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Pappu Pulusu / Indian Spicy Lentil Soup

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Recipe Cooked, Photographed and Written by Praveena

PrepTime:5 mins   CookTime:15 mins   Cuisine:Indian

Pappu Pulusu / Toor Dal Gravy or translated as Indian Spicy Lentil Soup can be said as one of the foods of common man in India. Its because of the basic and minimal ingredients used for this recipe. And , this recipe is also inherited from my dear Mom and its my Father’s favourite too.

I remember those days, when the vegetables at home were just very few, and my Mom used to make this delicious dish with appadalu / poppadams. I feel so satisfied that I could make the exact replica (even in the taste) of my Mother’s recipe.

You can have it just like as a soup or pair it up with any rice or quinoa too. This lentils soup is a perfectly Vegan,Gluten free,Oil free (if you can avoid the tempering) , One pot meal/soup recipe without adding any extras.

You can make it in a pressure cooker / instant pot / crock pot / stove top too. Just try , you would surely love it in any way you eat ! 

Before starting to cook, don’t forget to see the Tips mentioned in the end.

Other soup recipes here⇒ Salads & Soups

My salad recipes collection here⇒  Salads & Soups

Starter / Appetiser recipes collection here⇒  Starters / Snacks

Related posts⇒  

  1. Tomato Dal / Lentil Stew / Tomato Pappu 
  2. GreenCucumber-LentilStew / ToorDal / KeeraDosakaya Pappu
  3. Broccoli-Squash Lentil Stew / Broccoli-Sorakaya Pappu/ Broccoli-Tinda Dal

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  • Toor dal / Kandi Pappu / Yellow Lentils – 1 cup
  • Tamarind puree – 3 tablespoons 
  • Onions – 2 (medium size)
  • Tomatoes – 2 (medium size)
  • Green Chillies – 4
  • Rice flour or Chickpea flour – 1 tablespoon (optional)
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1½ teaspoons
  • Salt – 2 teaspoons
  • Sugar or Jaggery – 2 teaspoons
  • Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander (chopped) – 2 tablespoons 
  • Water – enough to cook and boil
  • Ginger Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon (optional)

Ingredients For Tempering: (optional)

  • Cooking Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Mustard Seeds / Aavaalu – ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin Seeds / Jeera – 1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida / Hing / Inguva – half of ¼ teaspoon

Special Ingredients:

  • Red Chilli Powder 
  • Tamarind

Procedure for ‘Pappu pulusu / indian spicy lentil soup’:

  • Firstly, take the pappu/dal/lentils into a pressure cooker and wash them twice thoroughly.
  • Pour water into the cooker vessel upto a level that the dal/lentils or just dipped.
  • Now, cut the tomatoes and onions cube sized and slit the green chillies length wise.
  • Add everything to the cooker vessel.
  • Put the lid and whistle on and cook it upto 4-5 whistles.
  • When the pressure is released, open the lid and add the red chilli powder,salt and turmeric powder.

    Salt, Red Chilli Powder and turmeric powder added
  • Then, add the tamarind puree , sugar, 1½ cups of water and a tablespoon of coriander.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste also, if you wish to. I did not.
  • Mix everything from the bottom of the vessel, thoroughly but gently.
  • Switch the stove on under medium flame.
  • Let it boil for 3-4 mins and let the quantity become thick.
  • At this stage you can add the rice flour or chick pea flour to thicken faster.
  • When the content in the vessel thickens, switch off the flame, transfer the soup into a serving bowl and garnish it with chopped coriander. Done!!
  • If you wish to do the tempering, take all the ‘Ingredients for tempering’ into a small pan onto the stovetop, and fry them until the mustard start to splitter splatter and switch off the stove.

    After the tempering is transferred to the vessel
  • Just like the above pic,transfer this tempering into the vessel and mix gently. Done!!


  • You can use either yellow lentils or red lentils for the same recipe.
  • Adjust the spice and salt according to your taste.
  • You can skip the tempering part, which doesn’t change the taste of the soup anyhow.
  • This, pappu pulusu / indian spicy lentil soup, can be stored in fridge for up to 3-4 days.


  • The taste of this, pappu pulusu / Indian spicy lentil soup, is spicy and tangy too. But the texture is thick because of the lentils.
  • Perfectly suitable especially for cold winters, & to satisfy taste buds craving for spice.
  • You can have just as a soup or can have it along with any rice or quinoa or bread.
    Bowl Of Indian spicy lentil soup garnished with fresh coriander leaves

    Bowl of Indian Spicy Lentil Soup served with rice and poppadams, smeared with homemade ghee/neyyi.

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