Tomato Dal
While we were moving and shifting to new place, it was inevitable that we eat outside a lot more often than we would have liked. After a while the taste buds start craving for some home cooked meal and that's what happened to us. We had enough of all those greasy and unhealthy meals to last us a long time and the first thing I did the moment my kitchen came together reasonably was to cook warm soul food - food that I grew up with and desired. Tomato Dal is nothing but a stew made with lentils cooked in tomatoes. Its an Indian specialty and this recipe is adapted from my mom's version. She makes this with pigeon peas while I have used red lentils. On those special Sunday lunches or when guests came over, she added few cashew bits to this stew which I loved. I happened to see in some Vegetarian cookbook where they had made a similar dish but topped with almonds.
Tomato Dal
Sounded perfect to me and likewise this dish was so for me. Immensely simple to make and the taste is out of this world. Its very low in fat and is one of those rare dishes which can be served just the way it is for an elaborate party dinner but also enjoyed on a day to day basis.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 2 people
  • 1 onion,chopped
  • 1 carrot,chopped into small cubes
  • 1-2 green chillies, thinly sliced (as per taste)
  • 4 medium tomatoes,chopped
  • 1/2 cup red lentil, cleaned and drained in cold water
  • 2-3 garlic,minced
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut (frozen works too)
  • 1 tsp each -mustard,black lentils (split black gram),turmeric and cumin
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 lemon
  • few sprigs of cilantro and curry leaves
  • approx 1-2 tbsp sliced almonds
1. In a pan, heat 1/2 tsp oil, temper it with mustard seeds, cumin, chillies, black lentils (urad dal) until the mustard starts spluttering. Then add garlic, onions, carrots and tomatoes along with salt, asafoetida and turmeric. Saute them until soft.
2. Add the lentils, saute for 2-3 minutes
3. Add 2 cups water along with curry leaves, close the lid and let the lentils cook for about 10-15min until soft. If the gravy gets too thick, add more water as per the consistency required.
4. Meanwhile toast the almonds until aromatic - You can do it either in an oven or use a skillet.
5. Grind the coconut along with little water and add it to the cooked lentils.
6. Cook for another 2-5 minutes and garnish with cilantro and almonds.
Healthy, simple and yummy. Is anything else needed to make my day and bring back that lost appetite?! Tomato Dal

Ideal Accompaniments

How to freeze cooked Dal? By DK on Sep 6, 2020

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By Adriana on Sep 9, 2013

Hello! I am surprised to see onion and asafoetida used together in recipe. I thought asafoetida was used by those who avoid onions, or am I wrong?

By p m vijayalakshmi on Aug 23, 2013

i love all resep i read each and every comment and i am able to

By jaykris on Jan 8, 2013

When to add lemon juice?

Just before serving or right at the end when the heat is on simmer --DK

By Vidhya on Oct 16, 2012

Hi, Is it ok to make this dish with yellow toor dal? Please let me know.

Oh yes! Whatever you like. The taste will change and also you would need to cook toor dal separately since cooking on the stovetop will take longer. Masoor (red lentil) cooks quickly --DK

By Sunil on May 26, 2012

Followed it to the line and loved, it. I notched it up a tiny bit with green chillies.

By indu on Jan 18, 2012

made this today....just loved it. simple, healthy and a complete comfort food....

By aarti on Sep 16, 2010

Hi DK, Can we boil red lentils(masoor daal) before adding to the sauteed vegetables. like wat we do in regular for daals. pls let me know bcos i have to prepare it for weekend get together.

Yes u can

By JK on Feb 1, 2010

Hi If we don't have the black lentils, is it OK to omit? What is asafoetida? Are we able to sub with something else? Tks!

Its abs fine to omit both of them. Asafoetida is a common seasoning ingredient more commonly used in the south indian cuisine giving the food an additional aroma and taste. Its not required per se and does not majorly affect the outcome of the final recipe. :) --DK

By Hetal on Nov 20, 2009

hi- i do make this dal often at home,we too love it each time its cooked.i have recipes to share from my side as well, one's handed down by my mom and mom-in-law.can i? love,hetal.

Dear Hetal, have sent you a mail w.r.t this :) - DK

By Paramita Brahmachari on Nov 19, 2009

:idea: I didn't have any idea how to make Urad Dal . When my husband knew about this , he request me to make the dish for him. So I must try to make this dal this week end . Thank you Chefin You .

By Sonia on Oct 24, 2009

This is by far the most delicious dal I have ever had or made. My husband loves this dal and it is now a regular dish in our household. I cannot wait to see my Mum again (she is based in London and I'm in California) to make and share this dish with her. Thanks!

Dear Sonia - thanks for your kinf words. Appreciate the feedback :) -- DK

By Beth on Jun 13, 2009

The recipe looks delicious! I was not sure when do I add the garlic and asafoetida. I could not find where to add it in the recipe. Maybe I just overlooked it?

Simply add them along with onions Beth! This dish is not fussy at all - almost anything added in any order will come out tasting yummy :) I had overlooked mentioning them in the recipe method. Thanks for pointing it out. I have updated the same. :)

By fine jewelry on May 25, 2009

Great work! I also have my own blog I just find it hard to write quality content like this. I guess I really don't have the time.

By Krishni Jai on May 12, 2009

its really very very very tasty,osam.........

By Mamatha on May 7, 2009

Hi DK, You have a fabulous collection of recipes here. I'm sure to come back and try some of them. Enjoy your new home. Best wishes, Mamatha Thanks Mamatha. I am glad u like what you see! U r welcome anytime :)

By mandira on May 7, 2009

glad the move went well DK.. the tomato dal looks fantastic... it's rainy and cold here and the bowl looks so good... :)

The move sure took a bit of me with it! But I am glad too that its done with now :) I made it when it was rainy here too! :)

By Divya vikram on May 6, 2009

Dhiv, am so loving the look of your website! Dal looks comforting and rich! Well said, this is suitable for parties as well as for everyday meals.. Thanks Divs :) You made my day!

By With This Diet I Lost T h i r t y P o u n d s in Thirty Days on May 6, 2009

Hi, nice post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for blogging. I will certainly be subscribing to your site. Keep up great writing Thank you for your comments. I am glad you like what you see

By Sumi on May 6, 2009

Your new webpage looks wonderful.Though we try more complicated recipes , our day to day simple food wins our heart isnt? the pictures look great. Thanks Sumi :) Yes u r right...I need my simple foods often too

By Priya on May 6, 2009

Gorgeous click, yummy and simple dal yet its looks to rich coz of almond flakes...

Thanks Priya..yes almond really does it

By bee on May 6, 2009

nice new look!!! and yummy dal. enjoy your new home.

Thanks Bee

By Siri on May 6, 2009

the dal looks so comforting and I bet, almonds would have added a nice crunch to it. I love the first pic :D Great going Dhivs! Hugs, Siri

By notyet100 on May 6, 2009

yummylicious,..:-)loved ur new space a lotz,.:-)

By Happy Cook on May 6, 2009

Dal looks so y!umm, i love the addition of almonds in them too. I thought i was first in a wrong place ;-)

By CurryLeaf on May 6, 2009

Love the first dish from the new kitchen.I make another and very simpler version but this one with almnds and veggies is a must try.Looks too tempting

By Madhumathi on May 6, 2009

Hey love love this new look of your space :) Love your tomato dal recipe..i like the addition of almonds in it!

By rekha on May 5, 2009

this new place looks very nice DK looks so pleasent and comming to tomato dal mmmmm yummy add ing almonds and coconut milk is very new to me I think it makes the dal rich yum.

By arundati on May 5, 2009

dal looks good... i love tomato pappu...

By Arundathi on May 5, 2009

that looks wonderful with the almonds. delicious. we haven't chatted for a really long while! miss you!

You spoke my thoughts...yeah its been a while. Will catch so soon

By Divya on May 5, 2009

Hi DK..First of all,let me congratulate you for presenting us with your spanking new kitchen.Its lovely and I like the new space as much as I did the old one.Tomato Dal looks yummy and the striking thing about the pic is the toasted almonds,they look so pretty as a garnish.Lovely!!

Thanks Divs. You know all the right words dont you :) Hugs

By Gita Jaishankar on May 5, 2009

Delicious dhal DK. Looks so comforting. Adding coconut in tomato dhal is new to me. I should try your dhal soon. Looks yummy with almonds garnished on top :)

By Sonu on May 5, 2009

Sound healthy and yummy...!!! :) It sure is Sonu

By karuna on May 5, 2009

yummooooo!!!! loved the alomds on top

Ray Ray should have patented that word! she would be zillionaires by now! :) I am fond of the almonds too :)

By vineelasiva on May 5, 2009

Wow nice and tasty dal.By adding coconut and Sliced almonds r new to me.Will try this.

By Ramya Vijaykumar on May 5, 2009

Lovely dhal, adding coconut is a good variation and the almond topped dhal bowl is looking yummy!!!

Thanks Ramya - adding coconut gives it a mind blowing taste. but then avoiding it (esp. for health reasons), this dal is still a keeper! My mother does not use coconut for day to day cooking since my dad has diabetes and it still tastes absolutely yummy:)

By Trupti on May 5, 2009

daal looks delicious Divya. Lovely Click. Love the new look of ur website.

By parita on May 5, 2009

Wow yummy tomato dal....the pic looks great :)

By Indhu on May 5, 2009

simple and comforting... almonds add a bit of exotic to this dish :) lovely pictures!

Yes Indhu - u r bang on when you said about almonds adding the exotic touch! A simple Tomato dal gets a makeover pronto :)

By sathyasankar on May 5, 2009

Love the dal, very delicious and healthy..

Its my fav too!:)