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Negamam Sambar Recipe

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5 from 3 reviews

A very different sambar recipe from the Negamam region of Kongunadu, Tamilnadu. Sambar made with vegetables and a home made coconut masala. Recipe with step by step pictures and video.

  • Total Time: 40m
  • Yield: 6 1x



For cooking the dal

1/3 cup toor dal
1.5 cups water

Making tamarind extract

1 small lime size tamarind
1 cup hot water

Masala for Negamam Sambar

1 tablespoon rice
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/3 cup fresh shredded coconut
1/2 cup water

Other Ingredients for Negamam Sambar

1 drumstick, chopped
1 potato, diced
3 brinjals. chopped
10 Indian Shallots, ( sambar onions )
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 sprigs coriander leaves, finely chopped
1.5 cups water (divided)

Tempering for Negamam Sambar

1 tablespoon Indian sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon sambar powder


Take a pressure cooker and add in the washed lentils. Cook for 5 whistles, approximately about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and wait for the pressure to settle. Open the cooker and mash the lentils with a back of a cup / tumbler to a fine puree. Set aside.

Take a lime size tamarind and soak it in hot water for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind and extract the pulp. Discard the seeds and the pith. Set aside.

Take a kadai / pan and add in the tamarind extract. Add in a cup of water. Add in the veggies. Add in the salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Mix well to combine. Cover the pan and let it cook for 15 minutes on medium flame. After 15 minutes, just try breaking a small piece of potato. The potatoes should be soft and fork tender.

While the veggies are cooking, we will make a masala paste for Negamam sambar. Take a pan and add in the rice and coriander seeds. Regarding rice, parboiled rice / raw rice all works. Use whatever you have on hand. Dry roast on a low flame till the rice is roasted and light brown in colour. Add in the curry leaves and briefly sauté for a few seconds. Remove the roasted rice mixture from heat and add it to a bowl. Add in fresh shredded coconut and half a cup of water. Grind to a fine paste.

Add in the ground paste to the pan. Wash the mixie/bowl with half a cup of water and add it back to the pan. Let it cook for five minutes. The mixture will thicken considerably. Add in the mashed dal to the pan. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

Take a small kadai and add in Indian sesame oil. To the hot oil, add in the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Switch off the flame. To the hot oil, add in the asafoetida and the sambar powder. Mix well for a few seconds. Add it to the sambar and let the sambar simmer for a minute more. Finally finish with a generous sprinkle of coriander leaves. Negamam sambar is ready.


This is an excellent sambar that can be served with rice. This can also be served with idli and dosai. In case of making it for tiffin to serve with idli and dosai, sprinkle a teaspoon of jaggery at the end as tiffin sambar tastes so good with the addition of a little sugar. Hope you will try this sambar at home.

  • Author: Suguna Vinodh
  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 30m
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