Tomato Dal

tomato dal
I am a sucker for quick yet nutritious recipes that need just a handful of ingredients and minimum prep. My Tomato Dal is a great example of the kinds of foods I tend to cook pretty often in my hurried kitchen.

Tomato Dal is one of those ubiquitous Indian dishes and there are, perhaps, as many recipes for it out there as there are cooks. My own version is something that’s evolved over years of modifying the basic recipe to suit the tastes of my family.

I used tuvar dal in my recipe, although masoor or moong would substitute quite well, I think, in a pinch. I also add sambar powder to the dal for a bit of a kick.

I like using fresh tomatoes here, although you could substitute with canned. Keep in mind that canned tomatoes would contribute a higher degree of acidity to the dal.

Served with brown or plain rice, and a subzi, this dal is a total winner for any weekday evening.

Tomato Dal
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup tuvar dal, cooked until tender with a pinch of turmeric and some salt
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2-3 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp
  • sambar powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  1. Heat the canola oil in a saucepan.
  2. Add the asafetida and cumin seeds. When the cumin sputters, add the curry leaves and onion and saute on a medium flame until the onions turn translucent.
  3. Add the green chilies and ginger and stir for a minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and the sambar powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes turn mushy and start breaking down.
  5. Now add the tuvar 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!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.


20 thoughts on “Tomato Dal

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 22, 2008 at 5:12am

    Awesome recipe. I like anything that has the tanginess from the tomato. Thanks for posting such simple yet hearty recipes.


  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 22, 2008 at 5:13am

    I have added you to my Fellow Favorite Bloggers list.

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    February 22, 2008 at 12:02pm

    Hi Vaishali
    Thanks for your delicious recipes. In Temptress Tomato Dal you mention in the ingredients Cummin seeds and in the method you mention Mustard seeds. Which is the right ingredient? Can one use both?
    Thanks and regards

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Happy cook

    February 22, 2008 at 1:04pm

    Delicious. I love anykind of dal with rice. Reall comfort food it is

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    February 22, 2008 at 2:27pm

    i love tomato dal with steaming hot rice and a little ghee…..

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    February 22, 2008 at 3:58pm

    Thanks, Priya, you are on my list too, so the feeling’s mutual!

    Neville, thanks for visiting my blog and for pointing out the error. I will correct it. To answer your question, I did mean cumin seeds, but mustard seeds would make a great substitute if you happen to have those on hand instead. I also sometimes use both in a single recipe. Hope that helps :)

    Happy cook, Arundati, Thanks. Yes, this certainly is comfort food and food for all seasons!

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 22, 2008 at 4:22pm

    looks so yummy and colorful vaishali..keep rocking..

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    February 22, 2008 at 8:08pm

    gorgeous. i try to be vegan 90% of the time, but this one occasion where i wouldn’t be able to resist sneaking in a teapsoon of ghee **flees**

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    February 23, 2008 at 8:58am

    Hi there,

    I am glad to read about fellow health minded people. I would consider myself pure vegan 90% of the time, occasionally tempted by raw fish and seafood.

    I love the dal.

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 23, 2008 at 10:01am

    I make this quite often… with or without the sambar powder… like you say, it is a lifesaver on weeknights!!

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 23, 2008 at 9:15pm

    Very nice recipe …I love tomato dal !!This is awesome

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Lavanya Raj

    February 24, 2008 at 4:19am

    vaishali..I have a award for you on my blog. kindly check my blog.

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 24, 2008 at 4:54pm

    dal looksss perfectly deleciouss vaishali ,I do same thing but dont add sambar powder

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 24, 2008 at 5:47pm

    Wow, what an easy and yummy dal! Looks so lovely!

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 24, 2008 at 10:56pm

    Dhivya, Bee, Zlamushka, Raaga, Deepa, Lavanya, Sagari, Uma, Dhivya:
    Thanks a lot, everyone!

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    March 8, 2011 at 7:31pm

    Am new to your blog. Tried this recipe today and it turned out so yummy… thanks for this lovely easy recipe :)

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    don massey

    March 6, 2012 at 1:44pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I made this last night for dinner. It was absolutely perfect!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      March 8, 2012 at 7:26pm

      Don, glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for the feedback!

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