5 cups water
3/4 cup dry toor dal (yellow split peas)*
4 heaping cups of chopped green and pink tomatoes (about 2.5 pounds, I think - I don't have a scale; chopped into 1/2" dice) – I used half green and half that were pinkish and not fully ripe)
1-2 small green chilies, ribs and seeds removed and chopped - add at least one, and add the second to taste
1 cup water
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon tamarind paste*
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sambar powder*, optional
In a large stockpot, bring the 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the toor dal and turn heat down to medium-high. Cook uncovered until the dal is tender and starting to fall apart, about 30-35 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and chilies and water and cook covered for 10 minutes on medium heat.
Add the remaining ingredients and cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook for another 20-30 minutes – the tomatoes should be very soft and falling apart, and the mixture should be thick and brownish/red and have reduced by about 1/3.