Tomato Saar Recipe

Tomato Saar Recipe
A “saar” is a typical Maharashtrian soup usually made with a dal or lentil base. But it is more similar in its consistency to a light, thin broth or South Indian rasam. When fresh tomatoes are in season, my Tamatar chi Saar is usually on the menu as often as possible.

A saar is usually served as part of a complete meal rather than as a separate course. It is just simply sipped in between bites as a refreshing palate cleanser when needed.

TAMATAR CHI SAAR (Spicy Tomato Soup)


1 cup cooked toor dal (aka split yellow pigeon peas or arhar dal), mashed
4-5 medium ripe tomatoes, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
½” piece of ginger, peeled & finely grated
1 tsp ground cumin powder
¼ tsp turmeric (haldi)
¼ tsp sugar (or jaggery aka gul), to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
4-5 cups water (or you can use the cooking liquid from the dal & the tomatoes also)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
2-3 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise (to taste)
8-10 fresh curry leaves
pinch of asafetida (hing)
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola), or you can use ghee
freshly chopped cilantro for garnish


Score each of the tomatoes by slashing an X on the bottom, this will make for easier removal of the peels later.

In a large pot of boiling water on medium high heat, cook the tomatoes until completely tender & softened. Let cool slightly and reserve the cooking liquid. Then remove the peels & rough chop the tomatoes. Then using a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes until your preferred consistency is reached. I prefer a coarse puree with a little texture but feel free to puree and even sieve the tomato puree for a smoother texture & consistency.

In a medium size soup pot on medium high heat, add 4-5 cups of water (or add the cooking liquid) along with the pureed tomatoes. Mix well to combine & add the cooked/mashed toor dal along with the garlic & ginger. Stir & let cook for a few minutes before adding the spices (ground cumin powder, turmeric, sugar, salt & pepper. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 6-8 minutes.

Now in a small saucepan on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they stop splattering, quickly add the cumin seeds along with the green chilies, curry leaves & asafetida. After 30 seconds, carefully pour this hot oil mixture over the tamatar saar. Garnish with cilantro leaves & serve hot as part of any typical Maharashtrian meal.


You can add about ½ cup of thick coconut milk for a delicious creamier, thicker soup.

 photo Tomato saar.jpg

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