Tomato Pappu or Tomato-Split Pigeon Pea lentils


Tomato Pappu or Tomato-Split Pigeon Pea lentils

Tomato Pappu or Tomato-Split Pigeon Pea lentils are one of the most cooked dishes in Andhra cuisine. Andhra cuisine is known for its spicy tangy flavours which are absolutely delicious. Dal is a staple in north Indian or south Indian food and it can be cooked in various ways thus keeping it interesting every day.

Tomato and split pigeon pea lentils are cooked till they are soft and mushy. Then this mashed dal is tempered with ghee or clarified butter. This is eaten mainly with steamed rice.

I like to add garlic to the tempering as it gives it a very pungent flavour. In Andhra cuisine, tamarind pulp or raw mango pieces too are added but I find it too sour for my taste, so I skip that. The tomatoes are sour enough and give a nice tangy taste to the dal.

Usually, Toor dal or pigeon pea lentils are used to make Tomato Pappu but in summer, petite yellow lentils or split and dehusked green gram or moong dal or even split red lentil or masoor dal is used.

Tomato Pappu mixed with rice and fresh Mango or Avakai pickle, drizzled with a generous amount of ghee is deadly comfort food. Simple fare but soulful food! Kandi Pappu with tomato is a universally loved dish with the right tempering and garnish of fresh coriander.

Recipe for Tomato Pappu or Tomato-Split Pigeon Pea lentils


1 cup tur dal (Kandi Pappu) or split pea lentils

3 large tomatoes, finely chopped

2 green chillies slit lengthwise

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

For tempering or tadka

1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

3 dried red chillis

4 garlic flakes crushed

Few curry leaves

½ tsp red chilli powder

Fresh Coriander leaves


Wash the dal at least 3 times and soak for about 15 minutes.

Transfer dal into a pressure cooker and add 3 cups of water.

Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder and green chillies.

Cover the lid and pressure cook for 5 whistles. Open the cooker once the steam is released and check that the dal is soft and mushy.

Transfer dal to a serving bowl.

Heat ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds, let them pop, add the cumin seeds, garlic, red chillis, and curry leaves.

Add the red chilli powder and remove from fire.

Pour over the hot dal and watch the sizzling tempering adding flavour to the dal. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with steamed rice or even hot roti or flatbread for those who do not like rice.


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