Traditional Vegetarian Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes & Instant Pot Recipes from Indian and International Cuisines

Moong Dal Sambar/ Instant Tiffin Sambar/ Pesara Pappu sambar/ Spicy Lentil & Vegetable Soup – Instant Pot Method

Moong Dal Sambar/ Instant Tiffin Sambar/ Pesara Pappu sambar/                            Spicy Lentil & Vegetable Soup –                      Instant Pot Method

Tiffin Sambar is an yummy accompaniment to the Common South Indian breakfast foods like Idli, Dosa, Vada and P0ngal. It is a spicy South Indian lentil and vegetable soup. The breakfast foods are also known as ‘Tiffins’ in South India. Tiffin sambar is served in the restaurants along with the South Indian breakfast foods/Tiffins. It tastes different from the sambar that is served with rice.

Tiffin sambar can be prepared in many ways. Each region has a different variation of the recipe. I wanted to prepare sambar with toor dal like I usually do, but when I checked my pantry, I realized that I didn’t have toor dal in stock. I tried making sambar with the combination of toor dal and moong dal and it tastes delicious. But, I had never prepared sambar with moong dal alone, so I was not sure how it would actually taste. I adapted the recipe from here,, and prepared One Pot Sambar in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. Sambar turned out delicious, just the way I like it. It was similar to the sambar served in the Indian restaurants with the South Indian breakfast foods. Today, I am sharing the recipe for the instant pot version of Moong Dal Tiffin Sambar. This sambar can be prepared in very less time. This is a perfect recipe for the busy mornings. Just do a quick saute and dump all the ingredients in the instant pot and close the lid. You can take care of other things while instant pot is cooking this yummy sambar. Roast the sambar powder ingredients a day before you want to make sambar. Grind them, just before making the sambar to retain the fresh flavor of the spices.

If you are interested in making Idli/Dosa along with this sambar, you can find the recipe to prepare Idli/Dosa batter here.

Lets begin the process of making this delicious Tiffin Sambar.


Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml

Moong dal – 1/4 cup

Onion- 1/2 cup(finely chopped)(1 medium size onion)

Tomato – 1(medium size)

Green chilli – 1

Brinjals – 2(medium size)

Potato – 1(medium size)

Carrot – 1(medium size)

Tamarind concentrate – 1 Tbsp.

Turmeric powder – 1/2 Tsp.

Grated jaggery – 1/2 Tsp.(optional, I added it)

Chopped cilantro – 1/4 cup

Salt – 1 & 1/4 Tsp. (approximately)

Vegetable oil – 3 Tsp.

Mustard seeds – 1 Tsp.

Cumin seeds – 1 Tsp.

Asafoetida – 1/4 Tsp.

Curry leaves – 10-15

Ingredients to prepare homemade sambar powder:

Chana dal – 1 & 1/2 Tbsp.

Coriander seeds – 1 & 1/2 Tsp.

Red chillies – 2 (Byadgi variety)(You can add more or less according to your taste)

Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 Tsp.


Step 1:

Wash and soak moong dal for 15 minutes.


Step 2:

Roast the ingredients mentioned under sambar powder in 1/2 tsp. oil. Roast them on low heat until chana dal is golden brown. Let them cool and powder them.

Step 3:

Wash and chop all the veggies. Place the chopped brinjal pieces in a bowl of water to prevent them from turning black. image

Step 4:

Turn on the Instant Pot in ‘Saute’ mode. Add oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let them crackle. Add curry leaves, green chilli(slit),  asafoetida and chopped onion. Add 1/4  tsp. salt. Saute until onion turns slightly transparent.  Adding salt helps to release the water from the onions and allows them to soften gradually. This process is known as sweating.

Step 5:

Add the chopped vegetables and saute for a minute.


Step 6:

Add turmeric powder, fresh homemade sambar powder, jaggery and salt. Mix it well.


Step 7:

Drain the water from the soaked moong dal and add it. Add 4&1/2 cups of water. Mix it well. Close the lid. Turn the steam releasing valve in sealing position. Pressure cook the vegetables in manual high pressure setting for 15 minutes. To do this, turn off the instant pot. Press cancel button. Hit manual button. The default pressure setting will be high. Do not change this.  Press on minus ‘-‘  button and set it to 15 minutes.

Step 8:

Open the lid when the pressure is naturally released(NR). Instant pot has a indicator pin next to the steam releasing valve to indicate if the steam is released or not. The pin drops down when the steam is completely released. Remove the lid when the pin drops down.


Step 9:

Add tamarind concentrate. Cook on ‘Saute’ mode for 4-5 minutes. Add some chopped cilantro.



You can add the tamarind paste in the Step 7. Dal will be 95% cooked and will not be mushy. It’s your preference. This is how the cooked dal looks, if you add tamarind pulp in the Step 7.


Step 10:

Turn off the instant pot and transfer the prepared sambar to a serving bowl. Finally garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with your favorite tiffin/breakfast.

First time,  I  tried making this sambar with just onions, tomatoes, carrots and store bought sambar powder(I used 1 Tbsp. MTR sambar powder). It tasted good but, needed improvement.



Second time, I added potato along with the other vegetables. It tasted better with the addition of potato but, it still needed improvement.



Finally when I made this sambar in the exact way as I mentioned in this post, I loved the taste. The addition of potato and home made sambar powder gives a unique flavor to this sambar.  I felt that this sambar recipe is a keeper and shared it in my blog. I hope you will like it too.


Enjoy this delicious Tiffin Sambar with your favorite South Indian Breakfast!!!!

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