Tomato Dal

Tomato Dal


Famously South Indian

A hot favourite of South India, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, Tomato Dal is a nutritive, simple and tasty Dal. It is also known as “tomato Pappu” in the regional language Telugu. The combination of vegetables and dal makes this a very flavourful and nutritive dish.

The taste & flavour of Tomatoes

Tomato Dal, as the name indicates, is made with tomatoes as the hero of the Dal. The overall flavour is a tangy, mildly spicy, and very comforting tomato-based taste. On a cold winter day, a steaming hot dal with rice is just what you want.

Specially Tomato

Yes, it is the tomato that plays the most important role in the taste texture and flavour of this dal. When combined with the other spices and condiments, this dal develops a unique flavour that is suitable for all palates.

Serve & Present with flair

Serve this dal hot with steamed rice, garnished with chopped green coriander. A side accompaniment of a vegetable dish or a raita, which is a curd-based accompaniment, it works well to make your meal a wholesome and nutritive one. You can also add a mango pickle to the meal along with chopped onion-tomato raw salad to enhance the flavours of your tomato dal.

Brief summary

Tomato dal is best made with Tur Dal or Split Pigeon Pea Lentils. You can either pre-cook the dal in a pressure cooker and then add the tempering or then you can make this dal directly in the pressure cooker.



Tomato Dal

Introducing the recipe

This recipe calls for a blend of flavours that includes ginger garlic onions and tomatoes. These ingredients along with some condiments like mustard seeds, cumin seeds etc come together to make a delicious dal for your lunch or dinner menu.

Servings 3


Step one

  • Two measures Tur Dal
  • Three measures water
  • Pinch turmeric powder
  • Pinch asafoetida powder
  • ¼ teaspoon oil

Step Two

ingredients that you need

  • 1/4th teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1/4th teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 finely sliced onion (the size would depend on how much you like)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ghee, clarified butter or any cooking oil of your choice
  • 2 green chillies cut small
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic, grated or made into paste
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger also grated or a paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (you can add more if you like it spicy)
  • 5-6 Kadi Patta or Curry Leaves
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, cubed
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch sugar

How to make

  1. Wash and clean your tur dal. Soak for about 10-15 minutes. Then without throwing away the water, put in a Pressure Cooker, add all the other ingredients and set to cook. 

  2. If you have a cooker that whistles, then cook the dal for about 3 whistles on medium flame. If not, then let it pressure cook for about 5-7 minutes. 

  3. Your dal should be cooked to a slightly mushy consistency. If it is looking grainy then it may not have cooked fully. 

The Instructions for your Tomato Dal

  1. Take a wok or a saucepan. Pour the ghee or cooking oil and let it heat.

  2. Add mustard seeds and wait for them to crackle and pop. 

  3. Add cumin seeds

  4. Add onions and fry till they turn slightly pink

  5. Add turmeric powder

  6. Added chilli powder

  7. Add curry leaves, let sizzle

  8. Add ginger

  9. Add garlic

  10. Add green chillies

  11. Fry a little.

Now add ¾ quantity of your tomatoes. Mix well and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and sugar to your Tomato Dal

  1. Add your dal and fold it all in together. You may or may not add water at this point. Some like a thick mushy dal, some like it a little less thick so it goes well with rice. Mix well and your Tomato Dal is ready. 

  2. Bring to boil on high flame for about 2 minutes and take off the heat. Pour in to a serving bowl and garnish with leftover tomato and chopped green coriander. 

  3. Serve hot Tomato Dal with hot steamed rice.

There is a third way of making this Tomato dal.

  1. Wash and soak your tur dal for about 30 minutes. 

  2. Take a pressure cooker. Add ghee or cooking oil, let heat.

  3. Do the tempering as given above and add your raw tur dal instead of the cooked tur dal. Now mix well and add water. 

  4. About 2-3 measure should do it. Make sure it’s not too much or you will have a frothy mess on your hands. Ideally the water level should be about an inch and a half above the dal. Cover and pressure cook for about 3 whistles.

  5. Let the pressure release before you open the cooker. Pour in to a bowl, garnish and serve as given. 


  1. The dal will stay under refrigeration for a day or two or even more but there
    will be a slight change in its overall flavour.
  2. This quantity serves 2-3 people assuming there are other dishes on the menu. If it’s is a standalone item, then it would be enough for two.
  3. If you are making the Tomato Dal without pressure cooking the dal then you need to modify a few steps.
  4. Now your tur dal has to be soaked for at least an hour or two. Then put the dal in a deep saucepan, add 3-3 ½ measures of water and let it boil. Tur dal starts frothing when it boils so be careful else it will spill out of the vessel.
  5. Add more water if need be and check for consistency. The dal should be soft and mushy not hard and grainy. If it mashes in your fingers, then it is done.
  6. Once your tur dal is ready, follow the tempering as normal.

Given below are approximate nutritive values of tomato Dal.

  • Calories 130
  • Total Fat 7g
  • Saturated Fat 2g
  • Sodium 740mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 11g
  • Dietary Fibre 2g
  • Protein 4g
  • Iron 6%
  • Calcium 6%

The calorie values would depend on what cooking oil you use and in what quantity.

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