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Instant Pot Tomato Dal | Andhra Style Tomato Pappu Recipe is prepared with lentils, tomato, and a delicious tadka with curry leaves, mustard seeds, garlic, and dry red chilies. This South Indian dal is healthy, light, and delicious. A quick and easy weeknight meal.

Andhra Style Tomato Pappu
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★★★★★
“Amazing instant pot version of tomato Dal! 10/10 so easy but doesn’t skimp on flavor! Nisha does it again 🔥.”
– Kati T.


My best friend, Anu, is originally from Andhra Pradesh, and after meeting her in college I’ve been able to experience delicious Andhra cuisine. Prior to meeting my bestie, I assumed South Indian food was just idli, dosa, sambar… that’s so not the case.

South Indian curries and dals are beyond delicious. The combination of mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, and curry pata in practically every dish adds depts of flavors to the curries. In all the years I’ve known Anu, I have never left her home hungry.

Over the years, I managed to snag some delicious Andhra recipes from my bestie’s mom, including this Andhra Tomato Dal which is light, delicious, and so comforting.



What is Tomato Dal or Andhra Style Tomato Pappu Recipe

Pappu is a Telugu word that means dal, thus Tomato Pappu is essentially Andhra Tomato Dal. This is one of the easiest dals to make as it only requires chopping tomatoes, garlic, and cilantro.

Tomato Pappu is comfort food and is prepared with simple ingredients such as lentils, tomatoes, and a delicious South Indian tadka which includes curry leaves, mustard seeds, dry red chilies, and tons of garlic. The combo of spices is an explosion of flavors in your mouth.

Tomato Dal Andhra Tomato Pappu

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Warm & Comforting
  • Soothes the Soul
  • Easy Weeknight Meal
  • Delicious Andhra Meal
  • Garlicky Goodness
  • Healthy
  • Vegan

Ingredients

Ingredients Tomato Dal Pappu

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 chillies) 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 dried red chilies, broken.

Curry Leaves: Sprig Curry Leaves or Curry Pata is an essential ingredient in this Andhra 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: Fresh garlic cloves are an essential ingredient when making Garlicky Tomato Dal.

Oil: Use a flavorless high-heat oil, such as avocado oil.

Lemon: You will need the juice of half a lemon, and a little more if needed.

Fresh Cilantro: Finish off this dal with chopped fresh coriander leaves.


How to make Tomato Dal Recipe – Step by Step Instructions

Step 1 – Soak & Cook Dal in Instant Pot

1. Soak toor dal for 30 minutes at least. Once done, wash and rinse until the water runs clear.

2. Add washed and drained dal to the Instant Pot. Add 3 3/4 cups of water.

3. Add tomatoes, green chilies, turmeric powder, and salt.

4. Close the Instant Pot and High Pressure for 8 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release.

Soak and Cook Tomato Dal in Instant Pot

5. Once the dal is cooked, this is what you should have.

6. Whisk the cooked dal well and it’ll become creamy.

Whisk Tomato Dal

Step 2 – Prepare Tadka & Add to Dal

1. Heat up a tadka pot on medium flame. Once hot, add oil followed by mustard seeds and cumin seeds. They will splutter.

2. Next add asafoetida (hing) and dry red chilies.

TIP: For spicier Tomato Dal, add more dry red chilies. You can also add more green chilies when cooking the dal. Additionally, you can use red chilli powder instead of Kashmiri Lal Mirch when making the tadka.

3. Then add garlic and curry leaves.

4. Finally, add Kashmiri Red Chili Powder. Saute for 30-60 seconds until the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned.

Prepare Tadka for Tomato Pappu

5. Here is your tadka

6. Add tadka to the dal.

7. Then add fresh cilantro leaves.

8. Finally, add freshly squeezed lemon juice. Enjoy with hot basmati rice.

TIP: For a thinner dal consistency, add another 1/2 cup of water. Taste as you go so the dal isn’t diluted.

Add Tadka to Tomato Dal

Tips on Making the Best Tomato Pappu

  • Soak the dal. Rinse and drain.
  • Cook the dal in the Instant Pot. Let the pressure naturally release.
  • Whisk the dal which helps create a creamy texture.
  • Make sure the oil is hot when preparing the tadka. Cook the garlic until fragrant.
  • Add the tadka. Garnish with lemon juice and cilantro.

Serving Suggestions

✔️ Tomato Pappu is best served piping hot and goes best with plain basmati hot rice or Instant Pot Jeera Rice. A dollop of ghee on top would be delicious.

✔️ Serve with a side of achaar such as mango pickle, lime pickle, or my favorite – gongura pickle.

✔️ Pair pappu with a dry South Indian curry such as Capsicum Kura or any potato fry such as, Jeera Aloo. A side of kachumber salad or Indian Salad is delicious too.

Tomato Pappu Serving Suggestion

Storage

→ Refrigerator: Store dal in an airtight container and place it in the fridge. It’ll keep well for up to 4 days.

→ Freezer: You can also freeze dal for up to 1 month. Once cooled, I transferred the dal to a Ziploc bag and froze it. You can also use a freezer-safe container. 24 hours before serving, remove the dal from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Tomato Pappu vegan?

Yes. This recipe is vegan.

2. Is Tomato Dal gluten-free?

No. This recipe uses asafoetida (hing) which is not gluten-free. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free hing or omit it.

3. Can I use canned tomatoes or tomato puree in this recipe?

No. You need to use fresh tomatoes for the best results.

4. Can I make Pappu Tomato Curry in a pressure cooker?

Yes, you can. I haven’t made this dal in the pressure cooker so I’m not sure how many whistles you will need.


More Dal Recipes!

Tried this recipe? If so, please leave a comment & rate this recipe. That would mean so much to me. If you’re on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your creations. I’m happy to share and mention you. Thank you!


This recipe was first published on March 11, 2022, and has been modified and updated since.

4.82 from 16 votes

Tomato Dal | Andhra Style Tomato Pappu Recipe

By: Nisha
Instant Pot Tomato Dal is also known as Tomato Pappu, an Andhra-style Dal that is prepared with lentils, tomato, and a delicious tadka with curry leaves, mustard seeds, garlic, and dry red chilies.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Equipment

Ingredients 

for the tomato dal

  • 1 1/4 cup toor dal, yellow split pigeon peas
  • 2 green chili
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt, more if needed
  • 3 3/4 cups water

for the tadka

for garnish

  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
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Instructions 

Step 1 – Soak & Cook Dal in Instant Pot

  • Soak toor dal for 30 minutes at least. Once done, wash and rinse until the water runs clear.
  • Add washed and drained dal to the Instant Pot. Add 3 3/4 cups of water.
  • Add tomatoes, green chilies, turmeric powder, and salt.
  • Close the Instant Pot and High Pressure for 8 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release.
  • Once the dal is cooked, this is what you should have.
  • Whisk the dal well and it’ll become creamy.

Step 2 – Prepare Tadka & Add to Dal

  • Heat up a tadka pot on low-medium heat. Once hot, add oil followed by mustard seeds and cumin seeds. They will splutter.
  • Next add asafoetida (hing) and dry red chilies.
  • Then add garlic and curry leaves.
  • Finally, add Kashmiri Red Chili Powder. Saute for 30-60 seconds until you can smell the garlic.
  • Here is your tadka
  • Add tadka to the dal.
  • Then add fresh cilantro leaves.
  • Finally, add freshly squeezed lemon juice. Enjoy with hot basmati rice.

Video

Notes

 
  • For Gluten-free option: Asafoetida (hing) has gluten. For a gf version, use gluten-free asafoetida (hing) or omit it.
  • For Spicier Tomato Dal: Use more dry red chilies and green chilies. You can also use red chili powder instead of Kashmiri lal mirch.
  • For Creamy Dal: Once the dal is cooked in the Instant Pot, whisk it well.

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 573mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 809IU | Vitamin C: 101mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Andhra Cuisine, Indian, South Indian
Tried this recipe?Mention @honeywhatscooking or tag #honeywhatscooking!

Hi, I'm Nisha!

I'm a foodie who is passionate about healthy-ish living and mindful eating. You'll find a bit of everything here. I use mostly organic real ingredients and incorporate seasonal produce in my cooking. I believe food is medicine. Join me on this soul-searching journey as I share my love for good food, and I hope I inspire you to eat better somewhere along the way.


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4.82 from 16 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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15 Comments

  1. Hi! Since I don’t have an instant pot, I’ll use a regular pressure cooker but was wondering if you still put the tomatoes and green chilies in? Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    I made Tomato Dal using ur recipe . Being from south India, my mom made this quite often and was craving for some today . Ur recipe tasted exactly like my mom’s . Thank You Nisha