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Nellai Idi Sambar

Nellai Idi Sambar
As you all know, sambar holds great importance in South Indian Cuisine. South Indian thali is incomplete without sambar. It is also famous in South Indian wedding. It can be prepared in numerous ways. Today, I'd like to share a native-style sambar recipe.
Nellai Idi Sambar Recipe

Whenever my Amma asks me to cook, I always choose to make this delicious sambar. I have a deep fondness for this particular sambar. While my younger sibling prefers the traditional version, the majority sides with my preference. The aroma of this sambar is something I truly enjoy. Give this recipe a try during your next meal and feel free to share your feedback with me.

Idi Sambar

Recipe Cuisine: Tamil Nadu | Recipe Category: Kuzhambu
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cooking Time: 30 mins


Toor dal - 1 cup
Green Chilli - 6
Tomato - 1
Shallots / Small onion - 4
Garlic - 4 pods
Asafoetida - a generous pinch
Tamarind - small marble size
Coriander leaves - to garnish

Brinjal - 1
Big onion - 1
Drumstick - 1/2
Potato - 1
Beans - 2
Carrot - 1
Ladies finger - 2
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp

To Roast and Grind:(for sambar powder)

Urad dal - 1 tsp
Toor dal - 1 tsp
Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin / Jeerakam - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli - 3
Rice - 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp

To Grind:(without roasting)

Coconut - 2tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp

To Temper:

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Shallot / small onion - 1
Curry leaves  - a sprig
Oil - 1 tsp


Soak tamarind in water and extract its juice. Grind coconut and cumin into a coarse powder without adding water.

Dry roast ingredients listed under "to roast and grind" in low flame. Do not let it brown. Grind them into a fine powder without adding water.

Pressure cook everything under ingredients except tamarind (toor dal, chopped tomato, onion, slit green chilli, garlic, turmeric , asafoetida) and mash it well.

Meanwhile, chop vegetables in desired size but not very small. Wash and cook them in a separate vessel with little turmeric powder. (Add onions and ladies finger after 3mins)

Add the cooked vegetables to the cooked dal and mix well.

Add in salt, tamarind extract, ground coconut, little turmeric and enough water. Keep it in the stove and cook in medium flame.

When it starts to boil, add the ground sambar powder. Cook for another 1 min and remove from flame. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add in chopped onion and curry leaves. Pour the tempering over the sambar.

Serve hot with rice.

  • I have added the vegetables which we use at our home. You can add vegetables of your choice.
  • Roast sambar powder in low flame and do not turn it black. It will become bitter.
Ingredients for idi sambar
Keep all your ingredients ready. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract its juice
pressure cook dal
Pressure cook dal with green chilli, tomato, onion, garlic, asafoetida, turmeric and enough water
dry roast for masala
In the mean time, let's prepare the masala powder. In low to medium flame, dry roast all the ingredients listed to roast and grind. When red chilli and corinader changes its color, remove. Do not burn it. Cool and grind it to a powder.The sambar will taste bitter.
coconut, cumin
Grind coconut and cumin coarsely without adding water
cook vegetables
Chop the vegetable, wash and cook everything except ladies finger adding enough water
sambar powder
Ground masala
ladies finger added
After 5 mins of cooking, add in ladies finger.
onion added
Add in sliced onion. Always add sliced onion while cooking vegetables for any sambar. It enhances the taste
mash the dal
Mash the cooked dal
add cooked dal
When vegetables are cooked, add the mashed dal into the vegetables. Check potato or carrot to know whether it is cooked
tamarind extract added
Add in tamarind extract
coconut cumin added
Now, add the coconut, cumin paste and cook for 5 mins
salt added
Check for salt and add if required
add in sambar powder
After 5 mins, add the sambar powder which we prepared. Cook for 2 mins and put off the flame
garnish with coriander leaves
Garnish with coriander leaves. It gives a nice flavor
poured seasoning
Season with mustards, onion and curry leaves. Pour this over the sambar.
Nellai Idi Sambar Ready
Idi Sambar is ready!


  1. Looking for Idi sambar that my mom used to make when I was young. But dont know how to make and found it in your blog. Shall try your version. Thanaks :)

  2. Thank you. This is my mom's version. I hope you will like it :)