Dal is a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine. It is used to make various Indian traditional dishes that most Indian people enjoy very often. In many Indian families, dal is consumed daily. They used dal almost daily to make various awesome dishes. Particularly vegetarians always include it in their daily diet because it is a significant source of plant protein. There are various types of dal which are used in Indian cuisine. Those dals are called in different names in different Indian languages. So it becomes very important to know what is called dal in English.
Various types of dal in English as well as Hindi
|Dal in Hindi||Dal in English|
|Urad dal||Black gram|
|Chana dal||Bengal gram|
|Moong dal||Green gram|
|Masoor dal||Pink lentils / Red lentils|
|Arhar dal / Toor Dal / Tuvar dal||Pigeon peas|
|Matar dal||Green or white Peas|
|Moth dal||Turkish gram|
|Kabuli chole||White chickpeas|
|Lobia / Lobhiya / Lobiya||Black eyed beans|
|Rajma||Red kidney bean|
- Sabut dals: Sabut dal means whole lentils or legumes or pulse.
- Dhuli dals: Dhuli huyi dal means washed and skinned/husked lentils or legumes, generally split.
- Chilka dals: Chilka dal means split but comes with skin
- Tooti dals: It means split lentil or legume. There are dhuli huyi (washed) whole or split available in the market. so you need to mention that you want tooti huyi dal. It means it is split from the centre.
|When I started living in Delhi and went to buy some groceries for our kitchen. I asked for dal to the shopkeeper. Then he asked me sabut or dhuli? I was shocked and replied musoor dal. He again asked me :sabut doon yaa chilka?”. I was irritated. Then he show me some types of masoor dal. Then he nodded and said okay “lal wali chahiye”. Actually Bengali people hardly eat whole lentils. For us, dal means husked or skinned one. We hardly consumed whole lentils or legumes or pulses.|
But for the last two or three decades many people loving tadka dal where whole lentils are used to make delicious thick & spicy dal that I love to eat with roti. Many people also add meat or eggs too. So I was familiar with tadka dal since my childhood. Now when I reached at hostel in New Delhi around 2 or 3 o’clock, I was hungry. I had my breakfast on the train early morning. I got a phone number of a local restaurant or dhaba for ordering my lunch. I asked for a paneer sabji, rice, dal and roti. Then they asked for what type of dal – dal fry or dal tadka. I knew about dal tadka because I had tadka several times with roti. So I replied tadka. But when I received my food. I found a different type of dal. It is not tadka dal that I tried in Kolkata. Actually, dal tadka is different from dal based tadka. Dal tadka is a simple dal with special spicy tempering that included a lot of chillies, hing, ginger, garlic etc. I loved that too but I was expecting something else.
Names in Hindi & English
- Various spices (Badi elaichi & choti ilaichi; kalonji seeds, Bengal special radhuni, hing)
- Various vegetables (karela, petha, methi leaves, turai or tori, types of kochu, tamatar)
- Various fruits (bael)
- Various foods (Posto, momos, types of atta, Types of millets)
How to cook dal in Indian cuisine?
As I said dal is a very popular ingredient in Indian cuisines. It is used to make various traditional dishes. North Indian dal curry is a very spicy and aromatic dish. Whereas in Eastern region or North-Eastern region dal is not so spicy. It is thinner and less spicy. In Southern Indian states, sambar and other awesome dishes are prepared with dal (lentils or legumes of pulses). In Western Indian states, it is used to make simple dal curry, as well as whole dals, which are used to make usal or misal. The flour prepared with lentils or pulses or legumes is used to make foods (like idli, dosa, pakoda, khaman dhokla, cheela and many many mouthwatering dishes).
Normally dal is soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking. It helps to cook lentils or pulses or legumes fast and perfectly.