Instant Pot Sambar


Hello Food lovers,

I am a DAAL person! What does that mean? I love my Indian simple lentil soup that I grew up on. I am a big fan of daal and rice but this recipe takes it up a notch to Sambar, it a very famous dish in the south of India. Although Sambar is loved in all parts of India with Dosa (lentil crepe) and Idli (rice ball) and also plain rice. I love it love to eat it also like a spicy, tangy, sweet and savory vegetable soup too. It has a variety of vegetables and spices that makes it uniquely south Indian. Normally Sambar does take a lot of time to prepare but with the help of an Instant pot or pressure cooker, it is quite easy and so delicious!

Here’s a tried and true recipe that I completely stand by for a quick , easy and outstanding Sambar.

Instant Pot Sambar

Serves: 8 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 1 and 3/4 cups of washed Toor daal (also known as Pigeon pea lentils, Toovar dal, Tuvar Dal, Arhar Dal, Yellow Dal in various regions, easily available at your local Indian grocers).
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 tbsp. of oil
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger grated or minced
  • 6 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp each of cumin and mustard seeds
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons of red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, green squash, green beans (DEEP brand has a Sambar Vegetable mix pack in the frozen section is what I use at times)
  • 1 block of fresh tamarind (or Tamarind sauce about 2 tbsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. of jaggery powder (pure cane sugar)
  • 2 heaping tbsp. of sambar masala powder (I use the brand Badshah)
  • 1 tbsp. of ghee (optional)
  • 4 cups of water
  • handful of cilantro (1/3 cup chopped )


Settings on the Instant pot.

  1. Turn the instant pot on “sauté” mode once hot add in oil, garlic, ginger and chopped onion. Let it sauté for about 4 mins.
  2. Add cumin and mustard seeds along with curry leaves
  3. Also add in turmeric and red chili powder
  4. Add in the tomatoes chopped and give it a good stir
  5. Add in the tamarind cube
  6. Add in all the frozen or fresh vegetables to the pot and stir well
  7. Add in 2.5 cups(2 and half cups) of water and add salt to taste
  8. Add in the jaggery powder (cane sugar) and
  9. Next add in the 2 tbsp. of Badshah sambar masala powder (You can use any other brand of sambar masala)
  10. Stir well and cover the Instant pot to lock it in.
  11. Turn off the sauté setting and start the Bean/chili setting for 35 mins on HIGH
  12. Once the steam is out you can open the lid or if you don’t want to wait until all the steam is released naturally, press on the “quick release” mode OR please look at the directions on your particular one and follow accordingly.)
  13. Please be very careful to follow the protocol for steam release on your Instant Pot.
  14. I added 1.5 cups of water and let it simmer on “sauté mode” until the sambar was to my favorite consistency which is thin and completely soften. I do not like my sambar too thick.
  15. Garnish it with some cilantro and serve it hot with rice, idli, Dosa or just like a soup
  16. Enjoy the true taste of SAMBAR

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