A one pot, Instant Pot recipe for Sambar Rice or Sambar Sadam, a Southern Indian rice dish that is a complex yet oh so flavorful medley of rice, lentils, vegetables, tamarind and spices.
Sambar rice is usually made with cooked rice and cooked lentils being added to vegetables cooking in spiced tamarind sauce and cooked down to become an almost mushy rice medley. This is great if you already have some leftover cooked rice and also maybe some leftover cooked plain lentils. But that rarely happens and I, personally find it to be a lot of work to cook the rice, lentils and the sauce and then cooking it all together.
One day when I was cooking lentils for sambar, in the stove top pressure cooker, I decided to try adding rice to the Pressure Cooker Tiffin Sambar that my grand-mom would make by adding everything for the sambar, the spices, vegetables, lentils and tamarind and cooking them together. I figured, I might as well add rice also to this recipe and add some extra water to accommodate for that and I might just get a one pot sambar rice meal.
And so I did, and it turned out great! Once I started cooking in the Instant Pot, rice and dal recipes have been my go-to for every day cooking in the Instant Pot. I especially love to make this Instant Pot Dal Fry and Instant Pot Vegetable Masala Rice. And of course, this Sambar rice got added to me Instant Pot recipe repertoire as well and I have never looked back.
Instant Pot Sambar RicePrint
- 1 1/2 cups white rice most any white rice would do. I use the rice - ponni par boiled rice that you can find at any Indian store. You can also use Basmati rice.
- 1/2 cup yellow moong dal toor dal / pigeon pea lentils is commonly used, I love moong dal in my sambar instead, so I use the same for Sambar rice
- 1/4 cup sliced carrots
- 2 small potatoes peeled and quartered
- 1/2 red onion chopped into big chunks
- 1/2 green bell pepper chopped into 1 inch cubes
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2-3 tbsp sambar powder
- 2 tbsp tamarind
- 1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped, for garnish
Rinse the rice and lentils and drain well.
Add this to the inner lining pot of the Instant Pot. Add the vegetables to it.
Also add in the turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt to it.
Soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup water and squeeze the pulp out of it well. Strain and pour this to the rice and dal. Add another 1/4 cup water and repeat.
Add 4 cups water more to the Instant Pot inner liner and mix well.
Close the Instant Pot. Put the sealing knob in "sealing" position. Press the MANUAL button and adjust time to 10 mins.
Once cooking for 10 mins is done, wait for the little steel knob next to the sealing knob to fall down. That is when you know that all the pressure is released (NPR - natural Pressure release). This should take about another 10 mins.
Meanwhile in a small sauce pan, heat the oil on the stove top. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the asafetida and curry leaves, mix well and pour on to the sambar rice in the Instant Pot.
Garnish with the chopped cilantro.
Serve hot with papaddums, yogurt / raita and Indian pickle.
For the vegetables, use the onion, but as for other vegetables, you can use any other that you like - zucchini, small Indian eggplant, pumpkin / butternut squash cubes, okra etc.
You could use store bought sambar powder or use garam masala powder ( the taste will be different with that, but it is an option if you dont want to spring for another spice powder). You could also make your own sambar masala paste from this recipe for Sambar here.
Instead of using the fresh tamarind to make a pulp, you could buy ready made tamarind pulp concentrate. I love the fresh one myself, but the ready made pulp is a viable option.
Here are some reader favorite Instant Pot Indian recipes:
- Instant Pot Avial – Mixed Vegetable Curry with Coconut
- Instant Pot Vegetable Masala Rice
- Instant Pot Saffron Kheer – Instant Pot Indian Saffron Rice Pudding
- Instant Pot Sambar Rice
If you are looking for sambar recipes, here are two favorite kinds, that is always made at home!
- Arachuvitta Sambar / Varutharacha Sambar – Sambar with freshly ground spices
- Tiffin Sambar – a one pot pressure cooker sambar recipe with sambar powder, that goes better with dosa and idlis, than rice.
LOVE THIS RECIPE? WANT TO SAVE IT FOR LATER? HOVER OVER THE IMAGE BELOW TO PIN TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD.
Also remember to tag @cookingcurries on social media – Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, when you share this recipe or your version of this recipe.