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Cranberry Sambar – Instant Pot, Stove Top

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Sambar is a most popular staple food in India. Lentils based vegetable stew or soup is highly nutritious and packed with proteins, vitamins and minerals from lentils and vegetables. A complete balanced meal when served with some rice or Rava idli. Sambar is VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, NUT-FREE.

 

 

 

WHAT IS SAMBAR

Sambar is a South Indian dish made with lentils, mixed vegetables, tamarind, curry leaves, flavored with spices and a special spice mix known as Sambar masala (powder), adds soul to this dish.

This sambar masala is a blend of various spices and lentils, dry roasted and grind to powder. A good sambar masala is a key to making this aromatic, flavorful sambar. 

Sambar is typically served over rice or some Rava idli, making it a complete, well-balanced meal. 

WHAT IS CRANBERRY SAMBAR

I love to experiment with my food. And Cranberry Sambar is one of the experiments I did when I ran out of tamarind to add to this sambar. Traditionally, tamarind is added to the sambar for a nice tangy flavor. 

I added handful of fresh cranberries to the sambar. And was absolutely thrilled with the amazing taste cranberries added to this sambar. The flavors of cranberries blend in sambar so well and gave a perfect tanginess to sambar!!

Cranberries are considered as a superfood, high in nutrients and antioxidant content, and so many health benefits. I think one should include this superfood into their daily diet. I try to incorporate cranberries into our diet and this is one of the recipe loved by my family.

We love flavors of  cranberries, I use cranberries in a variety of dishes from curry, sambar, Cranberry coconut chutney, to desserts.  During the season I make sure I stock up on fresh cranberries, so that I can use it year round. These cranberries freeze so well. 

 

 

 

WHAT LENTILS ARE USED FOR MAKING SAMBAR

Typically, sambar is made with tuvar (toor) dal, also known as arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils. However, moong dal (split yellow petite lentils) or masoor dal (red lentils), may also be used for making the sambar.

Sambar can be made with just one or combinations of dal, like tuvar and moong dal, or tuvar and masoor dal.

Occasionally, I also add some chickpeas or black eyed peas for extra flavor and added nutrients.

 

WHAT VEGETABLES ARE USED FOR MAKING SAMBAR

Sambar can be made with just one vegetable or a combination of vegetables. You can add as many or as little you like. Add veggies as per your liking. Some of the vegetables we like in our sambar are as follows:

  • LAUKI (BOTTLE GOURD)
  • ONIONS
  • TOMATOES
  • VEGETABLE DRUMSTICKS
  • RADISH
  • POTATOES
  • CARROTS
  • PEAS
  • GREEN BEANS
  • OKRA 
  • EGGPLANT
  • PUMPKIN
  • SPINACH

INGREDIENTS FOR CRANBERRY SAMBAR

TUVAR DAL (SPLIT PIGEON PEAS) – lentils for the base of the sambar

CRANBERRY – fresh or frozen cranberries, adds a nice tangy flavor to the chutney. increase or decrease as per taste.

LAUKI (BOTTLE GOURD) – peeled and cut into small pieces

ONION – chop into small pieces

TOMATO – chop into small pieces

VEGETABLE DRUMSTICKS – fresh or frozen

GREEN CHILI – green chili, increase or decrease to suit your taste.

GINGER – adds a peppery flavor

CURRY LEAVES (optional) – few curry leaves, fresh or dry work fine, adds a punch of flavor

SAMBAR MASALA – blend of spices and lentils, dry roasted and grind to a powder. 

TEMPERING – oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida, dry whole red chili, curry leaves 

 

HOW TO MAKE SAMBAR

Traditionally, sambar is made by cooking lentils and vegetables separately. First the lentils are cooked until they are mushy. Followed by, vegetables, sambar masala, some tamarind pulp and is simmered until veggies are cooked. Finally, tempered with some mustard seeds, asafoetida, dry whole red chili and curry leaves. Garnish with some handful of fresh cilantro. 

 

HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY SAMBAR

I make this sambar in Instant Pot as a one pot, using PIP (pot-in-pot) method. I cook lentils and vegetables in the same pot. Lentils in the inner (main) pot and stack a insert (bowl) of vegetables. After pressure cooking, I simply add the vegetables back to the lentils, add sambar masala, add the tempering, simmer for couple of minutes. Finish it off with some handful of fresh cilantro. Sambar is ready to be devoured.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CRANBERRY SAMBAR:

  1. Rinse the tuvar dal few times, until water runs clear. 
  2. Add the rinsed dal into the inner pot of IP, add water, turmeric powder, salt to taste.
  3. Add all the vegetables to the insert, add some water, turmeric powder, salt to taste.
  4. Place a trivet, place the insert with vegetables on the trivet. 
  5. Close Instant Pot, vent on sealing position. Select Manual / Pressure cook mode for 12 minutes.
  6. After the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally.
  7. Open the Instant Pot, carefully remove the insert using the tongs.
  8. Turn on the saute mode, add the vegetables to the inner pot.
  9. Add some sambar masala, red chili powder. Mix well.
  10. Bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the seasoning. 
  11. FOR TEMPERING – On a stove top, heat some oil in a pan, when oil is hot, add mustard seeds, let the seeds splutter. 
  12. Reduce the heat to low, add asafoetida, whole dry red chili, curry leaves.
  13. Turn off the heat, add the tempering over the sambar. Mix well. Enjoy!

TIPS FOR THE BEST CRANBERRY SAMBAR

A good quality sambar masala is a key for making this delicious sambar. Some prefer homemade sambar masala. I use MTR brand sambar masala. It tastes good and is easily available in most Asian / Indian grocery stores. You can use your choice of sambar masala. 

Cranberry is the star ingredient of this recipe. Fresh or frozen cranberries will work. Though cranberries are available year round where I live, I still prefer to buy the cranberries while in season. They are the best. I freeze these cranberries and use it year round for making chutney, curry, pickle and so much more.

We like our veggies cooked soft but not mushy. Therefore, the PIP method works fine for me. However, you can cook the veggies along with the dal, in the inner pot itself. 

Combination of vegetables add a nice flavor to the sambar. The taste of the sambar will depend on the vegetables used in the sambar. Personally, I like combination of lauki, vegetable drumsticks, onion, tomatoes. However, you can add veggies of your choice.

I prefer tempering the sambar at the end, gives nice aroma to the sambar. You can also do the tempering in the Instant pot, before adding the lentils, thus making it a one-pot meal. If doing the tempering first in the IP, skip the curry leaves in the tempering, you can add these later at the end while simmering the sambar. 

Fresh curry leaves add a nice flavor to the sambar. You can also use dry curry leaves instead, will work fine. Can’t find curry leaves where you live, feel free to skip the curry leaves, the sambar will still taste good.

We like medium consistency sambar. Adjust the consistency of the sambar by adding less or more water to suit your taste. If adding more water, adjust the seasoning as well. 

You can adjust the sour or tanginess in the sambar by adding little jaggery or brown sugar to balance the flavors.

After cooking sambar, if you find it less tangy, you can add more cranberries and simmer for few minutes. Alternatively you can also add some lemon or lime juice, or some tamarind pulp will also work fine.

Sambar tastes better after couple of hours as all the flavors blend in so well.

 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS FOR CRANBERRY SAMBAR

Serve this piping hot cranberry sambar with some white steamed rice or with some Rava idli, dosa, vada, uttapam and some Cranberry coconut chutney

 

 

 

HOW TO STORE CRANBERRY SAMBAR

Cranberry sambar stays fresh for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Store it in a air-tight, glass container. Avoid storing the sambar in a metal container.

Cranberry sambar can be frozen for upto a month. Freeze it in a freezer safe container. Defrost it in the refrigerator, heat and serve.

Here are some more recipes for you to enjoy!!

Ragda Pattice– white peas curry served over potato pattice

Dal Makhani –  creamy, flavorful dal made with black gram lentils, kidney beans

Aloo Gobi – simple, easy, delicious Potato Cauliflower curry

Broccoli Cheddar Soup – thick, creamy soup made with broccoli, cheddar cheese

Gajar ka Halwa – quick and easy carrot halwa.

Cranberry Mint Cilantro Chutney

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3 from 2 votes

Cranberry Sambar

Sambar is a most popular staple food in India. Lentils based vegetable stew or soup is highly nutritious and packed with proteins, vitamins and minerals from lentils and vegetables. A complete balanced meal when served with some rice or Rava idli. Sambar is VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, NUT-FREE.
Course Breakfast/Brunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword sambar, sambhar, cranberry, instant pot,instant pot recipes, instant pot sambar,vegetarian recipes, vegan recipes,gluten-free,nut-free
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Jyoti Behrani

Ingredients

FOR DAL:

FOR VEGGIES:

  • 1 cup lauki (bottle gourd), peeled and chop into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chop into small pieces
  • 1 medium tomato, chop into small pieces
  • 1-2 green chili, chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger, chopped
  • 6-8 fresh or frozen VEGETABLE DRUMSTICKS
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp TURMERIC POWDER
  • salt to taste

FOR TEMPERING:

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Instructions

INSTANT POT CRANBERRY SAMBAR:

  • Rinse the tuvar dal few times, until water runs clear.
  • Add the rinsed dal into the inner pot of IP, add water, turmeric powder, salt to taste.
  • Add all the vegetables to the insert, add some water, turmeric powder, salt to taste.
  • Place a trivet, place the insert with vegetables on the trivet.
  • Close Instant Pot, vent on sealing position. Select Manual / Pressure cook mode for 12 minutes.
  • After the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally.
  • Open the Instant Pot, carefully remove the insert using the tongs.
  • Turn on the saute mode, add the vegetables to the inner pot.
  • Add some sambar masala, red chili powder. Mix well.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the seasoning.

FOR TEMPERING:

  • On a stove top, heat some oil in a pan, when oil is hot, add mustard seeds, let the seeds splutter.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add asafoetida, whole dry red chili, curry leaves.
  • Turn off the heat, add the tempering over the sambar. Mix well. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. WHAT LENTILS ARE USED FOR MAKING SAMBAR - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
  2. WHAT VEGETABLES ARE USED FOR MAKING SAMBAR - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
  3. TIPS FOR THE BEST CRANBERRY SAMBAR - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
  4. SERVING SUGGESTIONS FOR CRANBERRY SAMBAR - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
  5. HOW TO STORE CRANBERRY SAMBAR - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
  6. FOR STOVE TOP PRESSURE COOKER - Follow the same recipe as discussed. After the first whistle reduce the heat to low, and cook for 12 minutes. Rest of the recipe is same as Instant Pot.

 

 

 

Jyoti Behrani

Hello!! Welcome to my blog, my journey Living Smart and Healthy! Cook with me easy and authentic Indian food and around the globe. Will be sharing tips and tricks on easy authentic cooking, without spending hours in the kitchen or comprising on authentic flavors. Keeping things simple and healthy is what I am all about. Life is simple, so lets keep cooking simple too!!

This Post Has 4 Comments


  1. Drumsticks? I thought this was vegan

    1. Hi Elizabeth, This recipe is Vegan. I am using Indian vegetable drumsticks, it is a seed pods, cultivated from the Moringa tree. The Indian vegetable drumsticks are easily available in Indian/Asian grocery stores. I have added a product link to the ingredients list. Kindly check it out. Hope this helps. Thanks!


  2. This was delicious! I didn’t have lauki and ended up using okra instead, Hopefully will get to try as written someday.

    1. Hi Chris, I am so glad you liked my recipe. Okra tastes good too in sambar. Thank you for trying my recipe and for your feedback!

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