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Instant Pot Sambar / Instant Pot Tangy South Indian Lentil Soup

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, South Indian


  • 2 tbsp oil of choice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  • 5 fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
  • 8 curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • 2 whole dried red chili peppers

  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • 1 finely chopped small red onion (roughly 1.5 cups chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste (freshly minced or packaged)
  • 2 small diced tomatoes
  • 3 baby eggplants diced into 4 pieces each longitudinally
  • 4 frozen drumsticks about 4 to 5 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup frozen okra diced
  • 4 baby carrots chopped (I used baby carrots and chopped them in 2 pieces each)
  • 3 frozen green beans chopped into 2 halves
  • 4.5 tsp sambar powder

    (store bought)
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder

    (ground cayenne pepper)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 2 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1 tbsp dried coconut powder (for garnish) (desiccated)



  • Rinse the dal a few times and discard the water.
  • Wash and finely chop the onion and cilantro.
  • Wash, dice, and chop the tomatoes and vegetables.


  • Select sauté on the instant pot and adjust to normal. 
  • Add oil to the pot.
  • When the oil is hot add the cumin seeds, mustard, and fenugreek seeds.
  • When the seeds begin to splutter, add curry leaves, whole dried red chili peppers, and asafoetida.
  • In 30 seconds, add the chopped onions and sauté. Stir to prevent the onions from burning.
  • When the onions turn golden in roughly 2 to 4 minutes add the ginger garlic paste. Stir 
  • Add the diced tomatoes and sauté for a minute until they get mushy.
  • Add the chopped vegetables and stir.
  • Add the sambar powder, red chili powder, 1/2 cup water, and salt. Give it a good stir.
  • Then add the toor dal, and remaining 3.5 cups water and stir well. Make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot well.
  • Press cancel.
  • Secure the lid on the pot.
  • Select manual and cook at high pressure for 7 minutes.
  • Use natural pressure release. The natural pressure release should take about 10 minutes.
  • Open the lid.
  • Add the tamarind concentrate. Stir well.
  • Transfer in a serving bowl immediately.


  • Garnish with cilantro and dried coconut. Serve with steamed rice, idli (savory rice cake) or dosa (type of pancake or crèpe originating from southern India)


  • This recipe has been tried on a 6-quart instant pot. The proportions may vary depending on the size of the instant pot you choose to use.
  • If you don't eat very spicy food you can choose not to add the red chili powder.
  • All the ingredients can be easily found in an Indian grocery store.
  • Ground cayenne pepper and red chili powder can be used interchangeably as both of them make the dish spicy. So if you don’t have red chili powder you can use cayenne pepper instead.
Keyword Instant Pot Lentil Soup, Instant Pot Lentil Stew, Instant Pot Sambar