doing.  I’m also linking this to Srivall’s Thali Mela







16 thoughts on “Cooking With Farm Fresh Veggies: Spring Onion Sambhar

  1. wow…such a delicious looking spread….spring onion sambar sounds so yummy n flavorful…love all the items,salad looks colorful n healthy too!

  2. Wow love that spring onion patch in the backyard!..how lucky. I heard of this sambar being made in chennai, though I am yet to try it myself!..very nice meal..

  3. Spring onion sambar sounds very interesting. Will have to give this a try soon.
    Love the backyard garden. Are those cabbage growing in the background??

  4. Spring onion from back yard?? Thats great. Loved all the dishes in the platter and home grown spring onion makes the sambhar even more special.

  5. Pingback: Kenyan Con-on-Cob sabzi | foodiliciousnan

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