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Indian tomato dal in a kadhai with cilantro garnish and tomatoes on the side and a black and white paisley print napkin
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5 from 6 votes

Tomato Dal

There are probably as many versions of Tomato Dal or Dahl as there are Indian cooks. My version is as easy and quick as this popular and nourishing Indian dish can get, but it's also utterly delicious. Serve with rice or roti for a quick weeknight meal. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dal, Side
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8
Calories: 87kcal



  • Cook the dal, either in a pressure cooker for three whistles, or you can do this in a saucepan --use enough water to cover the lentils 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.
    (If you don't have a cooker that whistles, cook the lentils for 5 minutes after reaching full pressure or follow manufacturer instructions for your pressure cooker. You can also cook for 10 minutes in the Instant Pot.)
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan.
  • 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.
  • Add the ginger and stir for a minute.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve piping hot.


Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 199mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 689IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg