Best Tomato Pappu recipe with 3 unique ingredients

Tomato Pappu is a tangy and spicy lentil-based dish from the Andhra cuisine. I am always on the lookout to add a twist to a recipe. My tomato pappu recipe in a pressure cooker has three additional ingredients that make this dish unique in taste. I have shared this Tomato Pappu Recipe with step-by-step pics.

Being South Indian, we have dal every day. But, there are so many variations that we never get bored. I will share many more dal recipes in the future.

tomato pappu recipe

What is Tomato Pappu?

Dal is called Pappu/Kandi Pappu in the Telugu language.

Tomato Pappu is a traditional Andhra special dal dish. In simple words, it is a thick lentil stew made with a lot of tomatoes, dal, and basic Indian spices. Pappu is very famous and one of the staple dishes in the Andhra and Telangana region.

No Andhra meal is complete without a lentil dish (pappu, sambar, or rasam).

Each morsel bursts with rapturous flavor – the tanginess of the tomatoes, sharp flavors contributed by the green chilies, and a few powdered spices.

About Tomato Pappu recipe

The tomato pappu recipe is super simple – just put everything into the pressure cooker and cook for a few whistles until the dal is mushy, simmer for some time to get rid of the raw flavors, and then add the tempering.

Tempering/talimpu/poppu is a crucial part of cooking Indian food, specifically while preparing dal.

Compared to North Indian dal dishes, sourness is a prevalent flavor in South Indian dal dishes. So, tamarind pulp is added to the pappu which brings a unique flavor and taste.

If the tomatoes and tamarind combo are too sour for your taste, you can skip that.

My kid hates to have tomato chunks in the dal. So, I prefer to pressure cook both dal and tomatoes together until mushy.

My favorite part about this recipe is how to get the unique taste? I add curry leaves, coriander leaves, and cumin while pressuring cooking dal and tomatoes. Coriander and curry leaves add a depth of flavor and cumin seeds give that edge to the dish.

Every region, caste, and household has its own version of making tamata pappu.

There are 3 ways to make Tomato pappu.

1. Pressure cook dal and tomatoes, and later add the tempering.

2. Pressure cook dal and tomatoes along with the tempering.

3. Cook the dal and tomatoes separately, and later mix them. This is the process with which tomato pappu is made at Telugu weddings, functions, Andhra mess, and restaurants.

Reasons to make

Quick and easy to make.

The dal has spicy, tangy, and sharp flavors.

Can be made in under 30 minutes.

Does not need any special ingredients.

Even bachelors and beginners can make it easily.

Tomato dal and hot steamed rice with a dollop of ghee make a wholesome lunch or dinner.

Sambar powder gives an aromatic, flavorful, and delicious taste.

Toor dal is a great source of vegetarian protein, folic acid, and iron, and also contains dietary fiber.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C,  B, and E, and other nutrients. Loaded with a substance called lycopene, it helps protect cells from damage.

Perfect for kid’s or adult’s lunch box.

Fenugreek seeds, a wonder food adds additional health benefits such as improving digestive health, regulates blood sugar, and protects heart health.

Ingredients to make Tomato Dal

Lentils: At home, we prefer to use Toor Dal/Yellow split Pigeon peas to make any pappu. However, you can mix 2-3 different lentils like Bengal gram (chana dal), yellow moong dal, or pink masoor dal

Tomato: The key ingredient in this recipe. Use local/desi tomatoes, as they are sour which gives a tangy taste to the dal.

Onion: not mandatory to use but it adds flavor and aroma.

Spice powders: turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and sambar masala.

Herbs: coriander and curry leaves.

Cumin seeds: is a flavoring agent.

Oil: Use any vegetable oil.

Green chilies: adjust as per your taste and can skip them while making for toddlers or kids.

Tempering: oil, fenugreek seeds, garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chilies, curry leaves, asafoetida.

Pro Tips

This is tomato dal, so use some ripe juicy country tomatoes or vine-ripened tomatoes (the sourer the better!)

Pressure cook sliced onions. That way they’ll melt into the dal and give a smooth texture.

Adjust the tamarind according to the sourness of the tomatoes.

Use fresh curry leaves and coriander leaves, they give the real flavor to the dal.

Use good quality red chili powder for a nice red color.

Do not add more water than required to cook the dal. 

Simmer the mashed dal for at least 10 minutes to get rid of the boiled taste of dal and tomatoes.

The consistency of the pappu should be thick like dal tadka/fry.

Do not skip fenugreek seeds in the tempering. According to Ayurveda, it is mandatory to add methi dana/powder in the recipes that have tamarind like sambar, pappu, pulihora (tamarind rice), pulusu.

Use tender and light green color curry leaves for the best aroma.

How to make Andhra Tomato pappu

1. In a pressure cooker, add the washed toor dal, chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, green chilies, curry leaves, coriander leaves, cumin seeds, red chili powder, turmeric powder, sambar powder, oil, and tamarind.

2. Add 3 cups of water and mix well.

3. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles on medium flame or until it is perfectly cooked.

4. Turn off the flame and let it rest untill all the pressure leaves out of the cooker.

tomato pappu recipe 1

5. With the help of dal ghotni (an Indian wooden masher used for mashing dal), a whisk, or with the help of back of the ladle, mash the dal well.

6. Add 3/4th cup water and simmer the dal on low flame for 10 minutes. Stir in between to avoid dal sticking to the bottom.

7. Add salt to taste and ghee. Give a good mix.

tomato pappu recipe 2

The consistency should neither be too watery nor too thick. It will thicken as it cools.

Tempering

Heat oil in a tadka pan. When hot, add crushed garlic, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and allow them to pop.

Add the dried red chilies, curry leaves, and asafoetida. Saute for 3-5 seconds.

Turn off the flame and pour the tadka all over the dal. Mix well.

Lastly, garnish with coriander leaves.

Andhra Tomato pappu is ready. Serve hot with steamed rice or rotis.

Storage Suggestions

You can refrigerate the leftover in the fridge for 2-3 days. Transfer the dal to an air-tight container and keep it in the fridge. The pappu tastes better next day, as the rest period intensifies the flavor.

After 3 days, the taste, flavor, actual nutritional value, and texture of the tomato dal will fade. So consume the leftovers as soon as you can.

Before serving reheat the dal in a microwave, or in a pan on the stovetop. The dal will thickens as it’s cools, add water while heating and adjust the consistency as desired.

Serving Suggestions

South Indians usually serve this tomato pappu with hot steamed rice and a generous serving of ghee (skip ghee if you are vegan) on top – it tastes oh-so-heavenly. To make it taste better, there are many options for sides like

Avakai (mango pickle)

Vadiyalu/papadams/appadam/papad/gold fingers fryums (gottalu).

Oora Mirapakayalu/Mor MoLaga/Uppu Mirapakaya/Challa Mirchi/Yogurt Soaked Chillies.

Omlet/omelette or egg masala fry.

Stir-fry vegetable – okra/bhindi fry, raw banana, cauliflower fry, or potato fry

Chicken fry or roast.

This tomato dal also goes really well with Indian flatbread roti, phulka, chapatis, plain parathas, and rice items like Jeera Rice or Basmati Rice

Variations

With this tomato pappu recipe, you can make many variations by adding veggies or even green leafy vegetables.

Leafy veggies: Palakura/Palak (spinach), Gongura (Sorrel), Bacchalkura (Malabar spinach), Thotakura (Amaranth).

Vegetables: Mango, Dosakaya (yellow cucumber), Beerakaya (ridge gourd/turai), Vankaya (brinjal).

More Indian dal recipes

Sambar

Dal Tadka

Dal Makhani

Whole Masoor dal

If you’ve tried this Tomato Pappu recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

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Recipe Card

tomato pappu recipe

Andhra Tomato Pappu recipe

Author: Santosh Allada
A quick and easy tomato pappu recipe in a pressure cooker. Andhra style tomato dal is made with pigeon pea lentils, plenty of tomatoes, and basic Indian spices. Tangy and medium spicy dal pairs well with steamed rice or roti.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dal, Side Dish
Cuisine Andhra, Indian, South Indian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Split Pigeon peas (toor dal/kandi pappu)
  • 4-5 medium size Tomatoes (desi/local)
  • 1 small Onion
  • 2-3 Green chilies (slit or chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2-1 tbsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Sambar powder
  • 5-6 Curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
  • lemon size Tamarind
  • 2 tbsp Coriander leaves
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 tbspn Clarified butter (ghee)
  • Salt as needed

Tempering

  • 2 tbsp Oil (or ghee)
  • 3-4 Garlic cloves
  • 4 Fenugreek seeds (mentulu/methi dana)
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 3 Dry red chilies
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoetida (hing)

Instructions
 

  • In a pressure cooker, add the washed toor dal, chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, green chilies, curry leaves, coriander leaves, cumin seeds, red chili powder, turmeric powder, sambar powder, oil, and tamarind.
  • Add 3 cups of water and mix well. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles on medium flame or until it is perfectly cooked.
  • Turn off the flame and let it rest until all the pressure leaves out of the cooker.
  • With the help of dal ghotni (an Indian wooden masher used for mashing dal), a whisk, or with the help of back of the ladle, mash the dal well.
  • Add 3/4th cup of water and simmer the dal on low flame for 10 minutes. Stir in between to avoid dal sticking to the bottom.
  • Add salt to taste and ghee. Give a good mix.

Tempering

  • Heat oil in a tadka pan on medium flame. When hot, add crushed garlic, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and allow them to pop.
  • Add the dried red chilies, curry leaves, and asafoetida. Saute for 3-5 seconds. Turn off the flame and pour the tadka all over the dal. Mix well.
  • Lastly, garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Andhra Tomato pappu is ready. Serve hot with steamed rice or rotis.

Notes

Use good quality toor/arhar dal.
If you like spicy, add more green chilies and red chili powder.
You can skip onion and garlic to make a no onion no garlic version.


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