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Andhra Dal Curry - Tomato Pappu (Dal)

This is the recipe for Tomato Pappu, Andhra’s version of tomato dal. This tomato dal or Tomato Pappu is a comfort food from Andhra Pradesh (State in South India) that has more than one type and makes for a perfect accompaniment with steaming hot rice with ghee. Dal is called Pappu in Telugu language & there are many variations of this dal. Emil (My husband) is a big fan of Andhra Cuisine and always loved it. He keeps telling me to make dishes inspired from the Andhra Cuisine.
While reading about the dish and after speaking to few Telugu friends, I got to know that there's more than one type of pappu, like the spinach with dal & tomatoes. And also they are cooked slightly different in each household as well. 
While usually most homes use tamarind for this dal along with tomatoes, I made a simpler version of this and avoided the tamarind. Instead I have used more tomatoes along with shallots. 
The basic recipe was shared to us by my husband's colleague, and I also have a huge cookery book called "CURRY" and a version of this recipe is in there. 

The pappu is the perfect first course with steaming hot rice and a dollop of ghee with a stir-fried vegetable or even a spicy Andhra pickle as accompaniments. Lets check how its done. Step by step images uploaded right below the recipe. Also do check out the notes for tips. 

For Cooking dal 
  • 3/4 cup Tur Dal/ Split yellow lentils 
  • 1/3 cup shallots 
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2 Medium sized tomatoes quartered
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Water for cooking 
For Tadka/Tempering : 
  • 3 Tbsp Ghee or oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp ginger & garlic paste/ crushed 
  • 1/2 cup shallots chopped 
  • 5 garlic cloves sliced 
  • 6 green chillies chopped
  • 4 dried red chillies broken
  • 2 tomatoes chopped 
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida or Hing 
  1. Wash the lentils/dal well & put them in a pressure cooker along with shallots, turmeric, tomatoes, salt & oil. 
  2. To this add in about 200 ml water, put the lid on and pressure cook on high- medium heat until 8-9 whistles. 
  3. Remove the cooker from heat and set aside (see notes for alternative cooking method )
  4. Now for the tadka/ tempering, heat ghee or oil in a large pan/kadai over moderate heat
  5. Add the mustard, cumin seeds along with curry leaves and allow them to crackle.
  6. Carefully add in the ginger -garlic paste and saute for 30 secs
  7. Add in the shallots & saute until golden brown
  8. Throw in the green & red chillies and saute for another 30 secs
  9. Mix in the tomatoes and stir them for about 5 mins over medium heat (you could sprinkle a tbsp of water at this stage to prevent the masala from sticking to the base)
  10. Add in the asafoetida & stir. Now to this pour the boiled lentils in the tempering and mix well
  11. Add about 100 ml water to this, cover & simmer for 5-7 mins (See Notes)
  12. Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary
  13. Serve hot with steamed rice & ghee or even with chappati
  • Instead of a cooker, you can also cook the lentils/dal in a saucepan. For that, soak the dal in water for about 20 mins. Then add all the ingredients mentioned. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer till lentils are very soft and almost broken down
  • If the dal is not already broken down, then once you add in the dal to the prepared tadka, add the water & cook for 10 mins more. 
  • You can use ghee or oil as per your liking
  • Ginger - Garlic paste is optional 
Do give this a try  & I am sure you will love it. If you happen to make this, do tag me on Instagram or use #lynnskitchenjournal.

You can also check other Indian Curries up on the blog 


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