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easy sambar recipe

Easy Sambar Recipe For Rice, Dosa & Idli, How To Make Easy Kerala Sambar In Pressure Cooker

Easy South Indian Kerala style sambar made using mixed vegetables, spices and dal (split yellow pigeon peas) makes a quick, easy, delicious, healthy side dish or curry with rice, idli or dosa for lunch, breakfast, snack or dinner.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 262kcal


  • 1 cup toor dal or yellow split pigeon peas
  • 3 cups chopped vegetables I usually use potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onions, 2 okra and sometimes some more veggies
  • filtered tamarind extract diluted made from half of a lemon sized tamarind paste dissolved in ½ cup of water
  • 4 cups water (may need little more)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt adjust as needed
  • 2 tablespoons instant sambar powder or use according to the directions in the package

if you don't have sambar powder you can use the below spices (I usually add individual spices along with 2 teaspoons of sambar powder)

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds powder
  • asafoetida a pinch

For seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 5 red chilies
  • 1 string curry leaves

For garnishing (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves (cilantro leaves) chopped


  • Heat oil in the pressure cooker, add the mustard seeds.
  • When the mustard seeds starts to splutter, add the red chilies and curry leaves fry for a few seconds.
  • (make sure you splutter the mustard seeds before adding other ingredients or else it will be bitter in taste, if you have confusion feel free to avoid mustard seeds)
  • Now the seasoning is ready, you may skip this step if you are not using the seasoning.
  • Add the chopped veggies to the seasoning, saute for few seconds.
  • Add the washed lentils (yellow pigeon peas) to the veggies in the cooker, saute for few more seconds.
  • Now add the salt and spices - either instant sambar powder or all the individual spices and mix well.
  • Add the filtered tamarind extract (tamarind paste dissolved in water and filtered) to the cooker and mix everything well.
  • Close the pressure cooker with the lid, make sure you use the safety valve and follow all directions in the manual as this is very important for safety while using pressure cookers.
  • Cook in medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes on until 3 whistles come.
  • Wait for the pressure cooker to cool down before you open the cooker.
  • When the pressure cooker is cool enough, open the cooker and see of all the ingredients are cooked enough. This is when you can check if salt is enough and if if the gravy is enough. In case you need more gravy you can add more water and just heat it up with the lid open for 1 more minute. If you feel the gravy is more, you can heat up for few more minutes without the lid, as the sambar cools down it will thicken naturally.
  • If you are using chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves), you can add it now, gently mix and it is done. One pot sambar made in pressure cooker is ready to be used!


Serve the healthy and delicious sambar with rice for lunch  or serve it as a dip for dosa or idli for South Indian breakfast, snack or dinner!


Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 160mg | Potassium: 759mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5070IU | Vitamin C: 75.4mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 5.6mg