Serves: 4
Small pearl onion - 6
Tomato - 2
Toor dal - 3/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/2 tbsp
Tamarind whole - 1 small piece
Salt - as required
Water - 3 cups
Vegetables (optional) - 1 cup
 - Snake guard, drumstick, radish, raw mango etc

For Tempering:
Curry leaves - 3-4
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp


  1. Wash toor dal till water runs clear and soak for 10-15 mins.
  2. Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of warm water.
  3. Add dal, 1/2 tsp turmeric, asafoetida, and 2.5 cups of water to a pressure cooked. Cook on high for 1 whistle, then simmer on low heat for 5 mins before removing from heat. Let the pressure release fully on its own. Keep aside.
  4. Peel onion, and chop in two if too big else leave a whole.Keep aside
  5. Finely chop tomato.Keep aside
  6. Cut vegetables as appropriate: radish in thin rounds, drumstick in finger length pieces, snake gourd in small pieces, mango in small pieces, etc. Keep aside.
  7. Heat 3 tbsp in a saucepan.
  8. Add items under For Tempering and wait for them to crackle.
  9. Add onion and fry till translucent. Should take 2 min.
  10. Add tomato and saute till mushy and oil seeps out at sides. Should take 4-5 mins.
  11. Add turmeric, chili powder, and salt as required, mix well. Add a few tbsp of water so powders don’t burn. Fry till well combined and oil seeps out. Should take 2-3 mins.
  12. Add vegetables. Add just the water from the cooked dal as required, and cook fully. Time depends on vegetable used.
  13. Add cooked dal and mix well. Cover and let it boil for two minutes.
  14. Mix the tamarind in the water till all extract is released. Filter and keep just the liquid.
  15. Add the tamarind liquid little by little to pan, tasting till desired sourness is reached. Add salt as required. Cover and boil for 2 mins.
  16. Mix well and serve hot with rice, dosa, idly, etc.