Monday, July 8, 2013

Tirunelveli Sambhar/Nellai Sambhar

HH's favourite is sambhar and especially the Tirunelveli sambhar.This sambhar goes very well with Dosa and also with steamed rice..I usually cook sambhar in my own method..Last week HH's tirunelveli friends visited us for the pot meal on saturday.As the road between Tirunelveli and Tuticorin is too good for a drive it hardly takes 1/2 an hour to commute between these two towns!!One of HH's friend's wife made an exotic nellai sambhar..though it looked very simple it tasted fantastic with hot steamed idlies..She patiently explained me the whole process of making the Nellai sambhar..I tried it after few days and got addicted to the taste..Then on I make only nellai sambhar and not the normal sambhar at home!!
This sambar goes well with all the millets rice too!!
For the recipe please press READ MORE below..


1/2 a cup of thuvar Dhal/Thur Dhal
1/4 kg of vegetables
1 big onion chopped
1 large tomato chopped
1/2 Tsp of turmeric powder
A pinch of hing/Asafoetida
Small lemon sized tamarind (soaked in 1/2 cup of water)
1/2 Tsp of methi/fenugreek seeds

Grind it to a raw paste:
2-3 nos of Shallots or 1/2 a big onion
5 nos of Red chillies
1 and 1/2 Tbsp of grated coconut
1 Tsp of Cumin seeds/Jeera

To Temper:
1 Tsp of oil
1 Tsp of Mustard seeds
1 Tsp of Urad dhal
1/2 Tsp of cumin seeds/jeera


Wash the thoor Dhal.Add turmeric powder,water and a drop of oil .
Pressure cook it till the dhal gets cooked.Mash it and keep it aside

Grind red chillies,shallots,grated coconut and cumin seeds to nice paste by adding little quantity of water.This is a raw paste..

Heat oil in a kadai.Then add items mentioned in "To Temper" list ..(First add mustard seeds leave it to splutter then add urad dhal,cumin seeds and curry leaves.Let the urad dhal turn brown..Then add hing/Asafoetida
Then add onions and saute well.
Then the tomatoes.Saute till onion-tomato gets mixed well.

Add chopped vegetables.U can use any vegetable of ur choice.I used a mixture of drumstick and brinjal.Saute it well with a pinch of turmeric powder.
Add enough water and salt for the vegetables and boil it till the vegetables get cooked.

Close the kadai with the lid and cook the vegetables.

Once they are cooked add the grinded paste and mix well.
Add tamarind water(tamarind in 1/2 cup of water).Add salt.
Mix well and leave it to boil until the gravy thickens little and the raw smell goes off.

Finally switch off the flame and add roasted methi powder to the sambhar.Mix well.
Serve it hot with steamed rice accompanied with  appalam.
  • U can use drumstick,brinjal,Chow Chow(Chayote),Radish,yellow sambhar cucumber for making this sambar.
  • U can have this for Idly,Dosa or with rice.
  • Don't add the methi powder when the flame is on.It will give a bitter taste if u do so.
  • If u don't have shallots then u can use 1/2 a big onion for grinding.


  1. When do you add the mashed dal? You never mentioned. But the recipe is good.