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+ servings
White bowl filled with sambar stew

Indian Sambar Lentil Vegetable Stew

A delicious warm sambar is a perfect Indian stew or oup that is loaded with vegetables and rich flavors.
Course Soup
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Indian Soup, Sambar, Soup
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 272kcal
Author Katie Hale


  • Traditional or electric pressure cooker
  • Measuring spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Small skillet


For Sambar

  • ½ cup pigeon pea lentils cooked
  • 3 cups Amaranthus leaves alternate: kale, spinach, or collards
  • ½ cup carrots chopped
  • ½ cup green beans or okra chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion chopped
  • ½ cup tomatoes chopped
  • 10 -12 pieces drumstick cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 tbsp green chile chopped
  • 2 tbsp tamarind
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp red chili powder
  • 3-4 tbsp Sambar powder
  • 1 tbsp salt more or less to taste
  • 4 cups water

For Tempering


How to Make Smbar with Traditional Pressure Cooker

  • Wash and soak the lentils in water for at least 4 hours up to overnight.
  • In the pressure cooker, add the soaked and drained lentils, amaranthus leaves, carrots, green beans, onions, tomatoes, drumstick, green chili, tamarind, turmeric, red chili powder, sambar powder, salt, and water. Stir to combine.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes or for 3 whistles. Open and check to see that the lentils are cooked through. If not, continue cooking an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour the hot mixture over the sambar and stir to combine.
  • Serve with rice, dosa, idli, or vada.

How to Make Sambar in an Instant Pot

  • Wash and soak the lentils in water for at least 4 hours up to overnight.
  • Turn the Instant Pot to Saute and add the oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and dried chile. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until aromatic and the seeds begin to pop.
  • Add in the water and stir to make sure there is no burnt on food on the bottom.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Set the lid to seal and turn to manual pressure. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • Once the cooking process has ended, allow the steam to naturally release for 5 minutes then release the remaining pressure manually.
  • Stir to combine and serve hot with rice, dosa, idli, or vada.


Serve alone as a stew, with rice, dosa, roti, or naan. 


Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9.7g | Saturated Fat: 1.3g | Sodium: 1825mg | Fiber: 14.9g | Sugar: 7.6g