Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Idi Sambar | Nellai Idi Sambar | Sambar recipe

Idi Sambar / Nellai Idi Sambar, a unique sambar recipe from the city Tirunelveli of Tamilnadu. Idi Sambar(இடி சாம்பார் ) has got its name because all the spices are freshly pounded using mortar & pestle and added into the sambar. 

"Idi" in tamil means various things depends on the context, here it means "Pounding spices" and don't confuse this sambar with Idli sambar(இட்லி சாம்பார்) which is mostly used as tiffin sambar. 

In our home, we use to make this sambar at least once in a month and we all love it so much because of its intense flavor and taste. Since this sambar is mostly made with a lot of vegetables, many people don't even prefer any side veggies for this sambar.  Appalam, vathal and/or vadagam would be enough for this sambar. 

Related: How to make Idli/Tiffin Sambar 

As the spices are freshly pounded and add into the sambar, it stays good for hours even on hot days. Therefore, this sambar is usually made for a day trip to a temple in our family because many people don't prefer variety rice in our family, so this sambar with rice and some vadagam would be the travel food for our summer holiday temple visits.  

 In those days, the spices are pounded in ural & ulakkai(a traditional kitchen gadgets used for pound spices), but here in the recipe i have used mixie only for easiness and  make sure that the spices are coarsely grounded to get that authentic texture and flavor of the sambar.

For this week of BM, i have chosen the theme as "Regional Cuisine", so for the next three days, i'm gonna post the regional famous dishes from "Tamilnadu". A month before also, i had chosen the same theme and really loved to make and share the less popular regional dishes, so i had picked the same theme for this month also :-). Stay tuned for more regional famous dishes and now let's see how to make this authentic nellai idi sambar.

Idi Sambar | Nellai Idi Sambar

Preparation Time : 20 mins | Cooking Time : 30 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Curry | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
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Toor dal - 1/3 cup
Tomato -1
Asafoetida powder - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - a goose berry size
Mixed vegetables - 1 cup
Salt - to taste
To dry roast & grind
Red chili - 4 to 5
Coriander seed - 2 tsp
Chana dal - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Cumin seed - 1/2 tsp
Coconut - 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Garlic - 3 
Pearl onion - 3 or Onion - 1/4
Curry leaves - few
To Temper
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard & urad dal -1/2 tsp

First all the veggies into medium size pieces. Add toor dal and the veggies(which takes long time to cook like potato) into the pressure cooker along with enough water and asafoetida powder. Pressure cook them for 3 whistles or until the dal is mushy.
Take all the ingredients for dry roast, first add all the spices (expect coconut,garlic and onions) in a kadai with 1/4 tsp of oil and roast till it becomes aromatic and slightly changes its color, remove from the plate and keep it aside.
In the same kadai, add the coconut,garlic and onions, roast till the coconut becomes golden in color, remove from the flame and let them cool completely. Soak the tamarind in the water for 15-20 mins.
Once the spices are cooled, put it into the blender jar and grind them into coarse powder.
In a kadai, add the extracted tamarind juice from the soaked tamarind and then add the veggies like brinjal and drumstick . Let the veggies cook. In the mean time, open the pressure cooker & mash the dal and keep it ready.
Once the veggies are cooked, add the dal and turmeric powder. Give a good mix, then add the grounded spices and salt. Mix it well.
Add more or less of water as per your liking and bring into boil, then keep the flame in low and let it boil for 5 more minutes. Finally temper the ingredients listed under "To Temper" and add into sambar along with chopped coriander leaves. Switch off the flame.
Tasty and flavorful Nellai Idi Sambar is ready. Serve it with rice and your favorite veggies. We had it with rice, aviyal, vendakkai pachadi & mysore rasam.
  • Here i have used potato,broad beans,carrot, beans, drumstick and brinjal.
  • Instead of adding all the veggies,you can make this sambar with any one  or two  veggies also. 
  • As brinjal & drumstick are cooked really fast,I didn't pressure cook them.
  • If the tanginess is more in the curry, add a piece of jaggery to balance.


  1. Quite and elaborate process. The fresh ground masala must have added such a delicious aroma.

  2. I love sambars made from scratch! Tastes so much better than ones made with store bought powders... I was reading idli but no idli in the picture, so went back to read again, and it said, idi. hehe... I am pinning this up to surely try some day...

  3. What a wonderful meal you got there Sandiya. Love when I get to read about regional special dishes. Will surely want to make this sometime!

  4. Nice and flavorful sambar.I love drumstick sambar with freshly ground spices,its a wonderful combo.

  5. Lovely meal there. I have never added garlic to sambar. A novel idea for me.

  6. love the thick creamy texture of this sambar - would love to taste this regional variety

  7. Can smell the flavor of this sambar and that grounded powder sounds fabulous and i love to have two more idlies with this sambar. Delicious!

  8. Sandhya, I am bookmarking it and this month will post for sure, making masala from scratch and so detailed recipe of sambhar is awesome.

  9. Me and my kids can live on sambar for many days and if it is going to be so delicious and flavorful with the fresh masalas going in, then may be countless days :)

  10. I love south indian sambhar and always love trying different variations.This idli sambhar looks absolutely delicious.

  11. My mom used to make this when i was small. Forgot all about it. Thanks for the remainder. Going to try this.