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instant pot sambar recipe kerala

Instant Pot Sambar South Indian Kerala Style

Easy South Indian Kerala style sambar (vegetable stew/soup like dish) is easy to make, delicious and perfect healthy vegetarian/vegan side dish with rice, dosa, idli etc.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Keyword instant pot indian recipes, instant pot kerala recipes, instant pot kerala sambar, instant pot sambar, sambar recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
pressure build up and release time 25 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 185kcal


  • 1 cup toor dal (yellow split pigeon peas)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 medium or large eggplant gives about 2 cups chopped, I used the seedless variety which looks long
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves (cilantro leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste optional
  • 4 cups water

spices needed

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon sambar powder optional
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek powder
  • asafoetida a pinch, optional

For seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 string curry leaves (make sure no water in leaves)
  • 5 dry red chilies broken
  • 3 shallots or small onions peeled and chopped

For garnishing

  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves chopped


  • Wash the veggies, chop in small to medium sized pieces and keep aside.
  • Also wash and chop the coriander leaves, keep aside with the veggies.

To prepare the seasoning

  • Add the oil to the inner pot, press the saute mode, adjust to low.
  • As the oil gets hot, add the mustard seeds and splutter the seeds.
  • Once the mustard seeds are spluttered, add the chopped shallots and lightly fry.
  • Add the broken dry red chilies and curry leaves, fry for a few seconds. Now the seasoning is ready, to avoid it getting burnt, press the 'keep warm/cancel' button and immediately proceed with the following instructions.

To prepare the sambar

  • Add the chopped veggies and coriander leaves to the pot.
  • Also wash the dal (yellow split pigeon peas) and add it to the pot.
  • Add the salt and all spices to the pot, mix well.
  • Add the water and tamarind (if using the tamarind) to the pot, mix everything well.
  • Close the instant pot with lid in sealing position and press manual, cook in high pressure for 7 minutes. The pot will take a few minutes until it starts cooking, and you will have to just wait until the cooking is all done.
  • Once the cooking is done the pot will beep, now you need to press the 'keep warm/cancel' button. Wait for the pot to naturally release all pressure or do a careful manual release after 15 minutes of natural pressure release.
  • Once the pressure is all released, carefully open the lid by turning the lid to venting position.
  • Gently mix the contents and you may gently mash the contents if you wish.
  • Add the coriander leaves for garnishing, serve the delicious sambar hot with rice, dosa or idli!


You can also prepare sambar using just sambar powder if you do not have other spices.
In that case, just follow the directions in the package of sambar powder to add enough sambar powder accordingly.
If you prefer less gravy for sambar, once the sambar is prepared, you can press the saute function, adjust to normal or high and simmer for a couple more minutes until the desired thickness is reached.
As I already mentioned, you may also prepare the seasoning separately in a different pan and add it to the prepared sambar instead of preparing it in the beginning.  This is ideal if you wish to keep the red chilies crispy.
You may also skip the seasoning altogether if you do not wish to add it. If you use more starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams etc or if you add more dal, you may need slightly more water as the starchy vegetables and dal will absorb more water.
Veggies like cucumber, tomatoes, spinach etc has a lot of water content in them, so you will probably need less water compared to starchy vegetables.
You can always add your favorite veggies and make the sambar by adusting the ingredients and water content accordingly.


Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 666mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1124IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 4mg