Tomato Pappu | Tomato Dal

Step by StepJump to Recipe

Tomato pappu is a tangy lentil dish made with healthy pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal), plenty of tomatoes, piquant onions, fragrant herbs and spices. Also known as tomato dal this recipe is inspired from the Andhra cuisine known for its bold and spicy flavors. However, this Andhra style tomato pappu recipe is neither spicy nor hot and makes for a comforting lunch or dinner with a side of steamed rice.

tomato dal served with basmati rice with a side of pickle and vegetable salad

Dal is also called as “Pappu” in the Telugu language. Dal means lentils in Hindi language and is a staple in Indian homes. There are many variations of making dal which vary from state to state as well as from home to home.

This tomato dal has the tang and the flavors of tomatoes. Here I have done the tempering first and then sautéed the onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Later arhar dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils) are added and cooked until the lentils are softened.

The result is a mild, slightly tangy and comforting dal that is best had with steamed rice and some sprinkling of ghee. Have a side vegetable dish or a vegetable raita and you have a complete meal.

In the photo below, Tomato dal is served with Avakaya (Andhra Mango Pickle), onion-tomato salad and steamed rice.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Tomato Pappu

1. Pick and then rinse ½ cup arhar dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils) a couple of times in fresh water.

rinsing arhar dal in fresh water

2. Soak the arhar dal in water for 15 to 20 minutes.

soaked arhar dal in water

3. Later drain all the water and place the arhar dal aside.

soaked arhar dal

4. Chop onion, tomatoes and green chili. Measure and keep all the ingredients ready for making tomato pappu.

ingredients for making tomato dal

Making tomato pappu

5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil or ghee in a stovetop pressure cooker. Keep the heat to low.

ghee in a pressure cooker

6. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds first.

mustard seeds added to ghee

7. Let the mustard seeds crackle.

crackling mustard seeds

8. Then add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and let them splutter on low heat.

cumin seeds added

9. Then add ⅓ to ½ cup chopped onions and 10 to 12 curry leaves.

chopped onions and curry leaves added

10. Next add 1 green chili (chopped).

chopped green chilies added

11. Sauté the onions stirring often till they become translucent on low to medium-low heat.

sauteing onions

12. Then add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste. For making ginger-garlic paste, you can crush 1 inch ginger and 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves to a paste in a mortar-pestle.

ginger garlic paste added

13. Saute for a few seconds on low to medium-low heat or till the raw aroma from both ginger and garlic goes away.

sauteing ginger garlic paste

14. Then add 2 medium-sized chopped tomatoes or approx 1 to 1.25 cups chopped tomatoes. Stir and mix well.

chopped tomatoes added

15. Then add the following ingredients:

  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • salt as required

Note – To make the dish gluten-free skip adding asafoetida or include gluten-free asafoetida.

spices and salt added

16. Stir and mix well. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes on a medium-low heat.

mix and sauteing the mixture

17. Then add the soaked tuvar dal to the pressure cooker.

arhar dal added

18. Mix well and then add 2 cups water.

water added to arhar dal mixture

19. Stir and mix again.

mix water with dal mixture

Cooking tomato dal

20. Pressure cook on high heat for 7 to 8 whistles or till the dal is cooked completely. The number of whistles needed depends upon the size of the pressure cooker, the intensity of heat and quality of arhar dal.

The aged dal takes more time to cook. So for best taste, it is important to use fresh arhar dal that is in its shelf life. Preferably try to use unpolished tuvar dal.

pressure cooking tomato dal

21. When the pressure settles down on its own, then only remove the lid of the pressure cooker.

cooked tomato dal in the pressure cooker

22. Mash the dal lightly with a wooden spatula or spoon.

mashing tomato dal with a spoon

23. If in case the consistency of tomato pappu is thick for you then add water as required to get a medium consistency.

Mix well and simmer tomato dal for 5 to 6 minutes on a low to medium-low heat till you get a consistency that is neither thin nor thick but has a medium consistency. Stir dal at intervals when it is simmering.

Check the taste of tomato dal and add more salt if required. Switch off the heat.

prepared tomato dal in the pressure cooker

24. Garnish the tomato dal with coriander leaves.

garnishing tomato dal with coriander leaves

25. Serve tomato dal hot or warm with steamed rice, mango pickle and vegetable salad or any vegetable side dish that you prefer.

If you like you can drizzle some ghee while serving. The leftovers can be used within a day. But keep the leftover dal refrigerated.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

If you are looking for more Dal recipes then do check:

If you made this recipe, please be sure to rate it in the recipe card below. Sign Up for my email newsletter or you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest or Twitter for more vegetarian inspirations.

tomato dal recipe, tomato pappu recipe, andhra tomato pappu recipe

Tomato Pappu Recipe | Tomato Dal

Tomato pappu recipe is Andhra style tomato dal where pigeon pea lentils are cooked with tomatoes and other spices-herbs. Slightly tangy and a flavorful dal best had with steamed rice.
4.96 from 25 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine Andhra, South Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

  • ½ cup arhar dal (tuvar dal, pigeon pea lentils)
  • 2 tablespoons oil or ghee
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium sized onion – approx ⅓ to ½ cup chopped onions
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 1 green chili – chopped
  • 1 inch ginger + 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves – crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle or 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 medium tomatoes – approx 1 to 1.25 cups chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 cups water for pressure cooking
  • salt as required

Instructions
 

Soaking arhar dal

  • Pick and rinse arhar dal a couple of times in fresh water. Then soak the arhar dal (pigeon pea lentils) in fresh water for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Later drain all the water from the dal and keep the arhar dal aside. 

Making tomato dal

  • Heat oil or ghee in a stovetop pressure cooker.
  • Add the mustard seeds first and let them crackle on low heat.
  • Then add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add the onions, curry leaves and green chilies. Sauté the onions stirring often on low to medium-low heat till they turn translucent.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for a few seconds on a low to medium-low heat or till their raw aroma goes away. 
  • Now add the tomatoes, red chili powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida (hing) and salt as required. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes on a medium-low heat.
  • Add the lentils and water. Stir and mix well. 

Cooking tomato pappu

  • Pressure cook on high heat for 5 to 6 whistles or till the dal is cooked completely. Timing to cook dal will depend upon the quality of dal, size of pressure cooker and intensity of heat.
  • When the pressure settles down, then only remove the lid.
  • Mash the dal lightly. If the consistency is thick then add water as required to get a medium consistency in the dal. Stir and mix well. 
  • Simmer the tomato dal for 5 to 6 minutes on a low to medium-low heat till you get a dal which is neither thin nor thick but having a medium consistency.
  • Once you get the right consistency, check the taste and add more salt if required.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve tomato pappu hot or warm with steamed rice, mango pickle and vegetable salad.
  • While serving you can add a bit of ghee.

Notes

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • Use fresh arhar dal that is in its shelf period. Don’t use aged arhar dal. I recommend using unpolished tuvar dal for the best taste.
  • To make a spicy tomato pappu add more green chilies and red chili powder.
  • For a no onion no garlic version, simply don’t add the onions and garlic.
  • If you are not fond of ginger then only add the garlic paste or finely chopped garlic.
  • Instead of green chilies you can also add dry red chilies. Remember to remove their seeds.
  • You can alter the consistency of the tomato dal by adding more or less water.
  • You can also make this dal in the Instant pot adding water as needed.

How to make tomato dal in a pan?

  • Soak lentils for an hour before cooking them.
  • Follow the same recipe method. However, add 3 to 3.5 cups of water and cover & cook the lentils till they become soft and thoroughly cooked. There should be no separate grains visible. The consistency of the lentils should be smooth and creamy. Add more water if required.
  • Use a deep pot while cooking as the lentils start frothing while cooking. If the mixture froths up and starts coming out, then remove the lid and cook. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Tomato Pappu Recipe | Tomato Dal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 155 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Sodium 648mg28%
Potassium 230mg7%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 756IU15%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 29mg145%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 64mg78%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 7µg7%
Calcium 42mg4%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 311µg78%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 16mg4%
Phosphorus 32mg3%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Like what you see?

Stay up to date with new recipes and ideas.

This Tomato Dal post from the archives (September 2013) has been updated and republished on 17 October 2021.

Share This Recipe:

PinWhatsAppPrintShares2.2k

Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

Get My Secrets to Great Indian Food
Sign up for my FREE Beginners Guide to Delicious Indian Cooking

Comments are closed.

52 Comments

  1. Super attractive site which is totally different and unique from the other recipe sites .

    I like the step by step pictures , which are better than videos ,since in videos one needs to note down the steps and see it many times.

    Prepared Tomato pappu , worked right in first try .Keep posting new dishes .5 stars

    1. thanks a lot sudarshan. i know in videos this happens. i think structuring recipes with photos of each step is more helpful. as an internet user also, i prefer step wise method to showcase anything be a recipe or a hobby or art. thanks also for sharing the feedback and review on tomato pappu. happy cooking.

See More Comments