Tomato Pappu (Andhra Style Tomato Dal)

5 from 2 votes

Tomato Pappu is an Andhra-style lentil curry in which toor dal is cooked with tomatoes, onions, chilies, and a few other ingredients. Use my easy recipe to make it.

You may like some more dal recipes: Toor Dal, Yellow Moong Dal, White Urad Dal, Lauki Chana Dal, and Shahi Dal.

Tomato pappu served in a bowl.
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Andhra cuisine is one of my favorite Indian cuisines. During our Bangalore days, we used to go to an Andhra thali place every week without fail. Even today, an Andhra thali meal is a must if I visit Bangalore.

The best part of that meal was the pappu, the Andhra-style lentils. They were spicy, tangy, and very texture-rich. After many trials, I figured out the taste and texture I sought. It lies in small details like how to cut the onions and tomatoes, use urad dal in the tempering, and smash the garlic instead of chopping it.

Try my recipe and let me know if it is similar to the one you tasted at one of the Andhra messes.

About Tomato Pappu

Tomato Pappu is a delicious lentil curry from Andhra Pradesh. “Pappu” in Telugu refers to lentils or dal, a lentil stew made with tomatoes. It is simple and flavorful and is commonly served with rice.

Tomato Pappu is not only nutritious due to the protein content of lentils but also offers a balance of flavors, with the sourness of tomatoes and tamarind, the heat of green chilies, and aromatic spices.

You can make this tomato dhal in a traditional stovetop pressure cooker or an instant pot. For a comforting meal, serve it with steamed rice and avakaya.

Ingredients

Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) – Toor dal is traditionally used to make this recipe. However, you can replace it with yellow moong dal, pink masoor dal, or a combination of these lentils.

Tomatoes are the star ingredient of this recipe. Use ripe red tomatoes.

Others – You will also need onions, salt, red chili powder, oil, tamarind paste, and cilantro (fresh coriander leaves).

You can add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder while cooking the dal if you wish to.

For The Tempering – The cooked lentils are tempered with oil, cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds, white urad dal, garlic, dry red chilies, green chilies, and curry leaves.

I have used Indian green chilies, but you can see jalapeno peppers, Serrano peppers, or other chilies.

How To Make Tomato Pappu

Cook The Lentil

Rinse ½ cup toor dal and soak it in water for 20 minutes.

Soaked lentil.

Add the following ingredients in an instant pot.

  • soaked dal
  • 1 cup tomatoes (cut into ½-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup onions (cut into ½-inch pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oil

Add 3 cups of water and stir to combine.

soaked lentil,, water, salt, onions, tomatoes and red chili powder added to instant pot.

Close the instant pot lid and set the valve to the sealing position.

Lid secured.

Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 10 minutes at high pressure.

Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.

Release the remaining pressure manually and open the lid.

Mix the dal well with a spatula or a wire whisk.

Add 2 teaspoon tamarind paste and mix well.

Adding tamarind paste to cooked dal.

Check for salt and tamarind paste, and add more if needed.

Note – To cook the dal in a traditional pressure cooker, cook it over medium-high heat for 1 whistle. Then, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release naturally.

Cooked pappu.

Temper The Dal

Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, add the following ingredients.

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon white urad dal
  • 4-5 smashed garlic cloves
  • 2-3 dry red chilies (broken into small pieces)
  • 1-2 green chiles (cut into small pieces)
  • 15-20 and curry leaves

Saute for 10-15 seconds.

Tempering ingredients added to hot oil.

Pour the tempering over dal. Add 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro and mix well.

Tempering and cilantro added to the pot.

Serve hot.

Ready tomato pappu.

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Tomato Pappu is an Andhra-style lentil curry recipe in which toor dal is cooked with tomatoes, onions, chilies, and a few other ingredients. Make it using my easy recipe.
5 from 2 votes

Tomato Pappu Recipe (Andhra Style Tomato Dal)

Tomato Pappu is an Andhra-style lentil curry recipe where toor dal is cooked with tomatoes, onions, chilies, and a few other ingredients. This flavorful dal is perfect to serve with steamed rice for a comforting meal. Make it using my easy recipe.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Soaking Time: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

To Cook The Dal

  • ½ cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (cut into ½-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup chopped onions (cut into ½-inch pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 teaspoon tamarind paste (or to taste)

For Tempering

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon white urad dal
  • 4-5 garlic cloves (smashed)
  • 2-3 dry red chilies (broken into small pieces)
  • 1-2 green chilies (cut into small pieces)
  • 15-20 curry leaves
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Instructions 

Cook The Lentil

  • Rinse the dal and soak it in water for 20 minutes.
  • Add soaked dal, tomatoes, onions, salt, red chili powder, and oil in an instant pot.
  • Add 3 cups of water and stir to combine.
  • Close the instant pot lid and set the valve to the sealing position.
  • Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 10 minutes at high pressure.
  • Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
  • Release the remaining pressure manually and open the lid.
  • Mix the dal well with a spatula or a wire whisk.
  • Add tamarind paste and mix well.
  • Check for salt and tamarind paste, and add more if needed.
  • Note – To cook the dal in a traditional pressure cooker, cook it over medium-high heat for 1 whistle. Then, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release naturally.

Temper The Dal

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds, white urad dal, garlic cloves, dry red chilies, green chiles, and curry leaves.
  • Saute for 10-15 seconds.
  • Pour the tempering over dal. Add 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro and mix well.
  • Serve hot.

Notes

Toor dal is traditionally used to make this recipe. You can replace it with yellow moong dal or pink masoor dal. You can also use a combination of these lentils.
You can add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder while cooking the dal if you wish to.

Nutrition

Calories: 190kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Sodium: 730mg, Potassium: 292mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 509IU, Vitamin C: 118mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 2mg
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