Lentils or Dal are a great staple of many Indian dishes. Knowing the type of Dal there are can be a mind field. In this short blog we take a look at types and names and of course have a few super recipes for you to try.
Lentils, a type of legume, are a staple in many parts of the world. They are high in protein, low in fat and are a good source of fiber, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Lentils make an inexpensive, convenient and a healthy alternative to animal sources for protein.
Lentils are a fantastic source of protein for vegetarians. Just 100g contains 26g of protein which is equivalent to 52% of your recommended daily allowance. There are incredibly versatile, easy to cook and very filling.
In India, “dal” is the word for lentils, and “moong dal” is the general term for mung lentils, also known as split yellow mung beans. Moong dal is native to India, but has also been cultivated in southeast Asia and China since the late Neolithic era, according to “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.” Many Indian home cooks use split yellow mung beans in soups because they cook quickly, but you can also blend cooked moong dal into a fine paste to make dumpling batter. A classic Indian dish called “muger dal” combines moong dal, spinach and an aromatic blend of spices. Depending on where you buy the Dals, Spices and pantry ingredients from, they might use just the English names, both English and Hindi names, or just the Hindi/Indian names (eg. in Indian stores). English names sometimes also depend on the country or shop (for eg yellow lentils can mean any of the yellow dals, but in the US in mostly petite yellow lentils are used for Mung dal(split mung bean)).
English/ Hindi Indian Dals
Names – Black Eyed Peas – Raungi, Chawli, Lobhia – Black Gram Lentils, Split and skinned – Urad Dal – Black Gram Whole – black gram lentils – Sabut Urad (these are not black beans, not beluga lentils, not caviar black lentils). They look like black mung beans. – Chickpeas, Brown (Bengal Gram)- Kala Chana – Chickpeas, green – Cholia / Hara Chana – Chickpeas, split – (Split Bengal gram) , Chana Dal – Chickpeas, white – Garbanzo Beans, Kabuli Chana, Safed Chana, Chole – Kidney Beans, red – Rajma – Lentils, brown (whole) – Sabut Masoor – Lentils, Red/orange/pink (split brown lentils) – Masoor Dal – Lentils, yellow petite – (Split Mung Beans) – Mung Dal – Mung Beans (green gram whole) – Hare Moong – Pigeon Peas, split – Arhar, Tuvar, Toor – Yellow split Peas.