Instant pot tiffin sambar

Tiffin sambar - IP recipe

You can never have too many sambar recipes. While I love using freshly roasted and ground masala for my sambars (arachuvitta sambar), there are days when I want to eat tasty sambars without much effort. We south Indians have different sambars to go with rice,  idlis/dosas and other tiffin items. And if you have tasted the sambars in the restaurants like Sangeeta, Saravana bhavan, Ratna cafe, Vasanta bhavan etc.. you know they are the best and each sambar would be different in their own way. Which restaurant serves your favorite sambar? do post them in the comments. I would love to know 🙂 I have searched the web for numerous tiffin sambar recipes and found few good ones. This recipe from sharmispassion is a favorite of mine because it is simple and easy and tastes very good with dosa/idlis/pongals/upmas. I wanted to try this in the instant pot and yes, it was very easy and delicious. I made few changes to the recipe and it worked out fine for us 🙂 I have a bad habit of not following any recipe to the T.  So here’s my version of hotel sambar ( Instant pot version)


  • 1/4 cup moong dal (soaked for 30 minutes or more
  • 1 cup chopped veggies ( carrots / brinjal / drumstick / pumpkin )
  • 1 big tomato chopped
  • 7 to 8 pearl onions peeled
  • handful of coriander leaves

For the masala paste:

  • Gooseberry size tamarind or 1 tbsp thick tamarind pulp
  • 1 tbsp or less jaggery (depending on the sourness of your tamarind)
  • 1 onion chopped ( or 5 to 6 pearl onions)
  • 1 big tomato
  • 1 heaped tbsp sambar powder
  • 2 tbsp fried gram dal (pottukadalai)
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • salt as needed

To temper:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 pinches asafoetida
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder


Soak the dal for at least 30 minutes. You can even soak them over night, if you know you will do doing it the next day. ( If you did not have time to soak,  soak it until you prep the veggies and get other stuff ready for the sambar. That works fine too)

Grind the items given under to grind to a smooth paste. (If you are using tamarind instead of tamarind paste, I find they grind easier when they are heated. So I saute them briefly to heat it up and then grind it)

In the saute mode, add oil and when the oil becomes hot, add the items given under to temper and let the mustard seeds splutter.

Now add the pearl onions (can substitute it with chopped red onions), and saute for a minute and then add the tomatoes and saute for another minute. Now add the chopped veggies. Switch off the saute mode.

Add the ground mixture, soaked dal , 2 1/2 cups water and close the lid. Cook on manual high for 10 minutes and natural pressure release. Mix everything well and adjust consistency if required by adding water and add the fresh coriander leaves.

Serve hot with idlis/dosas/pongal.

This entry was posted in INDIAN MAIN DISHES, Instant pot, Recipes, SOUTH INDIAN, vegan and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Instant pot tiffin sambar

  1. KC says:

    which brand of sambhar powder or can you provide recipe for powder? Secondly, for the fried Channa dal is it the raw dal or the dry Chana dal snack like the kind haldirams makes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I use homemade sambar powder. If you want to buy it you can try shakti sambar powder. Its pretty close to what we make at home. I’ll post the recipe for my homemade powder soon 😊 as for the fried chana dal it is also called pottukadalai in tamil. It’s usually used in mixtures and namkeens..😊


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