Sambar is a spicy and tangy lentil based vegetable stew or curry that can be served with rice.
Hello Friends! Today I'm sharing a comfort food that I make almost on a weekly or bi-weekly basis - Sambar Chawal. Sambar is a South Indian recipe that is a spicy and tangy lentil based vegetable stew or curry. Although traditionally Sambar is popular with Idli, Dosa and similar varieties I'm sharing a slightly different version which we eat with (Chawal) Rice. Its very nutritious and a complete meal that my family loves.
I learnt this recipe from my MIL after marriage. This is a her go to recipe when the extended family comes over. Reason being its extremely easy to make and turns out delicious no matter what. It is a sure shot success with kids and adults. While growing up, when Mom made sambar we always paired it with Idli and Dosa, the traditional way. So the first time my MIL made it and said we will be eating it with Rice, I was a little skeptical. But it took me just a bite to realize how delicious it tasted.
This recipe calls for lentils and veggies of choice to be cooked together and then spiced and flavored with Indian spices. The tangy flavor is imparted by tamarind or lemon juice giving it the perfect balance of spicy, slightly sweet (from veggies) and tangy. Serve it with some hot rice, pickle and salad for that complete meal experience.
There are many varieties of sambar. Every home has their own way of making it. The only difference between traditional sambar I make and this one is that this is more thicker (more like a mix veg dal) rather than the thin runny sambar eaten with Idli and Dosa. The best part is you can add veggies of choice and customize it the way your family likes it. I'll be posting the recipe for Sambar which I serve with Idli later but by all means you can pair this one as well.
Recently I've joined the InstantPot bandwagon and trying all my recipes in this new gadget. I love the ease and comfort it provides for not having to babysit while it does its job and I can use that time to do something else i.e. spend time with my kids.
I tried this Sambar in Instant pot and have updated the instructions below on how I do it. Its like a one pot meal where all happens in this one pot of Instantpot starting with tadka, then cooking the veggies and lentils together (which is slightly different to the regular pressure cooker method). Also the rice can be cooked in the Pot in Pot (PIP) method at the same time as the sambar is cooking so do check out the recipe details below.
Just one caution since we are cooking the veggies and lentils together for the same time, make sure to cut bigger chunks of the veggies than usual if you like to see the veggies in your sambar or else they will be overcooked and dissolve which by no means is bad in fact great way to feed veggies to kids or adults who don't like to eat veggies ???? .
Step by Step Method using Pressure Cooker:
Hope you enjoy this Sambar - Mix Veg Lentils Curry as much as we do!! If you give this recipe a try, we did love to hear from you ❤️ Please let us know your rating and feedback in the comments below. Thank you!
Sambar - Mixed Veg Lentils Curry
- Pressure cooker
- 1 cup toor dal arhar (split pigeon peas)
- 3-4 cups water
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp grated garlic around 4 fat cloves
- ¼ tsp asafoetida hing
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1-2 tbsp sambar powder using store bought
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1-2 tsp tamarind pulp or lemon juice to taste
- handful of cilantro finely chopped.
- ½ zucchini slit in half and each half cut into 4 pieces approx half cup
- 2-3 baby eggplants each cut into 4 pieces
- 1 small onion cut in cubes
- 1 to mato cut in cubes
- ½ green bell pepper but in cubes
- 1 carrot peeled and cut into rounds approx half cup
- Half small bottle gourd lauki/ghiya cut big cubes (approx half cup)
Pressure Cooker Method:
- Wash the toor dal 3-4 times until the water runs clear. Let it soak for 10-30 mins.
- In a pressure cooked add the toor dal, 3 cups water, ginger garlic, asafoetida, turmeric powder and salt, mix well and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Then switch of the heat and let the steam release naturally. Mash the dal slightly with the help of spoon to make it a bit smooth
- While the dal cooks, cut your veggies. Once dal is cooked, add the veggies and sambar powder, mix and pressure cook for 1 more whistle. Let the steam release naturally again.
- In the mean while make the tadka. In a separate pan heat oil and once hot add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter add the cumin seeds. Switch off the flame and add the rest of the ingredients like curry leaves, red chillies and red chilli powder. Stir everything good.
- Soak the tamarind in hot water for about 10 mins and squeeze and strain to get the pulp. Add the Tadka to the veggies and dal along with tamarind pulp , cilantro and simmer for 10-15 mins.
Instant Pot Method:
- Wash the toor dal 3-4 times until the water runs clear. Let it soak for 10-30 mins. If you are doing Pot in pot (PIP) with rice, wash your rice 3-4 times (in the vessel inserts itself) until the water runs clear and let them soak too until you prep rest of the ingredients.
- Start the instant pot in saute mode and add the ghee/oil. Once hot add the mustard seeds and allow them to splutter, after which add the asafeotida, cumin seeds, curry leaves and red chillies followed by onions.
- Saute for 1-2 mins and the add the grated ginger garlic. Keep sautéing for a min and then add in all the spices - turmeric, red chilli, sambar powder and salt. Mix well.
- Stir in the veggies (cut bigger chunks), soaked lentils and water. Cancel saute mode.
- If you are doing PIP rice, this is the time to discard the soaking water. Next add fresh water, salt, ghee and cumin seeds (optional). Place a trivet inside the instant pot and place this rice vessel insert on top of it.
- Close the instant pot lid with vent to sealing position and set manual (pressure cook) to 12 mins. Once done, do a Quick release after 10 mins.
- Remove the rice PIP, cover and keep aside.
- Switch on back to saute mode. Stir in the tamarind pulp some cilantro and simmer for 2 mins and Sambar is ready!