Mysore-Style Toor Dal Soup

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe

This is another recipe adapted from "Mysore Style Cooking" by V. Sandhya. Such an elegant and informative book that is essential for cooks wishing to learn more about south Indian cuisine. As I enjoy toor dal and soup, I decided to make what she so charmingly calls "Sandhya's Soup". She tells us that it is particularly good for babies and children as it is easy to digest. You may wish to omit the hot peppers. It is also easy to prepare and delicious. Adjust the amount of water to achieve your desired consistency. I opted for a thicker version.

The toor dal — or toovar dal or split pigeon peas — used in this recipe is most likely the most popular of all dals in south Indian cooking. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and full texture that makes it a delight in soups, but yellow split peas can be substituted in this recipe for an equally delicious result.

Mysore-Style Toor Dal SoupMysore-Style Toor Dal Soup
Recipe by
Adapted from V. Sandhya
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 9, 2011

Simple, digestible spicy dal soup with tamarind, tomato and chilies

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  • 1 cup toor dal or yellow split peas
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 to 3 fresh green chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • generous handful of fresh or dried curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • Thoroughly rinse the toor dal or split peas in a strainer. Transfer to a medium saucepan and pour in 3 cups of water. Add the ghee, butter or oil and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer until the dal is tender — about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and purée the dal with a hand blender or in a countertop blender. Return to the stove and stir in the tomato, chilies, tamarind paste, cumin seeds, sea salt and black pepper. Add more water if desired and simmer for another 15 minutes.

  • For the tempering, heat the ghee, butter or oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and stir for 30 seconds or until they turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Toss in the curry leaves and asafetida, stir for a few seconds. and then transfer to the soup. Cover and let sit for another 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
More toor dal recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Toor Dal Palak
Toor Dal and Green Bean and Pea Poriyal
Roasted Toor Dal and Coconut Chutney
Tarka Dal

On the top of the reading stack: Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes From London's Ottolenghi


Unknown said...

Looks perfect !!!

Priya Suresh said...

Comforting and delicious soup..

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Looks good Lisa. I would love to say Cooper would like it, but he is suspicious of new food at the moment.

Indian Khana said...

Looks so yum ...dal soup is just delicious

captious said...

The instructions say to puree it, but the dal doesn't look pureed in the photo?

Lisa Turner said...

I partially pureed the soup to leave a little texture.