Preparation time
Cooking time


For 4 Person(s)

For cooking dal:

  • 1/2 cup tuvar dal/pigeon pea lentils
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder/haldi
  • 1 - 2 cups water for pressure cooking

For tempering:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 dry red chilies/sookhi lalmirch
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds/rai
  • 1 tsp urad dal/split husked black gram (optional)
  • 3 - 4 fenugreek seeds/methi dana
  • 9 - 10 curry leaves/kadipatta or 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • pinch of asafoetida/hing

For other ingredients:

  • 125 - 150 g small onions (or 20-22 pearl onions/shallots/chotepyaaz or 1-1.25 cups of peeled pearl onions or 2-3 medium onions/pyaaz)
  • 1 small tomato/tamatar
  • 1/2 tbsp tightly packed seedless tamarind/imli soaked in ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp sambar powder
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • salt as required


Rinse ½ cup tuvar dal a couple of times in water. Then add the lentils in a pressure cooker along with ¼ tsp turmeric powder. Stir and pressure cook the lentils for 7 to 8 whistles or until they are cooked completely.

When the dal is cooking, soak ½ tbsp tamarind in ½ cup hot water for about 20 minutes. Later extract the pulp from the tamarind and keep aside.

Also soak the pearl onions in water for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Let the pressure release from the cooker on its own. Open the lid and check the dal. If the dal is softened and cooked really well, mash the dal and keep it aside.

Later peel the pearl onions and keep them aside. Also dice the tomato.

Heat 2 tbsp oil and add ½ tsp mustard seeds along with 1 tsp urad dal. Allow the mustard seeds to splutter and the urad dal to change into a maroonish color.

Then add 2 dry red chilies and 3 to 4 fenugreek seeds. Sauté until the red chilies change color.

Next add the pearl onions and curry leaves.

Stir and sauté until the onions turn translucent.

Add the diced tomatoes and a pinch of asafoetida.

Stir and sauté the tomatoes until they soften.

Add the tamarind pulp to the onion - tomato mixture.

Add water and stir well.

Bring this mixture to a simmer until the raw smell of tamarind goes away.

Then add sambar powder and stir very well.

Now add the mashed dal and stir again.

Add some more water if required.

Add salt and stir well.

Simmer vengaya sambar for 5 to 6 minutes.

Garnish with coriander leaves if you want and serve vengaya sambar with steamed rice or idli, dosa or uttapam.

Recipe notes

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 45 mins