Guide to Indian Dal

Exciting and exotic dishes from India often utilize a variety of ingredients, including unique dals or legumes. Dal has a long history as it has been cooked since ancient times in India. Whether you are familiar with Indian cuisine or just getting started and exploring authentic flavors for the first time, understanding how and when to use different types of dal is essential for building your Indian cooking repertoire confidently. Here are a few Indian dals and the dishes they are used in. Lobia, better known as black-eyed peas or black-eyed beans, are widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine and are prepared in various ways throughout India. Lobia dal is prepared the same way as other Dals, with onions, tomatoes, different spices, and garnish, and is usually eaten with rice or roti. It is also used in vegetable stews as a source of protein. In some parts of the state of Karnataka, it is cooked with spicy coconut paste.

Toor dal is a cornerstone of Indian cuisine. It is one of the essential legumes, also known as dal. Toor dal is an excellent source of protein and is a popular legume not only in India but also in other parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Toor dal is cooked in different ways in the Indian subcontinent. It is used in making dal dishes like Toor Dal Tadka, sambar, rasam, and various other stews and sauces, besides being used in Vadas and fritters. Sometimes it is ground into a powder or paste and added to dishes as a thickener and flavor enhancer. In southern India, Toor dal dishes are traditionally eaten with rice, while in northern India, it is eaten with rice or Indian bread.

Chana, also known as chickpeas, is a universally loved ingredient and plays an essential role in many dishes. Chana masala is one of the most popular Indian dishes using garbanzo beans, a spicy curry dish bursting with flavor. Chana masala can be eaten with rice, roti, or puri. In other parts of India, chana is used in dal, curries, and even vegetable sauces like sambar and Kutu. Chana is a protein source in vegetable subsidies and is popular in some chart products. Also made from chickpeas is Sundal, a popular South Indian snack in which lentils are seasoned and tempered.