tomato pappu recipe | tomato dal recipe | andhra pappu recipe

Jump to Recipe

Andhra tomato dal recipe with step by step photos. This Tomato dal or Tomato pappu is inspired from the Andhra cuisine known for its bold and spicy flavors. However, This Andhra style tomato dal is neither spicy nor hot.

tomato dal, tomato pappu

Dal is also called as “pappu” in the telugu language. dal is a staple in Indian homes and there are many 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 (pigeon pea lentils) are added and cooked till done. The result is a mild, slightly tangy and comforting dal that is best had with steamed rice and some ghee. Have a side vegetable dish or a vegetable raita and you have a complete meal.

In the pic below, Tomato dal is served with Andhra mango pickle, onion-tomato salad and steamed rice.

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. If you want more delicious vegetarian Indian recipes delivered straight to your inbox, Sign Up for my email newsletter.

If you’re looking to brighten up your feed with beautiful, delicious and attainable Vegetarian Indian or World recipes, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest or Twitter.

Like this Recipe?
Pin it Now to Remember it Later

Pin Recipe Now

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

tomato pappu

4.95 from 18 votes
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.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Cuisine Andhra, South Indian
Course: Main Course

Servings 4


  • 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
  • ½ 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


soaking arhar dal

  • Pick, rinse and soak arhar dal (pigeon pea lentils) for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Later drain all the water and keep the lentils aside. 

making tomato dal

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

cooking tomato dal

  • Pressure cook on high flame for 5 to 6 whistles or till the dal is cooked completely. Timing to cook dal will depend upon the quality of dal and intensity of flame.
  • When the pressure settles down, remove the lid.
  • Mash the dal lightly and add ½ cup water or as required to get a medium consistency in the dal. Mix well. 
  • Simmer the tomato dal for 5 to 7 minutes on a low to medium flame till you get a dal which is neither thin nor thick but having a medium consistency.
  • Check the taste and add more salt if required.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve andhra tomato pappu hot with steamed rice, pickle and vegetable salad.


To make this dal without a pressure cooker:
  • Soak lentils for an hour before cooking them.
  • Follow the same recipe method. However, add 3 to 3.5 cups 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. 

Like our videos? Then do follow and subscribe to us on youtube to get the latest Recipe Video updates.

Tried this recipe?If you have made the recipe and liked it then do share the recipe link on facebook, twitter & pinterest. For instagram mention @vegrecipesofindia and tag #vegrecipesofindia!

Preparation to make tomato pappu or tomato dal

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

Andhra tomato dal recipe

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

Andhra tomato dal recipe

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

Andhra tomato dal recipe

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

Andhra tomato dal recipe

Making tomato pappu

5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil or ghee in a pressure cooker.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

6. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds first.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

7. Let the mustard seeds crackle.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

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

Andhra tomato dal recipe

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

Andhra tomato dal recipe

10. Next add 1 green chili (chopped).

Andhra tomato dal recipe

11. Sauté the onions till they become translucent.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

12. Then add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste. For making ginger-garlic paste, you can crush ½ inch ginger and 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves to a paste in a mortar-pestle.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

13. Saute for a few seconds on a low to medium flame till the raw smell from both ginger and garlic goes away.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

14. Then add 2 medium sized tomatoes (chopped) or approx 1 to 1.25 cups chopped tomatoes. Mix well.

15. Add ¼ teaspoon red chili powder, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) and salt as required.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

16. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes on a medium-low flame.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

17. Then add the arhar dal (lentils).

Andhra tomato dal recipe

18. Mix well and then add 2 cups water.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

19. Mix again.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

Cooking tomato dal

20. Pressure cook on high flame for 7 to 8 whistles or till the dal is cooked completely.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

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

Andhra tomato dal recipe

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

Andhra tomato dal recipe

23. Add ½ cup water Or as required in the dal to get a medium consistency. Mix well.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

24. Simmer tomato dal for 5 to 7 minutes on a low to medium flame till you get a dal which is neither thin nor thick but having a medium consistency. Stir dal at intervals when its simmering.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

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

Andhra tomato dal recipe

26. Garnish the tomato dal with coriander leaves.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

27. Serve Andhra tomato dal hot with steamed rice, pickle and vegetable salad.

Andhra tomato dal recipe

Share This Recipe:

Dassana Amit

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.


  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.

  2. Hi!

    Let me start by saying that I just recently made your recipe for Bisi Bele Bath and it was probably the best Indian dish I’ve ever made.

    This Dal recipe was also fantastic but it ended up a little bitter. Do you have any thoughts as to what ingredient could have caused this is not cooked perfectly?

    Me second question is why do some versions of dal temper at the end while your recipe does not? Do you think making this recipe but omitting the curry leaves, rai, hing and jeera and frying those at the end to temper would change the flavor? I haven’t come across jeera as a tempering ingredient so perhaps that should go in at the beginning if I were to temper at the end?

    Lastly, how does ginger garlic paste compare to just mincing those ingredients? I realize that i did not make a paste but instead minced.

    I’m new to South Indian cooking and am hoping for some insight.

    Thank you so much!5 stars

    1. thanks alex. bisi bele bath is really a good dish from the south indian cuisine. bitterness in dal could be due to onions, when the root part is not removed when chopping. some more asafoetida or turmeric can also bring bitterness.

      any dal recipe can be tempered first or later. when tempered later the flavor and taste is different. of course you can temper later with the ingredients you have mentioned and it will definitely give a good flavor and taste. jeera is a tempering ingredient. so can be tempered later too at the end. ginger garlic paste gives a complete altogether taste as compared to finely chopped or minced ginger-garlic.

      usually in most south indian recipes, tempering is done towards the end. this includes sambar, rasam and chutneys. but for dals the tempering can be done first or later.

      you can check this north indian dal tadka where i have tempered with cumin seeds later –

  3. Hi Dassana,
    Your recipes are sooo perfect. I have tried many (almost everything that i cook) of your recipes and they turned out to be soo delicious.. and this one was soo good and comforting… my family just loved this.
    Thank you soo much for all the recipes..5 stars

    1. thank you samrudha for this lovely feedback. nice to know. i agree this tomato dal is tasty as well as comforting.

  4. All your recipes are awesome. I tried this and it was awesome but can you show a non- garlic and ginger recipe tomato dal please.

  5. hiiii, ur recipies r awesome very detailed through pics I love that ,I am learning cooking through ur recipies .
    thank u
    BT some recipes don’t have pics if u consider that it will b great

    1. parveen thankyou for your positive words 🙂 yes we are working on the same and trying to put step by step recipe on our old posts.

  6. Hello Amit
    Being a first timer in cooking, the recipe came out to be good as followed by the detailed instructions. Thank you.5 stars

  7. Made this dal with yellow and pink lentils that were lying around,
    Threw in a can of Heinz tomatoes then I hit the ground.
    The pressure cooker didn’t explode so I was ok,
    Another amazing recipe, so tasty the wife said hooray!
    Dassana has to be continually congratulated,
    For the wife’s list of favourites needs to be re-calibrated.

  8. Dassana amit it was fabulous,tomato dal pappu recipes in my home were one liked thank u so munch…….5 stars

  9. Hi Dassana,

    I was going through your blog to see what all dal recipes u have shared and as me being from Hyderabad know about Andhra style cooking.I know your recipe of tomato dal would be yum. but just wanted to share my style of tomato dal. I first cook tuvar dal with two chillies n haldi till it softens..

    Then for tadka I add jeera powder,crushed garlic,curry leaves,dry chilli and later add few chopped tomatoes cook them till they get soft and add chilli powder, little haldi, dhaniya powder and add the cooked dal and salt..add less water as it should be little thick..and last add chopped coriander..serve with roti or plain rice with ghee ..hope you try and like it.
    Thank you again..for a helpful blog..5 stars

    1. thanks deepshika for sharing your style of tomato dal. i have noted it down and will try the same. there are not many andhra recipes on the blog. i plan to add them gradually.

  10. Thanks for the receipe!!!!

    Indeed it came well. My pressure cooker had black stains after 7-8 whistles. I feel 3-4 is good enough for this.pls confirm.

    1. welcome karthik. for me the tomato dal takes 7-8 whistle. it should be cooked properly. depends upon cooker size, flame and quality of dal.

    1. praveen, i have never tried. it also depends upon taste which varies from person to person. you can give it a try.

    2. Actually, this is how my grandmom makes her dal, with tomatoes and little bit of tamarind. It tastes heavenly!!

  11. Hi Dassana,

    I’m just out of college and don’t know to cook very well. My mom fell sick today so I took initiative to cook lunch for my family. I was looking out for a simple yellow dal and came across your recipe. I prepared it and to my surprise everyone loved it!! 😀

    Thank you for sharing this awesome method..everyone’s compliments made my day 😀

    Saloni 🙂

    1. welcome saloni. i hope your mother gets well soon and you continue taking interest in cooking.

  12. Very nice! There is also a variation of this recipe which uses Garam Masala. This Dal is very delicious when served with fresh veggies too, as for my taste I add around 3-4 spoons of crushed garlic. Will try other Dal recipes soon, thanks!5 stars

  13. Hi Dassana,
    I have tried this dal today at home. My wife was pleasantly surprised with it.
    I have been getting great compliments from her ever since I started cooking on weekends looking at your recipes. Thank you very much for sharing the success mantras.

    Keep up the good work.

    Ravi5 stars

    1. welcome ravi and big thanks for this positive feedback. its nice to hear that the recipes are helping people in their cooking.

  14. Hi Dassana i tried andhra pappu it was awesom n my kid loved it a lot thank you…..
    wish to get more help from your recipes5 stars

    1. thanks for your feedback jigna. you can try the other recipes from the blog as well. most of them are tried and tested.

  15. Hey dassanna y dont u post it step by step with pics????have u posted the pics anywhere else?

    1. shruti, putting step by step post takes lot of time and effort. so i prefer to put step by step post for difficult recipes only. any doubt or query about a recipe then you are always welcome to ask. happy cooking.

    1. i have mentioned in the notes section on how to cook without pressure cooker – pasted here again:

      to make this dal without a pressure cooker – follow the same recipe method. however, add 4 to 4.5 cups 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.