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sambar rice made in the instant pot is served in a large white plate and pickle on the side.
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Instant Pot Sambar Rice | Sambar Sadam

Sambar Rice or Sambar Sadam is a one pot rice and lentil dish from the cuisine of Tamilnadu. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Indian, Tamilnadu
Servings: 3
Author: Madhavi


  • Instant Pot


  • ½ cup white basmati rice
  • ½ cup toor dal
  • 2 - 3 cups vegetables ( beans, carrot, potato, green bell pepper, lima beans)
  • 2 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoon sambar powder (or to taste) (If you don't have sambar powder replace with 1.5 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder & 3 tsp coriander powder)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder ( optional) add it if the sambar powder is not spicy
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 cup tamarind water soak small amount of tamarind in hot water and extract the pulp
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (if vegan, add more oil)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 ½ cups water ( 2 cups while soaking rice and dal + 1 ½ cups while cooking)


Instant Pot Method -

  • Wash and soak the dal in 1 cup of water for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash and soak rice in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes.
  • Turn on the instant pot in saute mode. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. Once the mustard pops, add cumin seeds and curry leaves and saute for 15 seconds.
  • Add onion and cook for two minute
  • Add tomato and cook for two minutes. Add all the vegetables and coat with oil.
  • Add turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. Cook for a minute.
  • Add the tamarind water and boil  for two minutes. Now add rice, dal and soaked water, 1 ½ cups of water. The total amount of liquid will be 4 ½ cups( 2 cups of soaked water + 1 ½ cups of water + 1 cup tamarind water). Give a mix and taste for salt and spice and adjust accordingly.
  • Close the lid and adjust the vent to the sealing position. Pressure cook on high for seven minutes. Do a natural pressure release. 
  • Mix it well and garnish with chopped coriander. If you like sambar rice little watery, add some boiled water and mix it.
  • Finally drizzle some ghee on the top and serve it hot.

Traditional Pressure Cooker -

  • Follow the same instructions as instant pot, pressure cook in medium flame for 3 to 4 whistles. Do a natural pressure release.


  • If you don't have sambar powder replace with 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder & 2 tsp coriander powder
  • If the Sambar powder is not spicy add some red chili powder.
  • Adjust the tamarind according to your taste.
  • Highly recommending soaking the dal, especially when we are cooking with the spices and tamarind. 
  • If you like the rice watery, add some hot water after it is cooked.
  • Whether you use home made or store bought sambar powder, make sure it a good one. The taste of sambar rice completely relies on the sambar powder. 
  • The total amount of liquid we will be using is 4 ½ cups( 2 cups of soaked water + 1 ½ cups of water + 1 cup tamarind water)
  • You can always add more water after its cooked. I feel that too much water while cooking will making the sambar rice very mushy.