Saturday, October 5, 2019

Tomato Dal Soup - Americanized

Wow! This easy to make plant based Indian dal (soup) has lots of flavor, protein, fiber, and valuable nutrients!Tomato  dal is traditionally made from a whitish yellow colored split pea- called toor dal.
Toor dal is commonly used in Indian cooking; You can substitute easy to find yellow split peas instead. When I eat my dal as a soup, I add more broth otherwise eat it as a side dish over rice.
See how I made this warming, delicious soup!

toor dal

Funny ! How I Got the Toor Dal at Costco 
The other day I went to Costco to shop for a few items. While I was there I noticed a HUGE bag of organic toor dal. Out of curiosity, I placed a bag in my cart, just to look at it, with the intention of putting it back. Unfortunately, as we shopped the bag of toor dal was covered up by other items. While I went to the ladies room, my husband checked out and of course checked out this humungus seven pound bag of organic toor dal! OY!

Pot of dal vegan

I do like Indian food, but I usually eat it in an Indian restaurant. Truthfully, despite being a vegetarian, I am not familiar with Indian vegetarian cooking. I did once make a wonderful and easy Spinach Dal  that I made with yellow split peas.

Indian dal

With 7 pounds of organic toor dal, I am going to be researching a lot of recipes. I know I could return the bag,  but I live 25 minutes away from Costco when there is no traffic, and I don't go to Costco that often. I will find ways to use it and share some with willing friends.

organic toor dal

I found an onion tomato dal  recipe on a blog called Cook With Kushi and another tomato onion dal on a blog called Spice up the Curry . I was inspired by the two recipes to make my own more American version of dal soup!

I used the Instant Pot for the entire recipe and eliminated and some of the ingredients, and added a few others to suit my American taste.

Tomato dal seems to be a common Indian dal recipe using tomatoes, onions, Toor dal, and spices.

I did buy whole cumin seeds which can be found on Amazon or any Indian food store. Cumin seeds  add a special unique flavor that you don't quite get with ground cumin. However, if you don't have or want to buy the cumin seed, you can certainly add cumin powder to the recipe. Toor Dal can also be found on Amazon.

My Americanized Version of the Recipe
I made my Americanized version of the basic recipe, and I LOVED IT!! It was warming, comforting, satisfying, and delicious! Immediately after tasting the soup/dal, I knew what I would be making this dal frequently during the fall and winter months, thus easily using up a great deal of the seven pounds of Toor Dal! I am a vegetarian so legumes make up a large part of our diet.

How Indian Cooks Make Dal
When browsing through a variety of blogs by Indian cooks, I noticed  that most Indian cooks use the pressure cooker to cook the legume in plain water, but sautee the spices and vegetables separately on the stove top and then mix the two together. I decided to make my entire recipe in the Instant Pot and I think it came out great! They also use many more spices than I added. For example, they use a spice called hing, coriander, curry leaves, and lots of chili peppers.


1/2 cup of vegetable broth divided, for sautéing 
1 cup of Toor dal or yellow split peas, washed
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 cups of chopped onion (about 1 med/large onion)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups of chopped  tomato, fresh or canned ( I used cherry tomatoes)
1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
Optional: Add Chillies if desired (I didn't)

Instant Pot Directions: 

 Add the cumin seeds and turmeric to the insert lining of the Instant pot. Toast for about 2 minutes on sauté setting ,stirring constantly. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and add 1/4 cup of vegetable broth, Stirring frequently, sautee the onion mixture for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and lemon juice and allow to cook on sautee (add another 1/4 cup of broth) for about another 4 minutes. Add the Toor dal or yellow split peas, broth and water. Cancel the sautee function. Secure lid and shut steam valve. Set to pressure cook for 9 minutes. When done, release steam manually or allow to release naturally. When all steam is released, remove lid and stir well. I used a whisk and whisked it somewhat.

Shared on Beth Fish Read's  Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post.

Also shared on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sammie recipe.

My Notes: 

1. If you do not have cumin seeds, substitute ground cumin and just add the turmeric and cumin to the onions when sautéing.

2. I prefer not to use canned goods if I can help it to avoid exposure to the aluminum and or BPA. In the winter canned chopped tomatoes may be an easier choice. At least buy organic.

3. I made my dal in the Instant Pot because I love using the Instant Pot so much I make all my soups in it. However, this dal can be made on the stove top by following directions, adding more water and or broth and cooking much longer until the lentils are soft- maybe 25 minutes as opposed to 9 minute cook time in the Instant Pot. I also find the Instant Pot cleans up in a minute as opposed to scrubbing a soup pot.

4. Dal is often eaten over rice; I like mine as a soup with more liquid.

5. I used Tabatchnick brand vegetable broth which has a wonderful flavor (In the Kosher isle of many supermarkets)

6. Dr. Amen (respected brain doctor for brain health ) says to ask yourself - Is this food helping my health or stealing my health? Good question- This soup is a winner!!


Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click on a link on my site and make a purchase, I will be compensated a small amount at no cost to you. This compensation helps defray the costs of running this blog. Thank you for your support.


  1. That’s a funny story. Costco has those giant carts and I can see filling one up and letting some items become a surprise later! Great recipe. We always partake of the dal at our favorite Indian restaurant.

  2. This sounds so perfect for right now -- it's getting downright fall cool outside, which always makes me want to eat soups and stews and beans and legumes. I too make everything in the IP -- easier and less cleanup.

  3. What a great Costco story! It's really fun to shop there but so dangerous.

    I just read "Meathooked" which is about meat eating and efforts to stop meat eating. The author says that vegetarianism didn't catch on in the US because the 19th century veg foods were tasteless and unappealing, but that in India the flavors of vegetarian foods were wonderful! (I reviewed the book this week. You might like it.)

    best... mae at

  4. You cook like I cook!
    I never go to Costco, that's my husband's job. I never know what he will bring home but his surprises are usually sweet ones. That bag will last you a long time! You could make yellow pea soup.

  5. What an adventure with the big bag of dal! Your recipe sounds delicious -- I'll have to try the stove top version since I don't have an Instant Pot.

  6. Hi Judee, Visiting you from weekend cooking. Don't know much about indian cooking either, but will see what I do with this recipe. Now we know what your go-to dinner or lunch will be for the next few months.LOL. I find many of the things Costco sells are intended for large, large families and I try to be very selective with what I buy there. Know the price is excellent on most things, so that's an advantage. Have a good WE and be well.

  7. I love dal, but have never thought to make it. I am also a big fan of Indian food, so this is on my list.

  8. Easy and so very flavourful and tasty!

  9. Lol, you got a big bag of toor dal. That's good though!
    I love Indian cuisine, and this dal looks so yummy.
    I'd love to try it, but I won't buy toor dal that much :)

    have a great Sunday!

  10. Evi,
    You can try this recipe with yellow split peas if you don't have toor dal

  11. Nice! what a giant bag of dal and your Americanized version looks amazing. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week.

  12. This sounds so good! Think I will try it. I make a lot of Indian food - we all like it. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  13. Wow! what a unique recipe it is,great recipe thanks for sharing with us. Will try this soon to make it out.
    toor dal online shopping
    toor dal online india
    Tuwar Dal Online

  14. Sounds like a rich, flavorful dish! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party. Hope to see you there tomorrow too!

  15. I enjoyed reading your shopping story, Judee, and had to laugh when I saw how big the bag of toor dal is. I am glad your first experience using it is a winner: your soup looks nice (I would like to try a bowl :) It is also good that legumes have a long shelf life.


Your comments are appreciated. I love knowing who is stopping by to read my posts! Have a great day.