This Instant Pot radish sambar gets an intense flavor boost from the radishes themselves. Cooking the radishes in the soup imparts such a strong savory element that elevates this dish.
When making sambar, a spicy South Indian style soup, you can add a variety of vegetables to it, and it can change every time you make it, based on what you have in your garden or fridge.
Since I like to use what I have available, radishes made their way into the instant pot one time and immediately became one of our favorite vegetables in soup.
Ever since, I prefer to include radishes in sambar, and highlight them in this recipe, because they are healthy and intensify the flavor at the same time!
Content in this Post
Ingredients in Instant Pot Radish Sambar
- Yellow split Pigeon peas (Toor Dal) — Found in Indian grocery stores or well stocked aisles.
- Radishes — wash and scrub well, slice in rounds.
- Carrots — wash and scrub well, your choice to peel or not, more nutrients in unpeeled, slice in rounds.
- Onion — diced, you can use any kind of onion, red, white or yellow.
- Garlic — cloves, can mince or slice them.
- Green Chili — use 1-2 for mild to medium, 3 for spicy hot. NOTE: We have worked our way up to three chilis but if you are making this for the first time try one or two.
- Drumsticks (Moringa) — these are found in Indian grocery stores. I like to stock some bags of frozen drumsticks in my freezer.
- Curry Leaves — fresh, you can also freeze these.
- Tomato Paste — we use tomato paste, you could use one or two chopped tomatoes instead of or in addition to.
- Sambar Masala — you can make your own or use store bought for convenience.
- Oil — avocado oil is an excellent choice for frying
- Tamarind Paste — Also found in Indian grocery stores. If you don’t have any, you can sub lemon juice.
- Cumin Seeds
- Mustard Seeds
- Hot Sauce — or half teaspoon cayenne, optional, your sambar masala blend will likely have more than enough heat, add only if you want it spicy hot.
- Himalayan Salt — enhances all the flavors. Depending on your brand of sambar masala, there may be a lot of salt already, so you might want to use less and add after cooking if necessary.
- Pepper — freshly ground black pepper or white pepper.
Time Saving Tip – Prep Ahead Common Ingredients
Don’t worry about the long list of ingredients. It’s actually a really fast and easy dish to make. It can even be made simpler if you prepare some of the commonly used ingredients ahead of time.
Whenever I make this, I grab some frozen diced onions, frozen peeled garlic cloves and a frozen (peeled) piece of ginger. All I need to do is grate the garlic and ginger, which is actually easier to do when frozen.
Diced onion, garlic and ginger, are part of so many recipes, that it is really worth taking a half hour to dice and freeze onion, and peel garlic and ginger (cut peeled ginger into one inch portions). I like to do this very soon after I purchase them. It is so handy to have these ready to go, and it also ensures they won’t spoil before you’re able to use them.
Health Benefits of Instant Pot Radish Sambar
Sambar is made of lentils that are a vegetarian protein source. Lentil and vegetable soup is also high in fiber. Full of heart healthy radishes and carrots, this soup contains vitamin C and vitamin A. It is high in minerals, source of potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and folate.
Kitchen Tools Needed for Instant Pot Radish Sambar
I make this recipe in a 6 quart Instant Pot. You could use an 8 quart or a 3 quart, but you will need to scale down to half the recipe for a 3 quart.
What to Serve With Instant Pot Radish Sambar
Radish sambar can be served with idli and dosa. It is perfect with Masala dosa with Instant Pot potato masala with beets, and chutneys.
Sambar can be served with basmati rice and is what I do if I don’t have idli or dosa.
If you have lots of radishes, you can also try our masala roasted radishes with carrots and parsnips. Roasting these vegetables brings out a sweetness that is a nice contrast with savory. It’s a great side dish for curries and I love to garnish soups with it.
Menu Planning with Instant Pots and Stove Top
If you have a large family or want to make a lot of food fast, you can read this article about the benefits of owning two Instant Pots.
Having two Instant Pots is beyond handy. In the first pot I prepare sambar, in the second pot I prepare dosa filling. While the instant pots are cycling, I fry dosa on the stovetop and thaw or prepare chutneys. In roughly one hour, we’re enjoying a super satisfying vegan meal at home.
I also use this same method for another quick weeknight meal (vegan if you skip the raita, or make a vegan raita):
- Instant Pot #1: Basmati Rice
- Instant Pot #2: Chana Dal With Spinach
- Stovetop: (while Instant Pots are cooking): stir fry Bhindi Masala Okra Curry and manual prep the Lemon Dill Raita
With this method, I can rest assured that dinner will be on time, healthy and full of flavor.
Once cooked, sambar can be kept in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. It can also be frozen for several months in a freezer safe container.
You’ll Also Love
If you love sambar but don’t have drumsticks (moringa) and tamarind, you can try this Lemon Artichoke Sambar for a variation that uses artichoke leaves instead of drumsticks and lemon instead of tamarind.
Or try this super tasty Masoor Dal Sambar with Okra.
Instant Pot Radish Sambar
- 1.5 Cup Toor Dal, split pigeon peas, rinsed well and drained
- 1 Cup Onion, diced
- ¼ Cup Tomato Paste
- 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced or sliced
- 6 Cups Water
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1.5 teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
- 12 Curry Leaves, fresh
- 3 Green Chilis
- 10 Moringa
- 10 Radishes, sliced in thick rounds
- 2 Carrots, sliced in thick rounds
- 2 teaspoons Salt, Himalayan
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Sambar Masala, powder
- 1 tablespoon Tamarind Paste
- Add oil to the Instant Pot in Sauté mode. When hot, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chilies, curry leaves and stir until the seeds sputter.
- Add onions and garlic and stir fry 2 minutes.
- Add sambar masala, salt and pepper and stir fry another minute.
- Pour in the water, hot sauce, toor dal, radishes, carrots, drumsticks and place the tomato paste on top.
- Fasten lid securely, and set to pressure cook on high for 8 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Open the lid, add the tamarind paste and give it a good stir.
- Allow to cool a few minutes.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.