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November 7, 2013

Mango Drumstick Sambar Recipe - Tirunelveli / Nellai Sambar Recipe

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Tirunelveli Sambar recipe for rice

I love to taste and try varieties of sambar recipes be it idli sambar or lunch sambar and particularly this raw mango drusmtick sambar is my most favourite among all the sambar recipes. U know why, this is my mom’s Tirunelveli style sambar for rice :) We love to have it with idli, dosa as well. My mom calls this as "Idi sambar". Its a very tasty and flavorful sambar with freshly ground sambar powder. I can have a plateful of rice anytime with this Nellai sambar. We ( me and my sis) fondly call this as "Amma sambar". 

After marriage, when I started cooking, I couldn’t make this sambar often in my kitchen as Sendhil is very much fond of his mom’s Tanjore/Kumbakonam style sambar. So whenever I go to my mom’s house(Salem), she prepares this specially for me. This sambar needs very less dal than the usual quantity. We can add any vegetables like lady’s finger, drumstick, brinjal and raw mango. But our favorite combo is drumstick and raw mango. 

In my family, everybody loves my mom’s cooking very much. She makes authentic Nellai Saiva pillai (Tirunelveli) samayal very nicely.  My amma never used store bought sambar powder in her cooking so far.  Her recipes are mostly with freshly ground powder be it sambar, puli kulambu or rasam. So preparation /cooking time takes little more than my (mil’s) usual method of cooking. So I make my mil’s and mom’s lunch recipes in alternate days and enjoy eating varieties of kuzhambu.

My mom makes Carrot puttu or avial as side dish for this sambar recipe. To me, just a papad/ appalam is enough.
If you are looking to find Tirunelveli style Sambar powder, check THIS LINK

 Nellai Sambar for lunch

Basic Tirunelveli style Sambar Recipe For Rice

Sambar recipeBasic Nellai style sambar recipe for rice using freshly ground sambar powder. U can use any vegetables like brinjal , lady’s finger , drumstick or simply onion.
Cuisine: South Indian Category: Lunch recipes Serves: 2-3 
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 30 Minutes Total Time: 40 Minutes 

1 cup - 250ml
To pressure cook
  • Toor dal – 1/3 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Cooking oil – a drop
To roast and grind for sambar powder ( use 1 tsp of this powder, store the excess powder for future use. My mom use this powder for idli sambar too.)
  • Oil – 1/4 tsp
  • Methi seeds - `1/2 tsp
  • Chana dal – 1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chillies – 3 nos
To grind
  • Grated coconut – 1.5 tbsp
  • Small onions – 3 nos
  • Jeera/cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
To saute
  • Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
  • Big onion – 1 no (slice cut)
  • Curry leaves – few
  • Tamarind – A big gooseberry size
  • Drumstick – 1 no (cut into finger size pieces)
  • Small Raw mango – 1/2no ( 5-6 cubes)
  • Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Salt & water – as needed
To temper
  • Cooking oil – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves – 2tbsp (to garnish)
  • Pressure cook toor dal adding turmeric powder , salt and a drop of oil for 2 whistles. Mash the cooked dal and set aside.In a mixie jar , grind the coconut , small onions and jeera to a smooth paste adding the required water.
Nellai sambar recipe
  • In a pan , heat 1/4 tsp of oil and roast the ingredients given under “ To roast and grind”. Powder it nicely. U don’t have to use all the powder. Use only 1 tsp. Store the remaining for making idli sambar.
Nellai sambar recipe

  • Take the tamarind extract in a bowl. To this add red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder and drumstick. Check for taste.Set apart
  • In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and saute the sliced onions. To this add the tamarind extract mixture. Cover and cook till drumstick is done. After the drumstick is 3/4th cooked, add raw mango pieces. Again cover and cook for sometime. Mango takes less time to cook. So keep checking otherwise it will cook soft & dissolve in sambar.
Nellai sambar recipe
Nellai sambar recipe
  • After the vegetables get cooked, add the mashed dal. Allow it to roll boil. Lastly add the ground coconut , mix well. Let it boil for a minute. Now add a tsp of roasted and ground sambar powder. Allow it to boil till you get a nice aroma. Switch off the stove and garnish with coriander leaves. Give a standing time of minimum 30 minutes for all the flavors to induce well.
Nellai sambar recipe
Nellai sambar recipe
  • Temper with the ingredients given under “to temper”. Mix well.
Enjoy mixing with hot rice !!


  • Adding raw mango is optional. U can add only drumstick and make this sambar. But increase the tamarind to a small lemon size.
  • Garnishing with coriander leaves gives a superb flavor for this sambar. Please don’t skip..
  • Do not use all the powder to this sambar. Use only a tsp. U can make sambar 2-3 times using this powder. As mixie doesn’t grind very small quantity , amma use this measure. She use this powder for making idli sambar too. So store the remaining powder in a box and use whenever needed.
  • Less dal is needed for sambar as we add ground coconut and channa dal which helps for thickening.

Tirunelveli style sambar

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Unknown said...

Wow. I wish I could make it right now. But don't have coconut at home. Mom's always cook the best food.
Thanks for sharing.

Nava K said...

I too have made quite a variety of sambar, mainly for my other half. He just love it with rice. Now I have another version and was cracking my head on what to do with the balance dhal. But finding drumsticks these days is so difficult, just can't find anymore around my area.

Will try without it and maybe some other veg to replace for the same type of awesomeness.

Unknown said...

Sambar looks yummy. My alltime favourite sambar.

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Chitra said...

As u said finding drumstick is difficult,so u can try with other vegetables like lady's finger or brinjal. onions & freshly ground sambar powder will give the flavour :)

Asiya Omar said...

Love your Amma Sambar. Soon going to try. said...

need sum hot white rice n any fry...delicious luking sambar.

Unknown said...

Very nice.. looks awesome & mouth watering..

pepper bowl said...

wow..I love to have sambar with anything in this world..:)

Unknown said...

Love the aroma of freshly ground powder..such a flavorful and delicious looking sambar

Priya Anandakumar said...

Sambar looks delicious and inviting Chitra, love it...

Nithya said...

Delicious and comforting sambar..

Nisa Homey said...

hmmm I can get the flavor of your mom's sambar right here...I love sambar so much that for me it is just hot rice, sambar and papad for me....though your moms sambar looks a bit time consuming, I bet it is worth the effort....bookmarking this to try out!!

meena said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for those lovely comments.So glad u did because I could come here and see this awesome sambar.I think I am getting the sambar aroma here..seeing the close up.
Do keep in touch.

Chitra said...

Yes , it takes little more time to prepare but its worthy :) We have the same for idli , dosa too :)

Akila said...

Very tempting n perfectly made

cookingwithsapana said...

Very delicious and tempting sambhar. Bookmarked....

Shoba said...

Chitz never tasted with coconut.Cook and give it to me when I visit your place.Lovely clicks

Chitra said...

Sure da. will make it for u :)

Sangeetha Priya said...

delicious, love this tirunelveli style amma sambar :-)

R said...

looks so authentic and delicious will try it out for sure!

Manasi said...

I am going to try this today. I love trying new sambar recipes , with slight variations and your recipe reads so well. Thank u.

Veeralakshmi Sukumar said...

hi.iam also from nellai and i miss this aunthetic taste of sambar after my marriage.can i use tomato instead of raw mango?

Chitra said...

No need to use tomato.Add little more tamarind.Raw mango gives a nice flavour & taste to this sambar.Use drumstick :)

Unknown said...

Except adding small onions, jeera to grind ,is there any difference between arachuvitta sambar and this?

Chitra said...

Yes u r right.But the taste is different than arachuvitta sambar

Unknown said...

Thank you.... Recently following your blog... Tried few recipes.....all are success.. Step wise pictures helping me a lot..thanks for sharing...

Chitra said...

Thank u Priya.Keep trying :)

Wildflower said...

We add a little bit of raw rice to roast and grind ingredients and roast it along with the other ingredients and powder for the sambar powder. This gives a thicker consistency for the kozhambu. This is my mom's trademark sambar too (from tirunelveli) :-) Murungakka maanga sambar is the best! Perfect tirunelveli sambar color!

Chitra said...

Thank you. I will try next time :)