Slow Cooker / Crockpot Recipes – Sambar ( Spicy Lentil Soup)


slow cooker sambar 11

A slow cooker, also popularly known as Crock-pot is a countertop  electrical cooking appliance, used for cooking food at a low heat set up for a long amount of time. A person using a slow cooker must have some planning as to what goes into it – like  some  prep work done in the morning before leaving for work, so the meals are cooked by the time you get home in the evening.  I’m not a big fan of slow cookers and very rarely use it. I know my  pressure cooker can get the same work done in minutes so never really bothered to use it for everyday cooking except for few fancy soups recipes and to keep big batch of gravies warm during parties while my stove is crowded with other things.

The positive side are that these units are safe enough to handle and present no danger of an abrupt pressure release, easy clean up and extremely inexpensive to purchase. It can be a lifesaver for all new cooks, bachelors, working parents and parents with little babies or for all who have trouble using traditional pressure cookers. The biggest fans of all seem to be folks that aren’t big on being in the kitchen and would rather dump a few things in a slow cooker as they head out and come home to find an eatable, but forgettable meal awaiting them with little cleanup.

Here is an attempt by me to make Sambar/ Lentil soup which for an experienced cook will  sound very silly as its takes about 10 hours of cooking time but will be very useful recipe for a beginners.

Lentil Soup / Crockpot Recipes / Slow cooker recipes / Crockpot Sambar / Sambhar / Lentil Curry / Indian Toor Dal / Thuvaram Paruppu Sambar / Lentil Soup


Ingredients – 1
Toor dal / Split Yellow Pigeon peas   1 cup
Turmeric Powder 1/4 teaspoon
Water 5 cups


 Ingredients – 2
Onion  1 medium size
Tomato 1 small
Mixed vegetables (Chopped) 1 carrot+ 3 green beans + 3 drumstick pieces
Oil 2 teaspoon
Ghee 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Dry Red Chili 2 count
Curry leaves 5 count
Asafoetida Powder 1/2 teaspoon
Red Chili Powder 1 teaspoon
Coriander Powder 2 teaspoon
Sambar Powder (optional) 1 teaspoon
Salt 1+ 1/2 teaspoon
Tamarind juice 2 teaspoon
Coriander Leaves 5 stalks for garnishing




Its takes about 8 hours for Toor dal (with no pre-soaking) to cook in crock-pot in high setting.  The dal doesn’t turn 100% mushy but turns out real soft in consistency. Here are few options for you

1. If you plan to make sambar for morning breakfast then start this dal cooking process(dal + turmeric powder) the night before and let it cook overnight. The next day just add tadka/ tempering with little (sambar onions + Sambar powder) and finish with some cilantro garnish. (No extra veggies)

2. If you plan for dinner then, start the process in the morning and let it cook of r 8 hours. In the evening when you get back from work , your dal should be ready, just add (tempering +veggies+ Spice powders) and simmer on high for 1-2 hours and you will be all set by dinner time.

Slow cooker sambar 1


Add the Toor dal and water with turmeric powder to the slow cooker pot.


slow cooker sambar 2

I’ve added 5 cups of water for 1 cup of Toor dal.


slow cooker sambar 3

Put the heavy glass lid on and make sure not to lock the lid. (The lid lock is only for transporting the content to avoid spills and not intended for cooking process)


slow cooker sambar 4


Set the temperature to high. Now get back to your work and forget this for the next 8 hours.


After 8 hours of cooking the dal consistency look like this. The dal will be cooked fully but not mushy enough. So  if you prefer mushy style then  use a flat laddle to mash.


slow cooker sambar 5



Now for the tempering part and adding veggies: There are two reasons for not adding the veggies in the beginning.

1. I don’t want the veggies to cook for more time as it might over cook and loose all  its nutrients

2. I want my dal to be mushy before I add the veggies.

If both these reasons doesn’t bother you then add everything together and proceed.


Heat oil and ghee in a pan and add mustard, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chili and curry leaves. Sprinkle asafoetida powder followed by sliced onion, tomato and veggies. Saute for few minutes and add it to the cooked dal.


slow cooker sambar 6


Add red chili powder + coriander powder

slow cooker sambar 7

Add salt and tamarind juice.


slow cooker sambar 8


Add sambar powder – this step is optional.


slow cooker sambar 9


Close it with the lid and cook for another 2 hours.


slow cooker sambar 10


Finally garnish with coriander leaves.


slow cooker sambar 11



Your crockpot/ Slow cooker sambar is ready to be served.




Yield: 4 cups of sambar serves 4 adults.




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