Piping Hot Mixed Vegetable Sambar made in Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker). Sambar is primarily a South Indian delicacy, but because of it’s benefits and taste popular all over India. This recipe is to make the popular South Indian Lentils “Sambar” in an instant pot. It is very easy to make sambar and even easier in an instant pot.
I am a North Indian, but eating sambar with idli and dosa has always been my favorite breakfast. I can eat it anytime, for lunch or dinner too. It can also be eaten as a soup. Now I make this frequently for my family. I make sambar mostly with split pigeon pea (toor or arhar dal), but it can be made with red lentils (masoor dal) as well. Also, the vegetables you add to the sambar can be varied, I usually add carrots, baby eggplants and pumpkin. You can serve sambar with a variety of things – idli, dosa, medu vada, rice or just as a soup.
Important Ingredients of Sambar
One of the main ingredients of Sambar is sambar powder which gives it the distinctive taste. I use the MTR brand sambar powder. You can find it easily on Amazon or in your nearby Indian grocery store. If you don’t have sambar powder, grind these spices to a fine powder – 2 whole red chilies, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp whole black peppers, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
Another important ingredient of sambar is tamarind paste. You can use a store brought paste or you can make it at home. To make tamarind paste, soak about 2 tbsp of seedless tamarind in 1/4 cup water and microwave for 30 seconds. It will become soft enough to use.
How to make Sambar in Instant Pot?
I am preparing Sambar in Instant Pot, however the same recipe can be followed in a stovetop pressure cooker.
Start with heating the instant pot in Sauté mode and heat oil in it. Add mustard, asafoetida, ginger and curry leaves to it. In about 30 seconds, add the onion and sauté for couple of minutes. Then add tomatoes, sambar powder and salt. Now add the veggies, toor dal and water. That is it! Close the instant pot and cook the sambar for 8 minutes under high pressure.
When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally. You will notice that all the veggies are cooked well and almost mixed with the lentils. Add in the tamarind paste to get the tangy flavor. You will definitely taste the difference. Garnish with cilantro and sambar is ready to be served.
Instant Pot Vegetable Sambar / South Indian Lentils Recipe (Pressure Cooker)
- 1 cup Pumpkin about 120 gms, cut in medium sized pieces
- 1 Carrot cut into small pieces
- 3 Baby Eggplant cut into 4 pieces each
- Start the instant pot in sauté mode and heat oil in it. Add all the tempering ingredients.
- When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the chopped onions and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, sambar powder and salt. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Add all the vegetables, toor dal and water to the instant pot. Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode for 8 minutes at high pressure with vent in sealing position.
- When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally. Stir in the tamarind paste. Stir the sambar so it is mixed well.
- Garnish with cilantro and sambar is ready to be served.
- If you don't have tamarind paste, you can soak seedless tamarind in 1/4 cup water and microwave for 30 seconds. It will become soft enough to use.
- If you don't have sambar powder, grind all these spices - 2 whole red chilies, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp whole black peppers, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.