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Tomato Dal (with Lentils)

Cuisine: South Indian

Serves: 5-6


  • 3 Large-size Tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup of Lentils (Red/Yellow)
  • Touch of Lemon zest
  • 2 cups of Water

Ingredients for Seasoning:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Oil (reduce oil to 2 tablespoons if you chose to)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cumin seeds
  • 11/2 Teaspoon of Mustard Seeds
  • Pinch of Aesofotida
  • 2 long Green Chilies (or 1 depending on your spice level)  cut length-wise and then into quarters.
  • 8 curry leaves (can be chopped for flavors to infuse better)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Amchoor Powder (Mango powder) OR small piece of Tamarind


  • 1/2 Bunch Cilantro (finely chopped) for Garnish


1. Soak Lentils at least 2 hours before. You may cook lentils without soaking, but flavor and the release of nutrients will be better if lentils are soaked and cleaned. Whatever chemicals that are sprayed/used for storage will wash away with the soaking and cleaning process.

2. Cook lentils in the pressure cooker (usually 3-4 whistles) and turn off the stove and let it cool. To cook lentils, use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of lentils. 

3.  Place a non-stick skillet on medium heat. Pour oil. Once the oil is hot, put mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once the mustard seeds start spluttering, put Aesofotida (hing), cut green chilies, and all the curry leaves. Stir this seasoning mixture for 30 secs.

4. Add Tomatoes and stir it together with the seasoning mixture. Close the lid and let it cook for good 5-7 minutes. Under cooking Tomatoes gives raw flavor, so ensure that tomatoes are well done for full aroma and flavors to release.

5. Once the Tomato mixture is well done, add dal (cooked lentils mashed gently with an utensil) to the Tomato mixture. Add water to bring the mixture to the right consistency. Let it simmer for 7-10 mins in medium heat turning to low heat. 

6. Add Amchoor powder and grate lemon zest into the mixture at the end and stir it. Let it sit for another minute before completely turning off the flame. Most Tomatoes have sourness in them, so Amchoor powder and lemon zest are primarily for flavor to bring that additional zing and flavor  to the dish.

7. Transfer into a serving bowl immediately. Sprinkle Cilantro for garnish.

There you have it! Fresh, Yummy, and aromatic South Indian Dal is ready. Serve with hot rice or chapati (tortilla) or even serve as a soup. Bon Appétit.


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