Paleo Sambar (Indian Onion Stew) - Sambar (Indian Onion Stew) | PaleoI’m all about the easy soups and stews this winter. Preferably the kind that involve minimal chopping of ingredients, and while this recipe does require peeling and cubing sweet potatoes, the namesake ingredient (onions) are the type that come out of a bag.

This Sambar gets its flavor from a healthy dose of Indian spices and tamarind. So glad I’m finally using up my tamarind paste! It has such a distinctive flavor that when a recipe calls for it then nothing else will do, but it’s not the kind f thing I experiment with regularly. - Sambar (Indian Onion Stew) | Paleo

Sambar is a traditional Indian dish, although typically made with some kind of dal. I tweaked it so that it gets its body from sweet potatoes, instead. One benefit of the sweet potato substitution is that the stew keeps its gorgeous golden color. By the way, this can easily be made vegetarian… just swap out the chicken broth for water or vegetables broth. I served this Sambar over cauliflower rice and it’s a delicious combination. Happy eating!

Paleo Sambar (Indian Onion Stew)
Serves 6
This simple Indian onion stew is an exotic weeknight winter, with savory Indian spices, the tang of tamarind and the sweetness of onions and sweet potatoes.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
  1. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  2. 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  3. 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  4. 2 tsp ground coriander
  5. 2 tsp ground cumin
  6. 2 tsp salt
  7. 2 tsp black pepper
  8. 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
  9. 2 quarts chicken broth
  10. 2 12 oz bags pearl onions
  11. 3 tsp tamarind paste
  1. Red pepper flakes
  2. Mustard seeds
  3. Cilantro
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large stew pot over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, then partially cover the pot when they pop.
  2. Once the mustard seeds have popped, add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, salt and black pepper. Stir the spices in the oil and then add the sweet potatoes, broth, onions and tamarind.
  3. Stir thoroughly, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 1/2 hour. Remove the lid and let the stew reduce for a further half hour (or until thickened to your preference).
  4. Serve hot.
  1. I served this with cauliflower rice, to mimic the way Sambar is traditionally enjoyed in India.
Adapted from Saveur's Sambar
Adapted from Saveur's Sambar
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