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Kerala style sambar in instant pot without tamarind
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Sambar in instant pot without Tamarind

A traditional spicy curry made with a mix of lentils , vegetables and spices.
Course Curry, Main Course
Cuisine Kerala style, South Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 134kcal


  • 1 Instant pot / Pressure cooker
  • 1 Pan


To pressure cook :

  • 2 tbsp Toor dal
  • 1 tbsp Channa dal
  • 1 pinch Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 Green chili

Spice powders

  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika powder Use chili powder as per tolerance
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 heaped tsp Sambar powder
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek powder

Vegetables used

  • 5 pieces Pumpkin cut into cubes
  • 5-6 pieces Drumstick 2 inch long pieces
  • 1/2 of 1 Eggplant cut into large cubes
  • Ash gourd cut into cubes
  • Cluster beans each cut into 3
  • 1 Tomato

Other ingredients :

  • 2-3 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 2 Whole red chili
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 4 Small onion cut into 4
  • 2 sprigs Curry leaves
  • few sprigs Coriander leaves chopped roughly
  • 3/4 tsp Tomato paste


  • Pressure cook both the dals together adding turmeric, 1/2 green chili and the pumpkin pieces adding 1/2 cup water in Instant pot for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes of Natural pressure release open, stir and mash everything except the green chili.
  • Heat sesame oil in a pan add mustard seeds when it splutters add cumin seeds fenugreek seeds then add the small onion cut into 4 give it a few minutes to give a nice aroma then add the eggplant toss for a few minutes then add paprika, turmeric, coriander and salt. saute on low heat for a few minutes then add in other vegetables like cluster beans, drumstick, ash gourd tomato.
  • Saute the veggies for a few minutes add into the cooked dal. Add 1 cup water to the pan itself allow it to boil then add along with veggies add tomato paste a hint of asafetida, coriander leaves stir well . Pressure cook for 5 minutes. (Or less as per your preference of veggie softness) this is pretty soft.
  • Natural pressure release for 5 minutes then open and stir gently. Add the rest of coriander leaves, curry leaves and fenugreek powder and a hint of asafetida powder on top. Close and keep aside for few minutes. Allow the flavors to mingle. Stir once gently before serving
  • Serve warm sambar along with rice , idly or dosa.
    CONSISTENCY : Slightly thick yet easily portable consistency.



Make sure to use the right size instant pot to avoid spewing liquid when the pressure is formed. It is best to fill only to 1/2 or max to 2/3 rd only.
Make sure spices are not burnt while sautéing because the flavors of the curry heavily depends on the spice taste.
Do not cook the veggies for long as it will turn mushy.
Remove the sambar once cooked and keep in another stainless steel or glass container as the acid in the curry starts reacting with the container. 


Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 572mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 724IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg