Sambar - Tirunelveli Sambar for lunch

Sambar is the most common kuzhambu (curry) in all of South Indian cuisine and staple in any restaurant and on important occasions. There are many variations for sambar depending on region or taste preferences. Tirunelveli sambar has some variations in the taste and the ingredients. Most of Tirunelveli recipes consist of coconut and small onions.

In this sambar also we add coconut, small onion, garlic and jeera paste. There are two keys to make tasty sambar. The first is to start with the fresh vegetables. When we prepare any dishes with fresh vegetables the result will be the best in taste and quality. The second is to add the correct amount of spices for the nice flavours. Now let's see how to prepare sambar with step by step pictures. Click here for Homemade Sambar Powder recipe.

Here is the recipe video for Tirunelveli Sambar

Check out my other Sambar recipes

Tirunelveli Sambar with step by step photos

Prep time : 30 minutes 
Cook time : 30 minutes 
Serves : 4
Category : kuzhambu
Author : Muthulakshmi Madhavakrishnan

  • 1/4 cup toor dal
  • 1 tbsp tamarind
  • 1 drumstick
  • 1 brinjal
  • 5 ladies finger
  • 1 tomato
  • 12 small onions
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2.5 tbsp sambar powder
  • 1 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • few curry leaves 
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt
For coconut paste
  • 4 tbsp grated coconut
  • 3 small onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp jeera
Grind all the above with 3 tbsp water.

For tempering:
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp urid dal
  • few curry leaves
Cooking Directions

1. Wash the toor dal and soak with 1 cup of water for 30 minutes. Soak the tamarind in hot water for 30 minutes.

2. After 30 minutes, pressure cook the dal for 3 to 5 whistles on low flame.  Peel the onions, cut the vegetables and slit the green chillies.

3. Once the tamarind gets soft, extract the  pulp with 1.5 cups of water. Then add this tamarind juice to the kuzhambu vessel. Next, add drumstick,brinjal and required salt to the tamarind juice.

 4. Then add turmeric powder, 2.5 tbsp sambar powder and required salt.

5. Heat some oil in a frying pan, add fenugreek, small onions, green chillies and ladies finger.

 6. When the onions turn golden brown, add these fried items to the tamarind juice. 

7. Mix them well with your hands without any lumps. Keep in medium and allow the vegetables to cook till soft. ( Cook them with a lid, leaving a small gap).

 8. Meanwhile, grind the ground coconut with the small onions, jeera and garlic cloves.

9. Now mix the paste with the cooked toor dal. Add the chopped tomatoes and asafoetida powder to this mixture.

10. When the vegetables are cooked well in the tamarind extract, add the toordal mixture to it. Mix it well and add some water if required. Allow it to boil for 5 to 9 minutes. 

11.When white foamy layer appears on the top of the sambar add the chopped coriander leaves and curry leaves. After a couple of seconds, switch off the flame. 

12. Heat a tsp of oil in a frying pan and add the mustard and urid dal. When it splutters add 4 curry leaves and add it to the sambar. Mix it well and close it with a lid. 

Delicious sambar is ready. 

Click here to view the recipe in Tamil

திருநெல்வேலி சாம்பார் தமிழில்


  1. made this sambar, it was really different and so tasty, thank you muthulakshmi

    1. Thanks sameera. Nice to see your comments and tried my recipe.

  2. Using of Grated coconut, onion, garlic, cumin paste ...rea rea it's so different .. Thanks for sharing your experience mam...def definitely I will prepare.🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏


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