How To Make Sambar In Instant Pot

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Vegetable Variations In Sambar

Instant Pot Mini Sambar Recipe

Sambar is made with mixed vegetables depending on the season. I chose zucchini and carrots for their light, summer flavor, but use 2 cups chopped vegetables of whatever you have on hand.

A few of my favorite variations are:

  • Pumpkin and Green Beans: Cut the pumpkin into 1-inch cubes and trim the green beans, then cut in half
  • Eggplant and Okra: I recommend cubing and salting the eggplant 5 minutes beforehand to rid of its bitterness. Rinse and drain before adding to the Instant Pot, along with okra cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Potatoes and Drumsticks: Dice a medium Yukon gold potato into 1-inch pieces and use 1 bag frozen drumsticks. Drumsticks, or moringa, is an Indian vegetable commonly used in sambar. Unlike most vegetables, when eating drumsticks, you only eat the inside pulp and discard the outer coating. The interior flesh and edible seeds taste like green beans, only sweeter. Look for it in the frozen food section of specialty Indian grocery stores.

How To Make Instant Sambar Recipe

1.First of all heat oil in a pressure cooker. Once the oil is hot fry 3 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1/8 teaspoon methi seeds, 1 tablespoon channa dal and finally add 4-6 dried red chilies.

2. Fry till golden brown. Now add 1/4 cup toor dal and saute for 2 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Reserve the oil in the same cooker.

3. Once cooled down, grind the fried ingredients into a thick paste. Add just enough water to make a paste.

4. Now heat the reserved oil again in the same cooker. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add shallots, chopped tomatoes and chopped bell peppers. Saute for 2 minutes.

5. Add turmeric powder and saute well. Next add the tamarind extract and mix well.

6. Add the ground masala and mix thoroughly. Finally add 2 cups water and required salt. Mix well and close the cooker. pressure cook for 10 minutes or up to 4 whistles.

7. Once the pressure is released check the consistency of sambar. If it is too thick for your liking add 1/4-1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Finally add cilantro leaves and serve sambar with rice.

Looking For More Great Recipes To Make With These Ingredients

I know I’m asking you to get a few specialty ingredients for this Instant Pot Sambar such as toor dal, sambhar powder, curry leaves, etc. So here are some recipes you can make with some of your leftover ingredients!

See? I never ask you to buy something for one recipe only!

So whether you’re looking for an opening course for an Indian meal or you’re just looking for a delicious and filling soup, you’re sure to love this Sambar recipe! Make sure to share this recipe with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook so that they can enjoy it as well!

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What Is Sambar Powder

This spicy, aromatic south Indian powder is nothing but a mix of spices which are roasted and ground to a fine powder. It is used to make sambar which is traditionally eaten with dosas, idlis, rice etc. But if you do not have it or cannot find it, substitute with your favorite garam masala powder or curry powder to make this easy-peasy one-pot Indian rice dish!

Most of the spices are normally available in any Indian pantry and now with the whole world embracing Indian dishes, I am sure in most pantries around the world! Many of us sometimes reach out to store bought sambar powder but I generally have a large stock of homemade ones in my freezer!

Sambar powder is used to spice up sambar, sambar rice, rasams , vegetable curries etc.

With just rice, lentils and a few vegetables, making this is super quick, fast, healthy and filling!

So, what are you waiting for? This is one of my favorite dishes to make when I am lazy but still need a nutritious and sumptuous meal. With curds/yogurt, raita, some salad and crispies like poppadum, potato chips, boondi etc. a healthy meal cannot be easier or quicker than this!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

SAMBAR SADAM/RICE is a simple rice, lentil and vegetable risotto like Indian main dish flavored with sambar powder, a commonly used south Indian spice powder.


  • Wash rice thoroughly until the water runs clear and drain.
  • Peel and chop carrots and potatoes.
  • Dice green beans into ½ inch pieces
  • Tips For Best Tiffin Sambar

    Instant Pot Sambar

    A good quality sambar masala is a key for making this delicious sambar. You can use homemade sambar masala or a good quality store bought masala. I use MTR brand sambar masala. It tastes good and is easily available in most Asian / Indian grocery stores.

    Combination of vegetables add a nice flavor to the sambar. The taste of the sambar will depend on the vegetables used in the sambar. We love the combination of lauki, onion, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and pumpkin. However, you can add veggies of your choice.

    I prefer tempering the sambar at the end, gives nice aroma to the sambar. You can also do the tempering in the Instant pot, before adding the lentils, thus making it a one-pot meal. If doing the tempering first in the IP, skip the curry leaves in the tempering, you can add these later at the end while simmering the sambar.

    Fresh curry leaves add a nice flavor to the sambar. You can also use dry curry leaves instead, will work fine. Cant find curry leaves where you live, feel free to skip the curry leaves, the sambar will still taste good.

    We like medium consistency sambar. Adjust the consistency of the sambar by adding less or more water to suit your taste. If adding more water, adjust the seasoning as well.

    You can adjust the sour or tanginess in the sambar by adding little jaggery or brown sugar to balance the flavors.

    Sambar thickens over the period of time, feel free to add water to adjust the consistency as per your liking.

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    Instant Pot Sambar Sadam Instant Pot Indian Recipes

    Instant Pot is the 3rd generation Programmable Pressure Cooker. It speeds up cooking by 2~10 times using up to 70% less energy and produce nutritious healthy food. INSTANT POT is not something new to market now but is very new to my blog. The above definition is available in internet and I just had to copy paste it for explaining. If you ask me in simple words INSTANT POT is an electric pressure cooker that saves your cooking time.

    Well many have told me that they are absolutely crazy about this instant pot and just saves a whole lot of time, but I kept refusing to buy initially and since its been a real craze now and due to compulsion from my hubby I bought it. After 3 months since the time I refused to open it and use it. But my husband was really persistent that the blog should definitely hold INSTANT POT recipes not only due to few readers request but also for the future as this will surely rule the cooking world completely in near future.

  • 2. Toor dal ¼ cup
  • 3. Carrot 1
  • 4. Green beans 8 to 10
  • 5. Potato 1
  • 9. Tamarind small gooseberry size
  • 10. Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
  • 11. Red chilli powder ½ tsp
  • 12. Sambar powder 1 tbsp
  • 13. Coriander powder ½ tsp
  • 14. Salt to taste
  • 15. Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
  • 16. Oil – 1 tsp
  • 17. Water – 4 to 5 cups
  • 1. Mustard seeds ½ tsp
  • 2.Curry leaves a spring
  • 3. Dried red chilli 2
  • 4. Oil 1 tsp
  • * 1 cup = 235 ml
  • Wash rice and toor dal in water. Soak rice and toor dal together in water for 15 minutes.
  • Here’s How To Make It

    This ground masala is the soul of this dish.

    I am sharing two ways to make Arachuvitta sambhar. One is on the stovetop which is the traditional way and the other is the modern way which is in the Instant Pot.

    But irrespective of whether you’re making it on the Instant Pot or Stovetop, there are 2 steps that need to be done as part of the prep.

    First, you will need tamarind juice.

    • If you’re using ready tamarind pulp/paste, then no prep is required. The quantity will depend upon the thickness and sourness of the tamarind paste. But if using fresh tamarind, soak a lemon-sized ball in warm water for 15 minutes.
    • Extract the juice by pressing the tamarind between your fingers and strain the liquid in a sieve.
    • Preserve the liquid and discard the tamarind.

    And second, you will need to make the freshly ground masala which I have explained in steps 2, 3, and 4

  • Soak toor dal in a bowl for 15 minutes. This step is only needed if you are cooking Sambhar in the Instant Pot.
  • To prepare the arachuvitta masala, heat oil in a pan or the pot and once it’s hot, roast urad dal, chana dal, coriander seeds, coconut, and dried red chilies on a medium flame.
  • Be careful to not burn the ingredients. Once the coconut and chana dal turns light golden and release an aroma, take it off the flame.
  • Allow it to cool down and then transfer it to a Mixer Grinder.
  • Add 3-4 tablespoons of water and blitz to make a smooth paste. Keep this paste aside for now.
  • Never going back to the stovetop version now!

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    Difference Between Regular Sambar & Tiffin Sambar

    Well, the way I make my regular sambar is a lot different. I do not add onion or tomato to my regular Sambar. Also, I always have huge packets of homemade Sambar Powder sent by my mom, in stock. I use a few teaspoons of it in Sambar. I add toor dal, vegetables & tamarind extract along with sambar powder. For Tiffin Sambar, I avoid adding any extra vegetables. Just pumpkin, small onion & tomato. I prepare fresh Sambar Powder for Tiffin Sambar. Also, I make it a little thinner than the usual sambar. Sambar in general thickens as it cools. This is because of the addition of dal. Hence if you make it thicker than the regular sambar, when you pour it on top of idlis, sambar gets absorbed very fast. So, I prefer a thinner version for Tiffin.

    Sometimes I make Tiffin Sambar with Moong Dal. But Regular Sambar is always done with Toor Dal.

    Hotel Style Tiffin Sambar

    SAMBAR RICE in INSATANT POT | Dal Rice in Instant Pot | Instant Pot Indian Recipes Vegetarian

    While this is an one-pot Sambar when made in the Instant Pot, we may have to make some changes if using the regular pressure cooker.

    Tamarind mixture

    Combine the tamarind paste and water well using a whisk.Set aside.

    Pressure cooking Dal for Sambar

    To begin with, wash and soak the dal for 20 mins. When the dal has soaked, drain all the water used for soaking. Add 2.5 c water to the soaked dal along with ½ teaspoon turmeric and ¼ teaspoon oil to a deep steel pot. I prefer cooking pot-in-pot. This way, we can use the same pressure cooker to make the sambar later.

    Use the stainless steel pot-pot stackable insert pans for pot in pot cooking. These are convenient.

    The most commonly asked question about sambar has got to be How many whistles for Sambar in pressure cooker? This totally depends on the dal you use. The cooking time differs for different brands and varieties of dal. But for Toor dal, 5 whistles work for me. And for Moong, 3 whistles work.

    For this sambar, pressure cook the soaked dals for 3 whistles or until mushy. As we have soaked the dal before, 3 whistles should be enough to cook dal till mushy. Once done, wait for the pressure to release naturally. After the pressure drops, mash the dal well using a masher and set aside.

    Making tiffin sambar in pressure cooker

    Now, heat the same pressure cooker with oil. When oil is hot, add the mustard and fennel seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the shallots and saute for 1 min till they turn pink.

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    How To Reduce Spiciness In South Indian Sambar

    It happens to all of us, isnt it? Sometimes, we go a bit overboard with the spices. To fix spicy sambar, add 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or 1 boiled potato or 1 boiled carrot or ½ c boiled pumpkin. If none of this work, add 1 tablespoon tamarind paste mixed with ½ c water and simmer on medium heat for 2 mins.

    Vegetable Sambar In Instant Pot

    • Half of a Onion Cubed
    • Serrano Pepper 1 quartered
    • Bottle Gourd 1 small diced
    • Tomato 1 big diced
    • Pigeon Peas/Toor Dal – 1 cup
    • Tamarind 1 small lime sized or concentrate 1tbsp
    • Cilantro ½ Cup
    • Red chili powder 1 tbsp or to taste
    • Coriander powder 1 tbsp
    • Ghee 3 tbsp
    • Garlic 7 to 8 crushed and chopped
    • Mustard seeds 1 tbsp
    • Curry leaves 1 sprig or 10 to 15 leaves

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    How To Make Tiffin Sambar

    Traditionally, Tiffin sambar is made by cooking lentils and vegetables separately. First the lentils are cooked until they are mushy. Followed by, vegetables, sambar masala, some tamarind pulp and is simmered until veggies are cooked. Finally, tempered with some mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, dry whole red chili and curry leaves. Garnish with some handful of fresh cilantro.

    I like to make this tiffin sambar as a one pot dish. I cook the lentils and vegetables together until lentils are cooked and veggies are soft. You can add the tempering in the pot, just before adding the lentils and veggies or do it later, once the lentils and veggies are cooked. Both work just fine. I prefer to temper the sambar later, use whichever method works best for you.

    I love to make this tiffin sambar in Instant Pot, its hands down the easiest method of making restaurant style sambar. Perfect every single time! Here I am sharing both Instant Pot and Stove top pressure cooker recipe. Enjoy!


    Rinse the tuvar dal few times, until water runs clear.

    Add the rinsed dal into the inner pot of Instant Pot, add all the veggies.

    Add sambar masala, turmeric powder, salt to taste. Add water, mix well.

    Close the Instant pot, vent on sealing position. Select Manual / Pressure cook mode for 15 minutes.

    Pic Shown: Instant pot cooked lentils and veggies.

    Let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, and then release the remaining pressure manually.

    Cooking Vegetables For Sambar

    Instant Pot Sambar

    4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large pot. Saute onions for a minute and then add all veggies. Saute for 2 mins and then stir in add ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chilli powder . Pour 5 cups water & give a good stir. Sautéing veggies is an optional step but recommended. Some kinds of onions, tomatoes and chilli powder dont smell good when boiled directly so it is good to saute. If you are using shallots then you can completely skip the saute step.

    5. When the water in the pot turns hot, take some hot water with a ladle and pour it to a small bowl. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons tamarind & 1 tablespoon jaggery . Set aside to soak.

    6. When the veggies are cooked al dente, add

    • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
    • Sambar powder from step 2.
    • ¾ tablespoon salt Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. We usually cook until the veggies are soft cooked and the drumstick seeds turn tender.

    7. Squeeze up the tamarind and pour the tamarind water to the sambar. I prefer to filter the tamarind to remove the pulp. Do not add all of the tamarind at one. You can retain little in the bowl and add later if needed.

    8. Add mashed dal and mix it well. Now taste it & add more salt and tamarind water if needed. If you feel it is too thick you may add more hot water. I do not add any more.

    9. Bring it to a boil. Add chopped coriander leaves.

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    Why Should You Make Sambar In The Instant Pot

    Instant pot gives two options to cook sambar and without needing you to watch it while it cooks the delicious sambar. In the first method, you can add cooked dal and cook the way I did. The second method is PIP, where you cook raw toor dal in the instant pot with spices and cook vegetables in a steamer rack. Both methods are convenient, quick and yield the best-tasting sambar.

    Instant Pot Sambar Is A Lentil

    So I finally bought an Instant Pot! In case you are not familiar with it, it is an electric pressure cooker that provides a lot of functionality. Think rice cooker + slow cooker + pressure cooker + steamer + sauté pan combined into one. I love it so much that I have donated my all other appliances, so definitely check instant pot if you are considering to downsize to one just appliance. One of the first things I made in my instant pot is sambar, a lentil-based vegetable stew from South India. This simple instant pot sambar recipe comes from my friend Lavanya who spoils me with her delicious homemade dosa , pickles, and sambar.

    If you know South Indian food, you probably already know how delicious and nutritious sambar is. It is a staple dish that is enjoyed with dosa, idli, or plain white rice. I didn’t grow up eating sambar but I have always liked it’s spicy, tangy taste at restaurants. When Lavanya told me she makes it weekly at home, I just had to know how to get that ‘sambar’ taste that is different than your regular lentil-vegetable soup.

    Making sambar is a two step process, it requires few key ingredients and just one pot. Lentil is first cooked then mixed with vegetables later. The spice mix – sambar powder and tamarind are two essential ingredients that cannot be skipped while making sambar. I purchase both ingredients at the Indian grocery store and would be happy to share the brand/type if you are interested.

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