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, and garlic. 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 Pappu
for the tomato dal
for the tadka
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 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.