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a bucket filled with Arachuvitta Sambhar

Arachuvitta Sambhar - Instant Pot and Stovetop Versions

Learn how to make this easy fool-proof Tambrahm style arachuvitta sambhar recipe in the Instant pot and on a stovetop. It's an aromatic and comforting vegan dish!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 262.18kcal



To prepare tamarind paste/water

To prepare the ground paste

To prep the dal for Instant Pot cooking

Sambhar ingredients



To prepare tamarind paste/water

  • If you're using ready tamarind pulp/paste, then no prep is required. The quantity will depend upon the thickness and sourness of the tamarind paste. But if using fresh tamarind, soak a lemon-sized ball in warm water for 15 minutes.
  • Extract the juice by pressing the tamarind between your fingers and strain the liquid in a sieve.
  • Preserve the liquid and discard the tamarind.

To prepare the ground paste

  • Heat oil in a pan or the pot and once it's hot, roast urad dal, chana dal, coriander seeds, coconut, and dried red chilies on a medium flame.
  • Be careful to not burn the ingredients. Once the coconut and chana dal turn light golden and releases an aroma, take it off the flame.
  • Allow it to cool down and then transfer it to a Mixer Grinder.
  • Add 3-4 tablespoons of water and blitz to make a smooth paste. Keep this paste aside for now.

To prep the dal for Instant Pot cooking

  • Soak toor dal in a bowl for 15 minutes. This step is only needed if you are cooking Sambhar in the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot

  • Turn on the Instant Pot in saute mode, add oil, and then add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, and fry for 10 seconds.
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes, eggplants, and slit green chilly. Saute till the veggies turn soft.
  • Add the sambhar powder, turmeric powder, tamarind pulpand soaked toor dal. Mix it all together.
  • Now add the ground paste to the pot. Mix and saute for a minute.
  • Next, add water along with salt. Mix and hit cancel. Then close the lid. Cook in manual/pressure mode for 8 minutes. Release pressure naturally.
  • Then open the lid, garnish with chopped cilantro.


  • Refer to the steps above to make the arachuvitta sambar masala. This step is the same irrespective of whether you are making it on the stovetop or Instant Pot.
  • For lentils, there is no need to soak the toor dal before cooking it. Instead, just rinse them and boil/pressure cook toor dal in water along with turmeric powder.
  • Once it's done, mash them. It should not be runny but have a thick batter-like consistency. Keep it aside for now.
  • Add water to a vessel. Then add the tamarind pulp or tamarind water along with salt, sambhar powder, asafoetida, turmeric powder, tomatoes, and eggplants.
  • Bring to a boil on medium flame. Then add the freshly ground paste mix and continue to cook it for 7-8 more minutes on medium flame.
  • The veggies will get cooked and the mixture will begin to froth and thicken. That is your cue to add the mashed toor dal to the vessel.
  • Give it a good stir and take the vessel off the flame after 2 minutes. Do not cook it for long after adding the lentils. Garnish with chopped cilantro.


  • In a tadka pan, add oil or ghee if not vegan, and once it's hot temper mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add asafoetida along with curry leaves and pour the tadka over the sambhar.
  • If making sambhar on a stovetop, add the fenugreek seeds in the tempering.


Instead of roasting the spices in a pan, you can also sun dry them until crisp and then grind them. If you grind the spice mix without water, in a dry form, you can store the leftovers in the fridge. 
Feel free to add or skip any veggies based on availability and preference. However, the most common veggies in sambhar are eggplants, radish, onions/shallots, pumpkin, radish, drumsticks, and okra.
Adjust the amount of water depending on the quantity and consistency you want. You can also use mild vegetable stock instead. 
Since this is a vegan recipe, I have not used ghee. But if you are not vegan, make this sambar in ghee. It tastes great. 
You can follow this sambhar recipe without adding the ground coconut paste. It will just be regular sambar. Skip the asafoetida to make it gluten-free. 
For lentils, you can use toor dal or moong dal. You can also use a mix of both. If needed, add little jaggery or sugar to balance the flavors. 
Many arachuvitta sambhar recipes don't call for adding sambhar powder, but I like to it. It gives the sambar more flavor. You can also use rasam powder in its place.
Remember, Sambhar thickens upon cooling. You can dilute it by adding warm water. If it is too thin, prepare a slurry using rice flour and add it. This will help thicken the sambhar if needed. 
You can also follow this Beetroot Rasam Rice recipe and make Sambhar Rice in the Instant Pot. 
How to store leftovers?
Leftover Sambhar stays well in the fridge for a week. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months. Just thaw and reheat before serving.
I always feel arachuvitta sambhar tastes even better the next day because it has got enough time to absorb all the flavors by then. 


Calories: 262.18kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.47g | Protein: 11.37g | Fat: 8.44g | Saturated Fat: 3.65g | Sodium: 22.48mg | Potassium: 794.35mg | Fiber: 17.07g | Sugar: 11.02g | Vitamin A: 476.46IU | Vitamin C: 27.36mg | Calcium: 72.95mg | Iron: 4.1mg