Tomato Dal

Tomato dal is one of the widely cooked recipes in South Indian cuisine. Unlike other dal recipes, this has little thick consistency and is made by adding lots of tomatoes to pigeon peas. This is a simple and quick recipe as all the ingredients are just added to the pressure cooker and cooked and topped with an aromatic tempering. The tangy taste is achieved with tamarind and the amount of tomatoes added to this recipe. Tomato dal is best served with steamed rice, ghee (clarified butter), mango pickle and a side dish like okra or potato fry. You will definitely find tomato dal as one of the items when you order Andhra meal in Andhra restaurants. Here’s my recipe for Tomato dal.


  • Toor or Arhar dal / Pigeon Peas: 1 cup
  • Tomatoes: 3 large, chopped
  • Green chillies: 5-6, small
  • Onion: 1/2 small, roughly chopped, another 1/2, sliced
  • Garlic cloves: 3-4, medium
  • Salt
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder: 1.5-2 tsp
  • Tamarind pulp: 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves: 5-6
  • Dry red chillies: 3-4
  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Ghee: 1.5-2 tbsp


1. Wash toor dal and transfer to a pressure cooker.

2. Add chopped tomatoes, green chillies, chopped onion, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garlic cloves to the dal. If you are using whole tamarind, add now. I am using tamarind pulp, so I added it later.

3. Add 2-2.5 cups of water and pressure cook for 7-8 whistles until dal is cooked completely.

4. Let the pressure release on it’s own. Open the pressure cooker and mash the dal. Add tamarind pulp and a cup of water. Boil the dal for 8-10 minutes on medium heat, covered. Keep stirring in between. We are going to keep the consistency thick.

5. Heat ghee in a deep pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, whole dry red chillies, sliced garlic, curry leaves and sliced onion, one by one. Saute until onions turn golden brown.

6. Add the tempering to dal and keep the dal covered for a minute or two. Serve hot with steamed rice, ghee and mango pickle. Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published