Instant sambar dry mix, how to make instant sambar , sambar without pressure cooker, sambar without tamarind, how to make Indian lentil soup, easy sambar recipe.

Sambar ( Indian lentil soup) is a quintessential  accompaniment when it comes to South Indian cuisine. A South Indian breakfast isn’t complete without a bowl of spicy,tangy,  piping hot lentil soup, otherwise known as Sambar. However, most of the times, due to time crunch, we end up either serving the breakfast dry ( i.e without Sambar 🙂 )or using the left over sambar from the previous day . But not any more if you have some bottled up dry sambar handy. 

This simple little trick of storing all the ingredients in dry form was handed over to me by my aunt. A very accomplished cook herself, whenever I visit home, I’am awed by her time management skills in the kitchen. When she first casually told me about making a Sambar without pressure cooker, I was wide eyed. The whole laborious process of making a Sambar in the morning gives me a feel of cooking a whole meal. This recipe of her’s appealed to me for two reasons. First ad most obvious, no need to pressure cook the daals ( lentils) and second more importantly, no tamarind. I personally have no problem with tamarind, infact I love the  flavour and colour it gives to Sambar. But, the place where I stay suffers 90% + humidity most of the year and getting good quality tamarind becomes pretty difficult. So, this dry form of sambar comes very handy when you have to cook breakfast in a jiffy.

The theme of our fornightly event at the facebook group Healthy – Wellthy Cuisines is Instant dishes, and I coudn’t find more appropriate recipe than this instant sambar dry mix. 

Check out the easy recipe of the Instant sambar dry mix

Ingredients :

  • Split pigeon peas (daal normally used to make sambar-toor daal) – 3/4 cup
  • Split Bengal gram (chana daal)- 2 tablespoon
  • Split yellow gram (moong daal2 tablespoon (optional)
  • Sambar powder ( home made/ ready made)- 4 to 5 teaspoons 
  • Refined oil- 2 teaspoons
  • Asafoetida (hing) – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Dry red chillies- 2 to 3 no.s
  • Curry leaves- 3 to 4 stems
  • Dry mango powder (amchur powder)- 2 tablespoons
  • Red chilli powder (optional)- 2 teaspoons


  • Wash all the lentils ( daals) 2 to 3 times, damp dry on a clean cloth. 
  • In a thick bottomed pan, add few drops of refined oil, saute the lentils (daals) till they are light brown and emit a faint smell.
  • Keep the roasted daals aside.
  • In the same pan, add some more oil, add asfoetida (hing), fry for few seconds. ( If using the solid blocks of hing, just cut off a small chunk and fry in the oil till it turns crisp). 
  • Add dry red chillies and saute till they are  brown from outside. Take out chillies and hing from the pan,keep aside.
  • To the same pan, add curry leaves and fry till they are crisp. Switch off the flame , transfer the curry leaves to the plate containing all the roasted ingredients.
  • In a blender jar, add roasted daals, fried hing, dry red chillies, curry leaves,   dry mango powder, sambar powder, red chilli powder . Blend to a coarse powder, store in airtight container in a dry place.

To make sambar using instant sambar mix:

Option 1 :

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, once they splutter add cumin ( jeera) seeds, dry red chillies ( optional)  , curry leaves (10-12) . Add 2 cups of water , once it boils add 3-4 tablespoons of instant sambar mix. Add salt  , check for seasoning. Add some more red chilli powder and dry mango powder if needed. You can also add a small piece of jaggery / half teaspoon of sugar. Bring it to a roaring boil , simmer for few minutes. switch off once required consistency is reached. This method of making sambar  will hardly take 7-8 minutes from start to finish.

Option 2: If you have few more minutes on hand, you can go a bit more elaborate. 

  • Chop a big sized onion into cubes, blend to a coarse paste, keep aside. 
  • Similarly blend 1-2 medium sized tomatoes into a paste and keep aside. 
  • Heat 2-4 teaspoon oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, once they splutter add cumin ( jeera) seeds, dry red chillies ( optional)  , curry leaves (10-12) . 
  • Add onion paste, fry for 6-8 minutes till it appears light brown. 
  • Add tomato paste , salt and cook for few more minutes.
  • At this stage you can add diced pumpkin pieces / diced raddish pieces / drumstick cut into 2 inch pieces / any other quick cooking vegetable .
  • Add 2 cups of water to the pan and bring the water to a roaring boil. Check for the softness of the vegetable added if they are cooked. 
  • Add 3-4 tablespoons of instant sambar mix to the pan, give a good mix.
  • You can also add a small piece of jaggery / half teaspoon of sugar.
  • Add grated fresh coconut, mix well.
  • Simmer for few minutes, once adequate consistency is reached switch off the flame.
  • Your sambar from instant sambar mix is ready to be served ! This method will give you a more authentic tasting sambar in less than 15 minutes, that too without pressure cooker !

few notes:

  1. Adding tomato paste is purely optional, it add to sourness to sambar. You can omit it and can add tamarind puree after the onion paste is fried. You can instead add more dry mango powder to adjust the seasoning.
  2. If you do not have dry mango powder while making instant sambar mix, you can instead use tamarind, it should be as dry as possible. Just saute it along with red chillies till they are absolutely dry and then blend with other ingredients.
  3. While constituting the sambar, use any type of vegetable normally used in making sambar. If you have boiled beans, carrots, potatoes, or boiled peanuts, you can add them to the sambar.
  4. If the final consistency of the sambar is too thin,add some more sambar mix powder and boil for few more minutes. If it is too thick, add some more water and boil. Also check the seasoning after adding water and adjust accordingly.

Check out some more Instant recipes from our group- Instant rava Dosa, Paan Shots , Rice krispies Chivda, Suji Matar Pancakes

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Hi , I’am Neelima and welcome to my space!! I’am a full time practicing dentist. Cooking had always been my passion, and baking which had started as a fascination is now crossing over to be an obsession.

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