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!

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  1. Anonymous says

    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

  2. says

    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!

  3. says

    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**

  4. says

    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.

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