October 24, 2017

Nellai Sambar / Tirunelveli Sambar

The cuisine of Saiva Pillais of Tirunelveli is very unique, special and tasty. I have learnt many of the Nellai Recipes from my colleagues in these 25 years and make them regularly. Many of the recipes like Uluthan kali, Uluthamparuppu sadham, Ellu thogayal, Kootan sadham, Thuvaram paruppu sadham, Pulli illa curry, Sodhi kuzhambu, Inji Pachadi are healthy, delicious and very special. One such recipe is the Sambar. They never use Sambar Powder to make Sambar and it tastes amazingly very aromatic and flavoursome.  Here is the recipe of the Authentic Sambar of Tirunelveli...
  • Pre time: 10 mins
  • Cooking time: 20 mins
  • Serves: 4

Ingredients for making Nellai Sambar / Tirunelveli Sambar:

  • Tamarind water taken from a small lemon size Tamarind 500 ml
  • Thur dhal 5 tb spoons
  • Shallots/ Baby Onions 8 to 10
  • Any vegetable like Lady's finger or Drumstick or  Radish chopped 1 small cup
  • Green chillies 4 slitted
  • Turmeric Powder 1/2 tea spoon
  • Asafoetida Powder 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chilli Powder 1 tea spoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil 3 tb spoons
  • Mustard seeds 1 tea spoon
  • Fenu greek seeds 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry Leaves few

For Grinding:

  • 2 tb spoons of grated coconut
  • Cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon
  • Shallots 4
  • Add little water, grind to paste and keep aside.

How to make Nellai Sambar / Tirunelveli Sambar?

  • In a pressure cooker, boil thurdal adding 2 cups of water, turmeric and asafoetida powder to soft and keep aside.
  • Heat a pan with 2 table spoons of oil.
  • Add fenugreek. 
  • Once it splutters, fry shallots, green chillies and the veggies for a while and pour in the tamarind water.
  • Add salt and a pinch of turmeric.
  • When the veggies are boiling, add in red chilli powder too.
  • Once the vegetables are well cooked, pour the dal mix and the coconut paste.
  • Mix well and allow to boil for 5 more minutes.
  • Switch off.
  • Heat a sauteing pan with 1 tb spoon of oil.
  • Do the seasoning with mustard, curry leaves and add to the sambar.
  • Garnish with curry leaves.
Note:Chopped tomatoes too could be added with the veggies. In that case reduce the size of Tamarind.