Tomato Dal is also known as Tomato Pappu which is a South Indian style dal that is prepared with lentils, tomato, and a delicious South Indian tadka.
My best friend, Anu, is originally from Andhra Pradesh, and thanks to her mom, I've been able to experience delicious Andhra cuisine. In my 20s, when I'd visit Anu at her mom's house, I never left their home with an empty stomach. I ate all sorts of South Indian curries and the food was spicy and incredibly delicious.
Over the years, I managed to snag some delicious Andhra recipes, including this Tomato Pappu. This Tomato Dal is warm and comforting on a cold or rainy day.
What is Tomato Dal or Tomato Pappu?
Tomato Pappu is essentially Tomato Dal but it's cooked Andhra style. Just like North Indian Toor Dal, there is a version for South Indian Toor Dal.
This Tomato Pappu is prepared with lentils, tomatoes, and a delicious South Indian tadka which includes curry leaves, mustard seeds, and dry red chilies. The combo of spices is an explosion of flavors in your mouth.
Can I make this recipe vegan, gluten-free?
This Tomato Pappu is already vegan.
For gluten-free option, use gluten-free asafoetida (hing).
Tips on making Tomato Pappu:
- Soak the dal. Rinse and drain.
- Prep the ingredients.
- Cook the dal in the Instant Pot.
- Add the tadka.
- Garnish with lemon juice and cilantro.
Ingredients you’ll need for Tomato Dal:
Toor Dal: Toor Dal is also known as yellow split pigeon peas. Wash and soak the lentils for at least 30 minutes.
Green Chilies: I used Indian green chilies (or Thai green chilies) for this recipe. You may also use serrano peppers.
Tomatoes: I used plum tomatoes, you may also use Roma tomatoes.
Spices: Turmeric Powder. Salt. Mustard Seeds. Cumin Seeds. Asafoetida (hing).
Dry Red Chilies: You'll need 2-3 of these, broken.
Curry Leaves: Curry Leaves or Curry Pata is an essential ingredient in this Tomato Pappu, you can't omit this. You can easily find curry leaves at your local Indian grocery store.
Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: This chili powder adds color, not spice. If you don't have Kashmiri Red Chili Powder, use paprika.
Garlic: An essential ingredient when making Garlicky Tomato Dal.
Oil: I love using a high-heat oil such as Avocado Oil when making tadka (tempering).
Lemon: Juice of half a lemon.
Cilantro: You'll need fresh cilantro leaves for garnish.
Tomato Pappu is:
An Explosion of Flavors
Spicy & Tangy
How to make Tomato Dal recipe step by step?
1. Soak toor dal for 30 minutes at least. Once done, wash and rinse until the water runs clear.
2. Chop tomatoes and slice green chilies.
1. Add the drained toor dal to the Instant Pot along with tomatoes and green chilies.
2. Add 3 cups water, turmeric powder, and salt. Stir.
3. Close the Instant Pot. Cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes. Let the dal naturally release.
4. Once done, this is what you'll have. Stir.
1. This is what you'll need for the tadka.
2. Heat up a tadka pot on low-medium heat. Once hot, add oil.
3. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafoetida (hing). Saute the spices for a minute.
4. Now add the dry red chilies, curry leaves, garlic, and Kashmiri red chili powder. Saute for 30 - 60 seconds.
5. Add the tadka to the dal.
7. Top with lemon juice and cilantro. Adjust salt as needed.
8. Enjoy with hot basmati rice.
Pin & Enjoy!
More Dal Recipes!
Tomato Dal | Tomato PappuVegan, Gluten-free, Healthy
for the tomato dal
- 1 cup toor dal, yellow split pigeon peas
- 2 green chili
- 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt, more if needed
- 3 cups water
for the tadka
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida, hing
- 2-3 dry red chilies, broken
- 12 curry leaves, curry pata
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, or paprika
- juice of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Soak toor dal for 30 minutes at least. Once done, wash and rinse until the water runs clear.
- Chop tomatoes and slice green chilies.
- Add the drained toor dal to the Instant Pot along with tomatoes and green chilies.
- Add 3 cups water, turmeric powder, and salt. Stir.
- Close the Instant Pot. Cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes. Let the dal naturally release.
- Once done, this is what you'll have. Stir.
Make the Tadka (Tempering)
- This is what you'll need for the tadka.
- Heat up a tadka pot on low-medium heat. Once hot, add oil.
- Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafoetida (hing). Saute the spices for a minute.
- Now add the dry red chilies, curry leaves, and garlic. Saute for 30 - 60 seconds.
- Add the tadka to the dal.
- Top with lemon juice and cilantro. Adjust salt as needed.
- Enjoy with hot basmati rice.
Superb in taste and ease of making! This recipe turned out absolutely AMAZING... Thanks Nisha! You're a rockstar!
Kati T says
Amazing instant pot version of tomato Dal! 10/10 so easy but doesn't skimp on flavor! Nisha does it again🔥
Made this tonight! So yummy and amazing
Aarthi ramachandran says
Loved this recipe!! Sooo easy to make and soo delicious and healthy!! Highly recommend trying this out
Loved the easy recipe and the dal came out so yummy!! I really liked that you added lemon / lime juice at the end instead of tamarind…. It gave a better flavor to the dal. Will be making this on repeat!!
Genev M says
Loved this recipe. So simple & so easy to make. Thanks for this simple yet delish recipe Nisha.
Just made this dal, it's D E L I C I O U S. For real. It's perfect in its simplicity. I ate 2 bowls of it, no rice needed. Yum Yum..
It’s actually good
Its a one pot easy to make meal
Definitely worth the try
Suhani. So glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for your comment. 🙂
Ritu Chhangani says
This was so good! Glad I finally made it and everyone enjoyed the flavors! Super easy too
Unfortunately the recipe did not work for me, The dal was extremely watery and I had to finish it on the stove to cook off all the extra water. I also noticed the kashmiri red chili powder is listed in the ingredients but not in the instructions, so I did not add it.
I'm sorry to hear this recipe didn't work out for you. I added the kashmiri red chili powder to the instructions - thanks for letting me know.