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My Favourite Tiffin Sambar in Instant Pot & Stovetop

South Indian Sambar made with Lentils, Vegetables, Tamarind & Spices. Authentic, Delicious Restaurant Style Tiffin Sambar Recipe in Instant Pot & Stovetop. Perfect Accompaniment for Idli & Dosa.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Easy Sambar Recipe, Hotel Sambar, Instant Pot sambar, Instant Pot Tiffin Sambar, One Pot Sambar Recipe, Pressure cooker sambar, Restaurant Style Sambar, Tiffin Sambar
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Gayathri Vijayakumar

Ingredients

For Sambar Powder

  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Chana Dal
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 5 Red Chillies Adjust according to spice level
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • Asafoetida a pinch

For Tempering

  • 1 tbsp Ghee/Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • Curry leaves a handful
  • 1 small Green chilli
  • 15 Small onion/shallots

For Sambar

  • 1/3 cup Toor Dal
  • 1 cup Yellow Pumpkin Chopped
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 cups Tamarind Extract Extract tamarind extract with small lime size tamarind immersed in 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Jaggery Optional
  • Coriander Leaves/ Cilantro To Garnish

Instructions

  • Wash & Soak Dal in Enough Water
  • Soak tamarind in hot water and take 2 cups of extract.

To make Sambar in Instant Pot

  • Meanwhile, in the inner pot of an IP, add a tsp of oil. Once it becomes hot, on saute mode, add coriander seeds, chana dal, red chillies.
  • Saute until colour changes slightly and a nice aroma comes. Cancel Saute mode. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds & fenugreek seeds.
  • Just saute for a minute in the heat of the pan. Keep it aside. Once the ingredients come to room temperature, powder them.
  • In the same pot, add ghee /oil. Once hot add mustard seeds, red chilli, curry leaves. Once mustard splutters, add green chilli followed by small onions. Saute for a minute. Add tomato. Saute again for a minute. Now, add turmeric powder, salt, freshly ground Sambar Powder.
  • Saute for 30 seconds and add in the soaked & drained dal, followed by sliced pumpkin. Add tamarind extract & water. Add some more salt if needed. Now, close the pot.
  • Cancel saute mode. Close the instant pot and cook the sambar for 10 minutes under high pressure on Pressure cook mode. Let pressure release naturally. Check for salt and some jaggery. Mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve.

To make Sambar in Stovetop

  • Pressure cook toor dal, pumpkin and tomato together. Immerse them in just enough water and cook for 4-5 whistles.
  • Mash and keep it aside. In a pan, saute the ingredients for sambar powder. Cool it down to room temperature and make a powder.
  • Now, in a pan, add ghee /oil. Once hot add mustard seeds, red chilli, curry leaves. Once mustard splutters, add green chilli followed by small onions.
  • Saute for a minute. Now, add turmeric powder, salt, freshly ground Sambar Powder.
  • Saute for 30 seconds and add in the tamarind extract and water. Add some more salt if needed. Let it cook until the tamarind smell goes away.
  • Finally, add the cooked dal, pumpkin& tomato mixture. Adjust consistency. Add a little bit of jaggery and check for salt. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve.

Notes

Use moong dal or a mix of toor dal & moong dal if desired.
Add more veggies if you prefer. You can use drumstick, chayote, radish, carrot, brinjal, ladies finger, raw mango etc.
I use regular tamarind, soak it in water & take the extract. You can use homemade or store-bought tamarind paste.
Adding jaggery is optional. But I like adding a bit of it to Sambar cos it gives a nice balance to the taste.
If you prefer a thicker Sambar, let it boil for more time.
Sambar thickens with time. Adjust consistency by adding warm water to it. 
If you prefer fresh tempering, do it separately on the stovetop and add it to the Sambar once done in Instant Pot.
For this recipe, I highly recommend freshly made Sambar Powder. If not able to make it, use any store-bought Sambar Powder.