I have had many types of sambar through the years and I have never met a sambhar that I didn’t love. There are many ways to make instant pot sambar but almost all have Indian drumsticks (moringa) and tamarind.
This version is untraditional but is inspired by South Indian Sambar which is a hot, spicy and hearty lentil soup. We’re trying out artichoke leaves instead of drumsticks and lemon juice instead of tamarind.
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Artichoke Instead of Drumsticks in Instant Pot Sambar?
It seems that whenever Indian drumsticks (moringa) are described, they are compared to artichokes since they are both eaten in much the same way.
The inner portions of both drumsticks and artichokes are tender and can be scraped off and enjoyed, while the outer hard leaf (artichoke) and stem (drumstick) portions need to be discarded.
That’s one of the highlights of sambar – the fun part of eating the drumsticks.
So I became intrigued and decided to create a sambar variation with artichokes to see how well it would turn out. Spoiler alert:
The flavor of the artichokes, lemon and garlic coming together was a delightful savory combination. Am I biased because I had such high hopes for it? Maybe a bit, but it is really good. Definitely worth a try if you like something different.
Further to the artichoke – drumstick swap, this recipe is untraditional in that it does not use tamarind, but rather lemon for the tangy flavor. The lemon complements the artichokes perfectly.
The great thing about this recipe is that if you love sambar, but can’t find Indian drumsticks (moringa) or tamarind, you can still satisfy your craving similarly, with artichokes and lemon, both widely available ingredients in grocery stores.
What to Serve With Lemon Artichoke Sambar
Sambhar is typically served with idlis and dosas. We love our dosas with potato beet masala and chutneys that we keep frozen and thaw out when we need them.
If you don’t have idlis or dosas, you can serve sambar alone or with basmati rice.
Ingredients Used in Artichoke Instant Pot Sambar
- Artichoke — leaves only, *refer to instructions below to properly cut (do not include the fuzzy center choke part of the artichoke)
- Split Yellow Pigeon Peas (Toor Dal) — You could use all toor dal instead of a mix of lentils if you prefer. I like the texture with the addition of some masoor dal.
- Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)
- Avocado Oil
- Onion — diced
- Tomato — diced
- Garlic — peel and slice the cloves. You can also mince or put the garlic through a press. I like the presentation of the sliced garlic.
- Lemon Juice — freshly squeezed is best
- Sambar Masala — You can use store bought or make your own.
- Salt — ground Himalayan salt
- Hot Sauce — I add a few shakes of Frank’s red hot sauce for cayenne
- Mustard Seeds
- Cumin Seeds
- Curry Leaves — fresh leaves are best, and are available at Indian grocery stores.
- Green Chili Peppers — These seem small but are mighty. We use three, but try one or two for a milder version.
Health Benefits of Artichokes
Artichokes are full of protein and fiber yet low in carbs. They contain many of the nutrients you need throughout the day
Other Favorite Sambar Recipes
Instant Pot Zesty Lemon Artichoke Sambar
- 1 Artichoke, individual leaves pulled off, see pics
- 1 cup Split Yellow Pigeon Peas , toor dal
- ½ cup Red Lentils, masoor dal
- 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil
- 1 cup Onion, diced
- 1 Tomato, diced
- 3 cloves Garlic, sliced
- ¼ cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons Sambar Masala
- 2 teaspoons Salt, Himalayan
- 6 cups Water
- ½ teaspoon Hot Sauce, Frank's or Tabasco
- 1.5 teaspoons Mustard Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 12 Curry Leaves, fresh
- 3 Green Chili Peppers, use 1 or 2 peppers for a milder version
- Wash and prep your artichoke leaves. Begin by cutting across the entire artichoke 1 inch from the top.
- Peel off the individual leaves from the artichoke.
- Set your instant pot to sauté mode. Add tempering ingredients: avocado oil, green chilis, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add diced onion and sliced garlic. Saute for another 2 minutes.
- Rinse the toor and masoor dal in a strainer. Leave to drain.
- Toss in tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, toor and masoor dal, and hot sauce to the pot.
- Sprinkle the sambar masala on top.
- Add water to the pot.
- Toss in the artichoke leaves. Stir well.
- Set Instant pot to High Pressure for 8 minutes.
- When pressure cycle is complete, allow pressure to release naturally (about 25 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.
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