Dosakaya pappu - a hearty and comforting south Indian dal made with toor dal, cucumber, and a few staple Indian spices. It is a vegan one-pot curry perfect for a weekday meal and pairs wonderfully with rice.
It is a well-known dish particularly popular in the Telugu cuisine of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The combination of protein-rich lentils, cucumber, and aromatic spices makes this dosakaya pappu recipe a wholesome delight. In addition, this is one of the easiest and most flavourful South Indian recipes you can make with just a few ingredients.
The term "dosakaya" refers to cucumber particularly a variety that is widely used in south India and the term "pappu" refers to dal. This recipe brings the flavours of Telugu cuisine to your kitchen, offering a perfect balance of tanginess and richness. Indulge in the authentic taste of pappu for a satisfying meal.
- Cucumber: I use Indian cucumber. Check the taste before adding in dal to ensure it is not bitter.
- Lentils and vegetables: toor dal (split pigeon peas), tomato, green chillies and curry leaves.
- Whole and dry spices: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, asafoetida (hing) and turmeric powder.
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to prepare dosakaya pappu?
Put toor dal in a bowl, rinse it 2-3 times with cold water, and set it aside.
Wash, peel the skin and cut the cucumber in half. Scoop out the seeds and then cut each half into small cubes.
Use a kettle to boil water, then pour it into the pot and heat over medium heat.
Add washed toor dal, oil, turmeric powder, and green chillies. Stir and cover with a lid.
Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until the dal is half cooked..
When the dal is half cooked, mix in the chopped cucumber and tomato, cover with the lid, and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the dal is soft.
Stir in tamarind and salt, then cook for a couple more minutes.
Turn off the heat and use a stick blender to blend the dal.
To make tadka, heat oil in a small pan over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, let mustard, cumin seeds, and urad dal splutter in it.
Add red chillies and asafoetida, then cook for a minute until red chillies release a pungent aroma.
Add curry leaves and stir well and switch the heat off.
Pour the tadka into the pot of cucumber dal and stir well to combine.
Relish piping hot Andhra style yellow cucumber dal with steamed rice and any side dish of your choice.
Check out dal rasam made with toor dal.
Substitutions and Variations
Ghee imparts a lovely flavour and elevates the taste of moringa dal. Either substitute oil with ghee or use both half quantities each. However, it will not be a vegan curry anymore.
Vegetable stock could be used instead of water for added flavour.
Lentils: Moong dal or masoor dal could be used instead of toor dal.
Lemon juice: Tamarind could be replaced with lemon juice if you do not have tamarind on hand.
Gluten-free: Although asafoetida is naturally gluten-free, the powder is mostly manufactured by diluting with gluten flour, so check the label for gluten free powder or skip it.
Red Chili powder: You could use red chilli powder instead of chillies.
Curry leaves: I had to use dried curry leaves as I didn't have fresh ones on hand. Try using fresh sprig curry leaves as it enhance the taste of pappu.
Serve pappu with rice, papad or tomato pachadi when you are pressed for time or on lazy days.
Fridge: This green dal stays good for 3-4 days in the fridge if stored in a clean airtight container.
Freezer: Leftover moringa curry could be stored in the freezer for future use. If there is a considerable amount, divide the curry into the required portions into freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags and store them in the freezer. Use it up in 2 months
Defrost: Thaw the drumstick dal the night before you plan to consume it. Take a portion out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop until piping hot.
Tips and Tricks
Ratio: For 1 cup of dal, 4 cups water is required. However, the ratio could differ depending on the consistency you want. For a dal with a thin, flowing consistency, you might have to increase the amount of water. Slightly reduce water for a thicker dal.
Pot: Lentils tend to double or triple in size while cooking, so use a pot that is of considerable size.
Lid: Do not leave the pot covered with a lid for too long, as the dal might boil over and spill. It's necessary to take the lid off and stir the dal at regular intervals.
Cooking Time: The cooking time of the dosakaya tomato pappu varies based on burner settings and dal quality.
Oil: Olive oil is my preferred choice for everyday cooking, as well as in this recipe. However, you could use any cooking oil like sunflower, peanut, or vegetable oil instead.
Bitterness: Taste a small piece of cucumber to check the bitterness before cooking. If it's bitter discard it.
How to cook cucumber dal in a pressure cooker?
Either a traditional pressure cooker or an instant pot can be used to cook dal.
Traditional Pressure Cooker
In the cooker, combine the washed dal, turmeric powder, and water, and cover it with a lid.
If using a traditional pressure cooker, place washed dal, turmeric and green chillies. Secure the cooker with the lid, place the whistle, and cook for 3 whistles.
After releasing all pressure, take off the whistle and open the lid.
Mix in cucumber cubes, tomato, tamarind, and cook for a single whistle.
After releasing the pressure, remove the lid and use a hand blender to mash the dal.
For tadka, simply follow the instructions provided above in the "how to cook dosakaya pappu" section or from the recipe card.
Mix in tempering into the dal.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
Plug in an instant pot and press saute mode. Heat oil and do tadka. For tadka, follow the steps in the instructions above or in the recipe card.
Place soaked dal, water, turmeric powder and green chillies inside the steel insert, lock the lid and ensure the pressure valve is in the seal position.
Choose the pressure cook/manual button and set the timer to 8 minutes.
Once the timer goes off, wait for 10 minutes for the pressure to release naturally, then manually release the remaining pressure by moving the valve to venting position.
Open the lid once all the pressure is released, combine cucumber cubes and tamarind, and then close the lid again. Set the pressure cook/manual mode to zero minutes.
Remove the lid once the timer goes off and the pressure is manually released.
Do let me know if you try this south Indian style dosakaya pappu recipe. If you like this recipe kindly consider rating it using stars in the comment section or on the recipe card to help more people find this recipe online. You can stay up to date by following me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or subscribing to my Youtube channel. Or why not subscribe to my blog and get simple recipes straight to your inbox?
📖 Recipe Card
- 1 Ceramic Pot
- 1 Ladle
- 1 Spoon
- 1 Bowl
1 Cup = 250ml ; 1 Tablespoon = 15ml ; 1 Teaspoon = 5ml
- Put toor dal in a bowl, rinse it 2-3 times with cold water, and set it aside.335 gms (or) 1.5 cups Toor dal
- Wash, peel the skin and cut the cucumber in half. Scoop out the seeds and then cut each half into small cubes.325 gms Cucumber
- Use a kettle to boil water, then pour it into the pot and heat over medium heat.6 cups Hot water
- Add washed toor dal, oil, turmeric powder, and green chillies. Stir and cover with a lid.¼ Teaspoon Oil, ½ Teaspoon Turmeric powder, 9 Green chillies
- Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until the dal is half cooked.
- When the dal is half cooked, mix in the chopped cucumber and tomato, cover with the lid, and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the dal is soft.325 gms Cucumber, 1 medium Tomato
- Stir in tamarind and salt, then cook for a couple more minutes.Salt, 20 gms Tamarind
- Turn off the heat and use a stick blender to blend the dal.
- To make tadka, heat oil in a small pan over medium heat.1 Tablespoon Oil
- Once the oil is hot, let mustard, cumin seeds, and urad dal splutter in it.1 Teaspoon Mustard seeds, 1 Teaspoon Cumin seeds, 1 Teaspoon Urad dal
- Add red chillies and asafoetida, then cook for a minute until red chillies release pungent aroma.3 Dry red chillies, big pinch Asafoetida/ Hing
- Add curry leaves and stir well and switch the heat off.a few Curry leaves
- Pour the tadka into the pot of cucumber dal along and stir well to combine.
- Relish piping hot Andhra style yellow cucumber dal with steamed rice and any side dish of your choice.
Looking for other lentil recipes? Try these: