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Tomato Dal


  • 1 cup split pigeon peas, dry

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 sprig curry leaves

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated

  • 1 pound tomatoes, diced

  • 1 Tbsp coriander powder

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp cayenne (or paprika for less heat)

  • 1 Tbsp sambar powder (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp cilantro

  • Salt to taste


  1. Add peas to a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by two inches. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking 20-40 minutes or until the dal is very tender. Add more water if needed to the pot. When the dal is cooked, whisk to make it creamy or give it a whirl in the blender. Set aside.

  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin seeds. When the cumin sputters, add the curry leaves and onion and saute on a medium heat until the onions turn translucent.

  3. Add the ginger and stir for a minute.

  4. Add the tomatoes along with the turmeric, cayenne or paprika, coriander powder and sambar powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes turn mushy and start breaking down.

  5. Add the cooked dal and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes until the flavors have merged. Add water if the dal gets too thick.

  6. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve piping hot.

Recipe and image adapted from:


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