Instant Pot Easy Tomato Sambar
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For making homemade Sambar Masala-Makes 4 tbsp
  • Chana dal- 2 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  • Whole black peppercorns- 1 tsp
  • Dried red chilies- 3
For making Sambar
  • Toor Dal or Tuvar Dal- 1 cup
  • Water- 1½ cups (to cook toor dal)
  • Turmeric powder- ⅛ tsp
  • Tomatoes, chopped- 3
  • Water- ½ cup
  • Prepared sambar masala- 2 tbsp
  • Tamarind extract- ¼ cup (soak 2 inch slice tamarind in ¼ cup lukewarm water)
  • Asafoetida- 2 pinches
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 handfuls
For making Tempering
  • Oil- 1 tbsp (coconut oil or vegetable oil)
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Dried red chilies- 2
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  1. Firstly, let's make the homemade sambar masala.
  2. Place a pan over medium heat, let it turn hot.
  3. Add chana dal first and saute for a minute.
  4. Add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, whole peppercorns and dried red chilies. Roast till aromatic and seeds turn light brown. Be careful not to burn the whole spices.
  5. Keep aside the pan and let cool down.
  6. Add the roasted spices to a blender or spice grinder and grind to a powder. Keep aside.
  7. This masala can be stored in an air tight container for a few months. This recipe will yield 4 tbsp.
Making Sambar
  1. First, soak golf ball size or 2 inches fresh tamarind in ¼ cup lukewarm water. Soak for 5 minutes.
  2. After 5 minutes, squeeze the tamarind in water to extract the juice. Strain the juice and discard the skin. Keep aside.
  3. Rinse the toor dal taken in a strainer.
  4. Turn on the Instant Pot- I used Ultra model IP. If you don't have an IP- cook the toor dal in a pressure cooker till 2 whistles.
  5. Add toor dal and 1½ cups water to the stainless steel pot.
  6. Close with the lid. Select Pressure mode- high pressure, set time to 3 minutes.
  7. After 3 minutes, do a quick pressure release.
  8. It only takes 3 minutes to cook toor dal in the IP.
  9. Cancel pressure mode and select saute mode- normal temperature.
  10. Add turmeric powder and chopped tomatoes to the cooked toor dal. Combine well.
  11. Add ½ cup water.
  12. Let cook for a few minutes till tomatoes are cooked.
  13. Add the prepared sambar masala- 2 tbsp, combine well. Cook for a minute.
  14. Add tamarind juice, combine well and cook for a minute.
  15. Add asafoetida, combine well.
  16. Add cilantro, cook for a minute.
  17. Turn off IP.
  18. Remove the stainless steel pot from the main pot. Keep aside.
Making tempering
  1. Place a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add oil, let oil turn really hot.
  3. Add mustard seeds, let it splutter.
  4. Add dried red chilies and curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds.
  5. Pour the tempering over the cooked sambar.
  6. Close the pot with a lid and keep covered for sometime.
  7. This sambar can be served with dosa, idli, rice, chapati etc.
Instead of tomatoes, you can add mixed veggies like carrots, potatoes, okra, eggplant, drumstick etc- cook along with the toor dal and follow the other steps.

Make the sambar masala ahead of time and store in an air tight container.
Recipe by Cooking with Thas at