Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Dazzling Dals ~ Tomato Dal

Dazzling Dals ~ Tomato Dal (Tomato Pappu)

I get lot of questions about the recipes I write at Mahanandi. Some show a mix of disdain and curiosity typical of a museum visitor and some convey a genuine interest. I live in a foreign country, still I cook and write about the food of my home. I guess it is expected to get both types of comments on my recipes.

When people show genuine interest, it feels good and I try to respond to their comments. One such genuinely interested person is Linda of Out of the Garden food blog. From her comments, I had a sense that she is very fond of one particular recipe of mine. So, whenever Linda inquired about the details, I replied her with equal enthusiasm. Guess what! She not only used the recipe to prepare the dish, but she also perfected the process and wrote about it on her blog. The recipe is none other than the dazzling dal, my beloved amma mudda. Linda’s description of amma muddas truly conveys her enthusiasm and a delight to read. I thank Linda for treating the recipe and the feelings associated with it with respect. I will think of her amma mudda post as a great gift to Mahanandi on its second anniversary.

Here is one more dazzling dal recipe – tomato dal. A basic and beginners favorite in Indian cooking, tomato dal is a simple and flavorful main course dish. Can be served with rice or chapatis for a hearty, satisfying meal.


• ½ cup toor dal and 1½ cups of water
• 1 big ripe tomato – cut to chunks
• 1 small onion – cut to chunks
• 6-8 green chillies – finely chopped
• ¼ tsp turmeric and marble-sized tamarind

– Take them all in a pressure cooker and cook until the dal reaches fall apart stage. Usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes in a pressure cooker. Once the valve pressure is released, remove the lid and add about half teaspoon of salt. Mix and mash the dal to soft consistency with a wood masher.

In a separate vessel, do the popu or tadka (toasting cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves etc in oil). Add the mashed tomato dal to the popu. Mix and serve hot with rice or with chapati.

Tomato Dal mixed with Rice and on the side Green Brinjal Curry ~ Our lunch today
and my entry to JFI: Tomato hosted by Lovely RP of My Workshop

Recipe source: Amma

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Jihva For Ingredients,Tomato,Toor Dal (Wednesday March 28, 2007 at 5:22 pm- permalink)
Comments (51)

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51 comments for Dazzling Dals ~ Tomato Dal »

  1. Indira,

    Linda’s devotion to Indian cuisine is outstanding…..while reading the post, i saw this comment of hers, “i guess i’ll have to wait a while and make ammamma muddas”…..i dunno’ why reading that made me so emotional. The words “Amma muddas” do evoke a lot of emotions…..they remind me of Mom and provide the same comfort that one felt while being fed by the Mom. and in any part of India, daal-chawal make one of the ultimate comfort foods 🙂

    BTW, belated Happy Second Anniversary to Mahanandi.

    Comment by musical — March 28, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

  2. I know, Linda is a great writer and a passionate cook.

    Thanks Musical!

    Comment by Indira — March 28, 2007 @ 6:01 pm

  3. Indira,

    Everytime I see your posts like this and the wonderful way of showing muddas made with rice and dal, it takes me back to good ol’ days when I used to be a kid. My ammamma used to mix dal and rice, ghee in a big bowl and mom, sister, cousins, aunts, myself all of used to gather around and eat delicious muddas from her hand. My mom does that even now when we go to India. I guess for now, I have to satisfy myself seeing your delicious mudda and Linda’s too.

    They are really special, and the feelings associated with it are irreplaceable. I am glad to see a fellow fan of amma muddas. Thanks Shri.

    Comment by Shri — March 28, 2007 @ 6:35 pm

  4. I am truly honored that you mention me with such kind words; I hardly know what to say. Thank you!

    Two years of Mahanandi — your special voice. You have shared much with many and I am very happy to be one. And do you know what? I just looked at the date of your first post — 26 March ’05. Same date for mine, in ’06.

    Perhaps it’s a sign that someday we’ll share those amma muddas 🙂

    Namaste, Indira.

    I will look forward to that day.:) Thank you Linda!
    – Indira

    Comment by Linda — March 28, 2007 @ 6:38 pm

  5. Happy Second anniversary to Mahanandi.

    Thanks Shri.

    Comment by Shri — March 28, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

  6. Hi Indira
    Congrats on the second anniversary !!! This is the first food to anyone who comes home after a tour/trip etc. And people so appreciate it.

    Such comfort food ! Wonderful post for JFI !!

    Comfort food, indeed. Thanks for the wishes, Revathi.

    Comment by Revathi — March 28, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

  7. MMMMMMMMM.. lipsmacking dishes and thats why I’m in love with this site

    Comment by Deepika Saripalli — March 28, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

  8. To add to my previous comment Happy Anniversary and many more to come!

    Your enthusiasm is very encouraging. Thanks Deepika.:)

    Comment by Deepika Saripalli — March 28, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

  9. Lovely recipe and photo Indira…I love that plate too!and happy anniversary….hope we celebrate many more anniversaries!

    I hope so too. Thanks Madhuli.

    Comment by madhuli — March 28, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

  10. I really like this. It sounds a lot like Spanish lentils, except that our way would be to add fried onion and pimentón at the end. It´s exotic and familiar at once, I´m definitely going to try it.
    I did your potatoes and peas, without one of the ingredients, can´t remember which, couldn´t find it here, and it was wonderful, thank you.

    Hi Lobstersquad:
    Your version sounds interesting and also easy to prepare. I would love to try.
    I remember your comment on Potato,peas and fenugreek in cream sauce. Glad to hear that you tried and liked it. Thanks for letting me know.
    I am a silent admirer of your art work and I regularly visit your blog.

    Comment by lobstersquad — March 29, 2007 @ 1:38 am

  11. Hi Indira,

    Happy Anniversary …. Thanks Indira you replied my comment.

    It’s my pleasure, thanks Swathi.

    Comment by swathi — March 29, 2007 @ 5:26 am

  12. Hi Indira…those Muddes have found a special place in my home, Siddharth asks for those “balls” now every time…! Linda’s passion for cooking amazes me every time I visit her blog.

    Tomato Daal is always nice, I make this the Gujju way with jaggery and amli(for extra tang) and without onions. The perfect food, I say.

    Happy 2nd Anniversary. Wishing you the best always.

    With Jaggery? oh MY. :).
    I like to mix rice and dal with payasam during festival days. See, I am a Gujji in previous janam. 🙂
    Thanks for the wishes, Trupti.

    Comment by Trupti — March 29, 2007 @ 6:24 am

  13. I am in awe of your recipes…I can’t imagine anyone having disdain in any part. They are in equal parts clear, precisly written and soulful. This is the page I read for comfort and inspiration. Your blog is amazing.

    I made your spinach dal two nights ago (the one with toor dal and the pressure cooker), and it was the most satisfying dal I have ever eaten – and I’ve never me a dal I don’t like!

    Best wishes for the 2nd anniversary!

    Indira replies:
    Oh, you won’t believe the kind of questions I get. I rarely mention these things out of politeness and courtesy.
    Thanks for the wishes, Diane. I greatly appreciate your kind words about Mahanandi.

    Comment by Diane — March 29, 2007 @ 7:06 am

  14. hi indira,
    otherday one of our friends brought us small bag of very small brinjals and i was wondering what to do with it as they were very small for stuffing. thankfully while searching the web i found ur Gutti Vankaya recipe which sounded perfect. and i am very delighted with the way they tasted. thank u for ur wonderful recipe which has got a special place in my tried and loved recipe list:)
    and happy 2nd anniversary and hopeing to see more of ur wonderful culinary gems.

    Small brinjals are perfect and suit the gutti vankaya recipe, don’t they? Glad to hear that you tried and liked the recipe.
    Thanks Sia.

    Comment by sia — March 29, 2007 @ 7:06 am

  15. happy anniversary, indira. congratulations. you and your blog have touched many hearts and homes.

    wish you many more wonderful anniversaries.

    You are a sweet person. Thanks very much Bee!

    Comment by bee — March 29, 2007 @ 8:05 am

  16. Happy 2nd anniversary Indira and thanks for the JFI which brings out all the dazzling colours and tastes of India and the World.

    Thanks Sandeepa.

    Comment by sandeepa — March 29, 2007 @ 9:13 am

  17. Congratulations on your 2nd anniversary! I check your blog every few days, and thank you for re-connecting me to the food of my ancestors. You truly ignited a passion in me to learn my mother’s and mother-in-law’s recipes after many years of denying myself pleasure of cooking and serving good food. Thank you for everything. Keep blogging.:-)

    I am also revisiting and learning old classics, because of Mahanandi. and it has been a rich experience so far.
    Appreciate your nice words and thanks Padmaja.

    Comment by Padmaja — March 29, 2007 @ 9:17 am

  18. Hi Indira,
    Congratulations on 2nd Annivery.Wish you all the Best.I am going to try this dal soon.Thanks.

    Do let me know how you like this recipe, if you try. Thanks Durga

    Comment by Durga — March 29, 2007 @ 9:43 am

  19. Indira,

    I like your dals and I was wondering if you know of this type of dal. I have no clue what it is called, but all I remember about it is its garlicky but very fragrant garlicky. It was finger licking good. Its like plain mudda pappu(the yellow one they mix with mango pickle) with the relgular thalimpu but it has a flavor/taste that is so uniquely it.It’s I think a telengana thing or so.I had it at times as a kid at my friends place and now I’m trying to recreate some of them and my mom has no clue what I’m talking about 🙁 All I can think of it havign are toordal,tomatoes,onion,garlic,green chillies and seasoning.Hopefully you might know what I am talking about,

    Thanks much,

    Hi Sushma,
    The dal you described sounds exactly like this tomato pappu. We prepare it with less water and make it a very tight pappu. and it tastes really great. I think you would be able to recreate your childhood taste with this recipe, Just follow the directions but reduce the water quantity to one cup and also add liberal amounts of coarsely chopped garlic to thalimpu. If you try, let me know how you like it. Thanks Sushma.

    Comment by Sushma — March 29, 2007 @ 10:03 am

  20. Hi Indira,

    Congrats on completing 2 lip-smacking years of Mahanandi! Thanks for bringing good food on a lot of tables across the world!

    Supriya H

    Thanks Supriya.

    Comment by Supriya H — March 29, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

  21. hey there
    I really like this food blog.Unlike other sites..i feel the links etc are very organized. I can just look for recipes in one click. And of course recipes are awesome.:)

    Glad to hear that you find this site useful.

    Comment by nav — March 29, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

  22. A very Happy blog anniversary Indira !

    And I am one of the many others baffled by Linda’s cooking. It takes a lot of enthusiasm and patience to master a completely alien cuisine and she has done it so well.

    Thanks Priya.
    Linda is a great cook, indeed. I learned so much from her as well.

    Comment by Priya — March 29, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

  23. Hi Indira,
    Congrats on a tongue-tickling 2’nd anniversary.
    A hardcore andhra-ite, I simply am reminded of my mom’s food on your blog. But this one takes the cake!!
    Tomato pappu is my comfort food… no matter what this is the best.
    Thanks for writing about it.

    Tomato pappu is really special for us andhraites, I agree.
    Thanks Sandeep for the wishes and for your nice words about Mahanandi.

    Comment by Sandeep — March 29, 2007 @ 5:47 pm

  24. Two years, thats all? To me you have been here forever. My little blog looks at your big blog as a child looks at its mother and thinking, here she is…existed forever and will be there forever….

    I feel old and tired.:)
    having blog freinds like you is what makes blogging fun and interesting for me. Thanks very much for being there and inspring us all, Inji.

    Comment by InjiPennu — March 29, 2007 @ 9:15 pm

  25. Hi Indira

    First of all belated happy aniversary.

    i had bunch of Gogura leaves which we have hardly used in India but had heard in my andra friends house. luckily first thing i did was to check your blog for any recipe with it.

    And truly you do have recipes. i tried your chutney and it turned out fabulous.

    Thanks for all the nice recipes and hope to see more coming on way…

    Fresh gongura leaves – I am jealous.:)
    Glad to hear that you tried and liked the recipe, Roopa and thansk for the wishes.

    Comment by Roopa — March 30, 2007 @ 12:16 am

  26. hi Indira ,
    you are a great source of inspiration to me and i wanted you to know that …cooking in Provence (France ) and often reading and talking about you to some other french food Bloggers…i love you cooking and i did learned a great deal from you
    thank you.

    Hi Garance,
    It’s really special to hear from you. Thanks for all the kind words about Mahanandi.

    Comment by garance — March 30, 2007 @ 5:18 am

  27. Congratulations for completing 2 yrs. 🙂

    Do mudda means dal????

    Thanks Coffee. Mudda means round shape and pappu means dal in Telugu.

    Comment by Coffee — March 30, 2007 @ 5:29 am

  28. Dear Indira – congratulations on your second blog anniversary. Time make a strange way of making a moment short as well as last forever. Suddenly I cannot remember what it was before food blogs. The dal looks delicious. Will try this version soon.

    I know the feeling, blogs and bloggers are my virtual family now. Thanks very much Mandira!

    Comment by mandira — March 30, 2007 @ 9:39 am

  29. Hi Indira,

    and YUMMMMMM!!! its my faaaaavourite of all dals. Heaven 🙂

    Hey, thanks Tweey.:)

    Comment by Tweety — March 30, 2007 @ 10:00 am

  30. Indira,
    Congratulations on your blog’s second anniversary. I hope that it’s around for many many more years.

    I have a question, ok, maybe more than one question about dal.

    I’ve been reading and noticing on many blogs the various types of dals. I’ve been making careful notes also, of the types of peas (beans) used such as toor dal, mansoor dal and yellow moong dal. So here are my questions.

    In this case where you made tomato dal – is that so called because you added the tomato to the dall?

    Using the same principle, can I make spinach or any other vegetable dal?

    Is the method for making the dals all the same?

    We have a dish we call dhal here in the Caribbean which is similar to one of your dals. We use the yellow split peas (toor dal I think). What we do is this: in a pressure cooker, we put water, split peas (which might have been soaked overnight), chillies, spring onion and pressure for about 10 – 15 minutes. At which time, the peas have melted.

    Then, using a metal ladle, we would put oil in it, and heat it on the stove, add cumin seeds and sliced garlic, when that has roasted in the oil, we then “chunkay” the dal 🙂 In other words, we put the hot ladle with the cumin and garlic into the dal and stir.

    We eat it with roti and or rice. My mom’s favourite way to eat dal is just as you had in one of your posts, with the roti shredded in the dal.

    Most people like it one of two ways, to drink as a soup or ladled over rice (which is the way I like it).

    Hi Cynthia,
    It’s just like breads and cakes. Just by changing one ingredient we can make different types of cakes and breads like walnut cake, pecan cake, honey cake etc, right? Same thing applies to dals also. By changing the vegetable or dal type, we can prepare numerous types and combinations of dal or dahl.
    We share culinary traditions, the method you described is similar to our way of cooking dal.:)

    Comment by Cynthia — March 30, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

  31. Indira, Happy Anniversary to your blog and thanks for all the work you put into it. My mother is so glad I have a source for home-style South Indian recipes on the internet — this way she has to worry less about me being far away from her bountiful kitchen 😉 .

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Hi Preeta, many thanks for the warm wishes and for your support of Mahanandi. I appreciate it!

    Comment by Preeta — March 30, 2007 @ 1:04 pm

  32. Happy 2nd anniversary! looking forward to more wonderful recipes this year as well:)

    Thanks for the wishes, Ranjani.

    Comment by Ranjani — March 30, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

  33. Happy Anniversary to Mahanandi! What can I say about you, Indira? Your passion for anything Indian speaks for itself !!! Its an honor to have known you for so long. Infact India is incidentally a part of your name too – Indi(r)a!!!


    (and if you don’t mind this is for Cynthia)
    You can cook most of the vegetable-dals like this cynthia… and yes spinach is one of them. And the ladle thing that you speak of where you season the dal with some spices is what Indira refers as popu.. I am glad to know a piece of Carribean style cooking and thanks Cynthia for this.

    You are a sweetheart, Mythili. It’s great knowing you in person!

    Comment by Mythili — March 30, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

  34. hey indira!!
    happy anniversary!!!
    Keep up the great work and hope u inspire many other bloggers like me!!!

    Hey, thanks.

    Comment by padmaja — March 30, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  35. Thanks, Mythili.

    Comment by Cynthia — March 30, 2007 @ 4:00 pm

  36. Congratulations on the second anniversary of your blog!
    My childhood memories are of going to Kurnool for the summer. My ammamma would make mamidikai or dosakkai pappu almost everyday. I have described the taste and color and texture of that “orange pappu” to my husband (who is tamilian and a big fan of andhra cooking and tastes) and his mouth would water:-).. over the years I’ve tried to recreate that but my attempts lacked something. After reading your blog, I’ve realised its the “everything in the pressure cooker method”.. i’ve made methi and spinach and sorakaya always comes out perfect. so thank you especially for the pappu recipes.


    Sorakaya pappu, then you are a true Kurnool/Nandyal area vassivi. Only we prepare so many dals with all kinds of vegetables, I think.:)
    I am glad to hear that you found the method of cooking perfect pappu. Chaala santhoshamu Bindu.

    Comment by bindu — March 30, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

  37. Just wanted to let you know how much I like your blog–I’m pretty much a lurker, but I like getting this different, non-cookbook take on Indian cooking (of which I am a devoted, amateur fan).

    Hope you find the visits informative. Thanks Lucette!

    Comment by lucette — March 31, 2007 @ 9:33 am

  38. Indira… congratulations and happy anniversary to Mahanandi. I may not leave comments too often here but I am always around on Mahanandi and absolutely love your recipes and everything about your website – you deserve all the praise that you see here in the comment section of your website.

    thanks for the warm wishes, Sonia.

    Comment by Sonia — March 31, 2007 @ 11:39 am

  39. That dal was superb. Such a simple dish but full of flavor!!

    Tomato dal rocks, I know.:)

    Comment by Archana — March 31, 2007 @ 4:58 pm

  40. We made the dal for dinner yesterday and it was
    great. Congragulations on the blog anniversary!!

    Glad to hear that you guys liked this dal, Gini.
    Thanks for the wishes.
    Also I was trying to write a comment on your blog on Elizabeth Edwards post. But the comment form is not opening up. SO here it is:
    “There’s a sort of subtle insinuation that sick people should crawl back into their caves and stay there till they either die or get better. But when you hear the Edwards’s discuss the idea that her cancer is now incurable, that it’s not something she will get better from and so not something where they can hit pause, wait for it to pass, and then resume their lives, you have to think that the question they’re asking themselves is not how can Elizabeth best get well, but how would they like to spend the rest of their years.
    I applaud both Elizabeth and John for committing to fight for it not because it is easy, but because they feel it is worth doing.”
    I love her fighting spirit and this is the quote I wanted to post at your blog.

    Comment by Gini — March 31, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

  41. Hi,
    I tried this dal yesterday. It was realy tasty.
    Hay how do i get tagged with ur site.

    Comment by Sukanya — April 1, 2007 @ 10:51 am

  42. congrats on your second anniversary, Indira!

    Thanks Praba!

    Comment by Desimom — April 1, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

  43. I had closed it because the comments mentioned me also, and I didn’t feel very comfortable with that. But I would love to post what you said in my blog as a comment, if you don’t mind. I could copy and paste from here. Let me know.

    Elizabeth is such an inspiration. I was so moved when I saw her speak that day. Couldn’t wait to come back home after work and write about it.

    It’s ok, Gini. Like you I was extremely moved by her courage and strength of will. I wanted to share that quote with you. You read it, and also replied. So I am happy.:)

    Comment by Gini — April 1, 2007 @ 5:21 pm

  44. Hi,
    I’m a new blogger. I have visited your site many times and your blog was such an inspiration for me to start mine.There were so many days I spent hours and hours on your blog. I should have left a comment long back, but I guess I was feeling shy. Anyway, Thanks for all the beautiful pictures, write-up and authentic recipes.

    Comment by Kribha — April 4, 2007 @ 10:20 am

  45. Hi Indira,
    I have been following your blog for a long time now.I should say your blog is awesome.I have tried many dishes from mahanandi..they always turned out great.I was curious as to how you manage getting things done since what you are doing is not a routine work and it needs time , energy and zeal.Also I greatly enjoy your writing style..I would love to know how you learnt to write in such a lovely manner.Thanks to Mahanandi.


    Comment by sowmya — April 5, 2007 @ 7:19 am

  46. Dear Indira,

    Hearty & well deserved congratulations on 2nd anniversary.

    I pray to lord venkateswara to bless your website for many decades to come.

    All the very best

    Profound regards
    Prasad lbv

    Comment by L B V PRASAD — April 11, 2007 @ 4:16 am

  47. Hi my mother in law does just like you and i posted mine at

    Comment by kalva — September 26, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

  48. Pls check:

    I saw the photo and knew it had to have been lifted from your site.

    Comment by Raaga — October 5, 2007 @ 1:17 am

  49. Hallo Indira,
    your photos and recipes are allways inspiring. Allthough indian cuisine is far away from my experience, I’ll try to cook my first dal today. Following your recipe I’m sure it will be fun and instructive.
    Have a good day,

    Comment by Marcela — February 1, 2008 @ 1:37 am

  50. Hello Indira garu,

    Thanks for you receipe. I am staying away from India. So people like me will be very helpful with your receipes. today i will be doing my dal receipe from your cook book.
    my best wishes to you


    Comment by kanth — April 1, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  51. This website discover different different cooking recopies and every time bring some recopies of new and testy dishes. People like me who love cooking very much would be so happy to find such a delicious recopies of making dazzling dal and tomato dal.

    Comment by — March 22, 2019 @ 4:09 am

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