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A bowl of brinjal sambar is on the table.
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5 from 4 votes

Brinjal Sambar Recipe - Instant Pot + Stovetop

My version of the sambar is made primarily from Toor dal (pigeon pea lentils), eggplant, tamarind & supporting spices.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 166kcal
Author: Uma Srinivas



  • 6- 8 small purple Brinjal Eggplant
  • ½ cup Toor dal
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 4 green chilies
  • 2 tablespoon Sambar powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Small lemon sized tamarind or 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 2 red chilies optional
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon split black gram
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoon grated jaggery or use brown powder


Stove Top Directions:

  • Place a pan over medium heat and drizzle a little oil (vegetable or olive oil).
  • As the oil heats up, add mustard seeds, split black gram and red chilies.
  • Fry them until they turn golden. Add curry leaves and continue to saute for 10 seconds. Add Sambar powder and saute for about 30 seconds.
  • Add green chilies and chopped onions and saute them until the onions turn transparent.
  • Add the sliced Brinjal and follow up with turmeric powder and a cup of water.
    A pan is with brinjal and spices.
  • Place a cover on the pan and let it simmer for 8 minutes or until its a little soft.
  • Add tamarind water or paste and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Now it's time to add Toor dal (steam cooked). Add water and salt to your desired consistency and taste. Stir well and simmer for 2 more mins.
    A close up of food, with Sambar
  • Eggplant Sambar is ready to be served with steamed rice!

Instant Pot Directions

  • Add oil to the inner pot in your Instant Pot and press the sauté option.
  • As the oil heats up, add mustard seeds and urad dal.
  • When the mustard seeds start to sputter, add curry leaves and green chilies and stir well for a minute.
  • Add onions and continue to saute for at least a minute.
  • Add brinjal pieces, turmeric, and sambar powder and stir well for an even mixture.
  • Add split Toor dal (split pigeon pea), tamarind, 2 ½ cup water, and salt.
  • Close the lid of the instant pot. Turn the steam release handle to the “sealing” position. Press on the “Pressure cooking” setting and set the timer for 6 minutes.
  • When time is up open the lid using 10 minutes natural release option.
  • Garnish with cilantro and Eggplant Sambar is ready!
  • Pair it with steamed rice, Dosa or Idli….


  • For the instant pot version after rinsing the Toor dal in clean water soak it until you finish your prep work. (10 mins)
  • You can use curry powder instead of sambar powder.
  • use small green or purple eggplants for this recipe
  • Wash and soak the brinjals in the water after its chopped, this help in retaining the color
  • Use tamarind or tamarind paste do not skip this
  • Add jaggery to enhance the flavor, you could substitute with brown sugar


Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 167mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 261IU | Vitamin C: 63mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg