Tadka tomato dal and green tomato chutney – Summer Fest

Recently I was browsing through food blogs and stumbled upon something really interesting. Margaret Roach and a few more bloggers have joined together to celebrate peak harvest season by a cross-blog event called the Summer Fest. The event invites all interested bloggers to contribute in whatever way they want. So you can swap your recipe or tips about the particular harvest ingredient which is the theme for that particular week.


I thought it was a cool idea and felt compelled to contribute a recipe of mine as well. This week’s theme was tomatoes. Tomato is such an important part of Indian cooking. There’s so much you can do with it and at the same time not a lot you can do without it. I thought of a lot of Indian recipes which are solely dedicated to tomatoes and would have been perfect for the theme but somehow they were a bit complicated for each n everyone to understand.


Then I came down to a few options and decided to make something that everyone can make in their kitchen irrespective of the fact that they are familiar to Indian spices or not. So I decided to make Tadka Tomato Dal  along-with Green tomato and cilantro chutney. Its something which is kind of a staple in North Indian homes and is very easy to put together.

Tadka Tomato Dal:


I love any kind of dal (lentils) mostly because I love how something so simple and straightforward gives such burst of flavors. For this recipe I added all kinds of tomatoes I could find in the farmer’s market and added it to yellow lentils and when it was cooked I was so amazed at how dal was packed with the taste of tomatoes.


Chop all the tomatoes mix it with lentils. Add water four times the quantity of lentils add salt and turmeric and cook it.


When the lentils are cooked its time to make tadka. Tadka also called chaunk or baghar in hindi is nothing but tempering. A few spices and some flavorings are freid in a small amount of oil or clarified butter (ghee in hindi) and then added to the main dish which in this case is tomato dal.



For lentils:
1 cup tuar dal  (yellow lentil)
3 cups sliced tomatoes. ( I used all kinds of tomatoes I got my hands into green, red, yellow. You can use whatever you have at home)
4 cups of water
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste

For tadka:
2 tsbsp oil or clarified butter (ghee)
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp curry leaves (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
4-5 cherry tomatoes (sliced into halves)
1 tsp cayenne pepper


Wash lentils thoroughly to the extent that water comes clear when added to it.
Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric along-with 4 cups of water and place it on burner on high.( If you are using a pressure cooker place it on medium.)
Once water starts to boil turn the heat to medium low, cover it with a lid and let it cook.
After lentils are cooked well turn off the heat and start making tadka.
You’ll need a small frying pan for making tadka. Heat oil/ghee in the pan.
Add asefotida. When it starts tempering add mustard and cumin seeds.
It will start popping if the oil is hot enough and then add garlic. Let it brown.
Add sliced tomatoes. Cook then for about 4-5 minutes and just before they start to melt add cayenne pepper.
Turn the heat off immediately and add the tadka to hot lentils. Mix well.

Green Tomato & Cilantro Chutney:


This chutney was one of those rare things that everyone in our family loved and so my mom used to make it almost everyday throughout summer and also sometimes in winter. Mostly summer because in India we used to get the most flavorful and fresh tomatoes at that time. Green tomatoes have a slight sour and tangy taste to it and that makes this chutney worth every bite. If you don’t find green tomatoes you can also use red tomatoes and if you think your tomatoes are not sour/tangy enough just add a little bit of lemon or lime juice.



2 cups of cilantro
1 cup tomatoes
2-3 green chili or jalapenos (seed them if you don’t want it very hot)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp lemon/lime juice (optional)
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste


There’s no method to it. Just throw it all in a blender add a little water for the blades to move and make a runny sauce.

summer-fest-2010-logoIf you want to know more about summer fest click here

Also Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers


  1. My first visit to your website.
    I made your fabulous Indian Curry Paste and nearly fainted. Yum.
    So tonight, on the stove, as I type, is this recipe.
    I am very excited to taste it.

  2. I made this dish this evening, I did not have asafoetida so omitted that and subsituted dijon mustard for black mustard seeds, It still turned out very delicious.
    The only thing is i burnt my tarka a little bit but still very tasty…

  3. I have just recently come across your blog and I love it! The way you describe the herbs and methods makes it easy for a western mind to understand. I tried this dal recipe for my husband, he liked it too! Love the tomatoes and learning about the “new” spices. Found a place not far from me that actually sells curry leaves and hing. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  4. Yum! We’re becoming somewhat ‘seasoned’ Indian chefs (you should see how our spice cupboard has multiplied…it is now literally a SPICE CUPBOARD, 2-3 whole shelves…) and this was a great addition to our recipes. We did use red lentils, and found the water too much in this case, it was fairly soupy. So if you use red lentils (the variety our local Indian market sells, anyways) maybe you need less water for our preference. Similarly we left the lid at least halfway open to let some water get out.

    Anyways that’s all minor, delicious recipe! Your tadka is much better than a New York Times recipe we tried…for tadka and lentils…that one was very bland. Good job, thanks :-)

  5. Thanks so much David for trying the recipe out and also for your kind words! You don’t sound funny at all because I face such situations everytime even while trying my mom’s recipes :-)
    What’s important it that it tasted good!

  6. This was my first attempt at Indian food – it was easy-to-do and delicious. Thank you SO much for sharing these recipes, and for making them feel so approachable!

    It’s funny: I wasn’t sure I was doing it right until the very end. When I poured the tadka over the cooked lentils, it was like magic the way it came together: “Suddenly Dal”, in a way. Forgive me — this probably sounds silly to anyone more experienced, but it was exciting for me, and delicious for my family! I couldn’t be happier with it.

  7. Hey Zom G- I’m glad you liked the recipe. I’m having so much fun with the summer/fall fest myself. It sort of gives you a challenge and I love that. You can check my recipe for bell peppers.

  8. You have a fantastic blog dear.. Love all the pictures. Too good at photography. And you have a good collection of recipes too. They are awesome. Keep it going. will be here often to see wats up :)

  9. Dal looks yummy and as always beautiful clicks!
    I loved the one with cilantro leaves! Its a treat to the eyes!
    And next time I am also adding cherry tomatoes to my arhar dal tadka!!