Quick Tiffin Sambar ...Hotel style

You might wonder when I have already done a very successful recipe based on the famous Hotel Saravan Bhavan , the sambar comes very close to that hotel sambar am told , then why another Tifiifn sambar??

Well the answer is to make your life even more simple yet enjoy the same Hotel tiffin sambar right in your kitchen and that too in a jiffy. This is a one pot Sambar!! Doesnt it sound too good to be true?

We all love good tasty sambar, but feel it is a pain when you think of the procedure, the constant monitoring of the sizzling sambar in the vessel, your doubts about the consistency, all these are put to rest if you try this one pot sambar, where everything gets done in the pressure cooker.

This Tiffin sambar as it is popularly called is so versatile, it makes an excellent dish for  dunking mini idlis, as an accompaniment for Dosas, Pongal and even to have a sambar  rice.

This Tiffin sambar is almost the same as the previous  Saravana Bahavan style Hotel sambar, with little changes.

The earlier recipe may seem little intimidating to first timers but this is called the sambar for dummies!! no offence.:-)

Here we go:


2 cups of chopped assorted veggies of your choice   ( I like to make my sambar with lots of vegetables so that every one gets them till the very end and a great way to incorporate more vegetables in the diet.

In this recipe I chose, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, green bell pepper , tomatoes. Choose any veggie of your choice.

1 /2 cup moong dal/paasi parrupu/ split green gram. ( keep soaked in water till you finish prepping)This will help to cook faster.

1 goose berry size tamrind,  soaked in warm water for easy extraction and complete extraction of tamrind.

1 tsp mustard seeds.

2 red dry chillis

sprigs of curry leaves

Chopped coriander leaves.

Generous pinch of asafoetida powder.
Salt to taste
1 tbsp of any good sambar powder  ( doesnt matter if you dont have any in the house. )

1/2  tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp rice flour if necessary to thicken the sambar in the last stage.

1 tbsp oil

To Roast and grind:

3 tsp dhaniya seeds/coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3  tsp gram dal ( puttani/ pottukadalai ) optional, but it does something to the taste I feel!

2 tsp chana dal
3 red dry chillis ( more if you want a spicy sambar )
Pinch of asafoetida powder.

3 tbsp fresh/ desiccated coconut/ to be added while grinding the items given under roast and grind.


1. First keep the vegetables ready ,  chopped to slightly bigger pieces.

2.. Take the pressure cooker, add little oil. , let it get hot, add the mustard seeds, let it crackle add the 2  red chillis , some curry leaves, then if adding onions, add onions first, sautee well till pinkish and transparent, then add the remaining chopped vegetables,sautee a bit, add the turmeric powder, sambar powder, salt, asafoetida powder, and the tamarind extract , around 3 cups of it .

3.Add the soaked 1/2 cup cup of moong dal  to the tamarind water, vegetable mixture in the cooker. Give one good stir, then close the pressure cooker and let it give 2 whistles.

Now take a small pan, add some oil ,heat it, add the ingredients given under roast and grind and fry till golden, don't add the coconut .

4. When the ingredients have been roasted till a fine aroma emanates, let it cool down then grind to a little coarse paste, with 3 tbsp fresh /desiccated coconut and ad very little water. Keep this ground paste aside.

5. While you are grinding , the cooker would have given 2 whistles, let it keep for another 3 minutes in the gas flame , then switch off.

6. When the cooker has cooled down , pressure released, open the cooker, stir the sambar mixture, add the ground paste, the 2 tsp of rice flour if necessary and keep it on the flame again for 2 minutes as the ground paste has to blend well with the pressure cooked vegetables, spices, dal etc.

7. The aromatic sambar  will thicken a bit, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot!!

I am almost drooling coming to the last line , believe me , this is the best tiffin sambar recipe , I follow and the pressure cooker method is the best  as you fill it, shut it and the cooker will do the rest.

In the pressure cooker, do the tadka first, add the vegetables,tamrind water and as per instruction in 1.

While the pressure cooker is kept on the flame, roast the ingredients given under roast and grind.Keep aside.

Most aromatic tiffin sambar is ready in the cooker.!

Great to mix with rice and have a ssambar sadham/ sambar rice

An excellent Tiffinsambar to dunk your mini idlis.


Keep some pre cooked dal always in the fridge to prepare rasam or sambar in a jiffy.

If you do not have dal or your dal takes time to cook as some varieties will not cook fast in pressure cooker, then either presoak them at least 15 miutes prior to cooking, while you chop the veggies, use the split moong dal for quick cooking, or use fried gram called pottukadali powder at the end to replace dal.

Pressure cook first and do the seasoning last ..works well too, though I prefer to sautee the onions first ..but if time is a constraint, then dunk everything and cook . Season at the end with rice powder or gram dal powder to thicken .