Dals are an integral part of the Indian diet. A major source of protein, that the vegetarians use in their everyday meals. The variety of dals are endless. From moong dal to toor dal and chana to rajma, the list is endless.
Dals are used not just in Indian cuisine but other cuisines as well. In Indian cuisine dals are used to make the dal dish, khichdis, pakoras, dosas, cheelas, sweets like halwas and ladoos, chutneys, chutney podis, parathas, kebabs, soups, cooked along with meats like chicken and mutton, salads.
Some whole dals, are soaked and sprouted to make salads, like that of green moong sprouts, moth sprouts, horse gram sprouts, chana and kala chana sprouts.
A serving of dal along with the meal is always a must in most Indian households. A popular meal of dal, sabzi aur roti.
Each region in the country has their own unique way of making their dal. While in South India, dal is used to make sambar, up north a different variety of dal is sued to make the famous dal makhani.
1. Split Yellow Moong Dal
One of the most commonly used dal in Indian households is this yellow moong dal. Dehusked, with it's skin taken off, this yellow moong dal gets cooked very easily and does not require soaking for a long duration. It is used in both sweet and savoury cooking. From making a classic dal to halwa, stuffing in parathas and used to make salads and even khichdi, this versatile dal is used across the country and is packed with nutrients.
Try these recipes that use the yellow moong dal:
2. Whole Masoor Dal
A brown skinned lentil, that packed with fiber, the whole masoor dal appears brown on the outside and orange on the inside. This protein rich dal, required to be soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight and then used. A classic tadkewali masoor dal is absolutely popular in the Northern states of India. This dal can be used to make khichda as well.
Try these recipes that use the whole masoor dal:
3. Split Orange Masoor Dal
The orange masoor dal is essentially the whole masoor dal that has been dehusked, removing the skin. Easy to digest and quick to cook. This earthy flavoured dal is used to make dals in different ways, varying from region to region. Apart from just being a high source of protein, it contains essential amino acids, potassium, iron and fiber.
Try our recipes that use the orange masoor dal:
4. Whole Green Moong Dal
This versatile dal that is packed with nutrients, can be used as is by soaking and cooking it or made into sprouts and used too. Not just used to make the green moong dal dish but can also be used in salads, pulaos, cheelas, soups and even in parathas.
Try our recipes that use this whole green moong dal :
5. Split Green Moong Dal
This split version of the whole green moong dal, is used a variety of recipes other than where the whole green moong dal is used. Usually, where the split green gram is ground , to be used in the recipe. This split green moong is used to make dals and khichdis too.Try our recipes which use this split green moong dal: Chilke Wali Mung Dal Curry Recipe, Oriya Style Moong Dalma Recipe (No Onion No Garlic), Moong Bhajji Recipe (Moong Fritters)
6. Whole Black Urad Dal
Black skinned urad dal with a white interior, this black dal is packed with nutrients and super high in fiber. Cooks best when soaked overnight. This black dal is used to make dals, and even mithais. The classic Dal makhani and dal bukhara is made using this whole black urad dal.
Try our recipes that use the whole black urad dal:
7. Split Black Urad Dal
Similar to that of the whole black urad dal, this one is split with it's skin intact.This split black urad dal is generally used where the dal is to be ground to make a batter. Try our recipes that use this split black urad dal:Sepu Vadi Recipe (Himachali Split Urad Dal Dumplings In Spinach Gravy), Karwar Style Yerappe Ani Recipe- Rice and Black Split Gram Fried Dumpling, Bedmi Poori Recipe (Spiced Split Black Lentil Pooris)
8. Split Chana Dal/ Bengal Gram Dal
Try our recipes which use the bengal gram:Chana Dal Aloo Cutlet Recipe - Gram Dal Potato Cutlet Recipe, Chana Dal Pulao Recipe, Narkel Diye Cholar Dal Recipe (Bengali Chana Dal With Fried Coconut Slices)
9. Red Kidney Beans/Rajma
Familiar with North Indians speak of Rajma Chawal. Yes the rajma gravy goes best with some steamed rice, making it a complete meal. Red kidney beans are ideally soaked overnight, boiled and then used in any recipe. Apart from using it to make the rajma dish, the boiled rajma is used in salads. Rajma is an essential ingredient in Mexican cooking as well. Used to make the classic chilli and an integral part of fillings in the Mexican cuisine. Try our recipes that use the red kidney beans : Punjabi Rajma Masala Recipe-Rajma Chawal/Spiced Red Kidney Beans Curry, Chatpata Rajma Salad Recipe - Kidney Beans Salad Recipe, Spicy Mexican Layered Chilli Rice Recipe
10. Black Eyed Peas/ Lobia
Also known as cowpea or white lobia. Lobia is cultivated in Asia and widely cooked here as well. the lobia is made into a curry, stir fried to make sundal and can even be used in salads when boiled. Try our recipes that use lobia : Chatpata Lobia Chaat Recipe - Healthy Black Eyed Bean Snack, Mangalorean Style Lobia Gassi Recipe (Black eyed peas in Coconut Curry Recipe), Andhra Style Bobbarlu Vada/ Alsanda Vada Recipe (Spicy Lobia Vada Recipe)
11. Moth Beans/ Matki
Moth Beans also known as Matki is rich in protein and are great for building muscles and providing energy. It is rich in B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, copper, sodium and zinc all of which are essential nutrients the body needs for internal development.
For those who have type 2 diabetes, eating cooked moth beans in the form of this khichdi along with a high-fibre diet can help control long term blood sugar levels.Try our recipes that use matki: Sprouted Matki Cheela Recipe With Palak -Moth Beans Cheela, Matkiche Vade Recipe (Moth Beans Fritters), Matki Chi Usal Recipe (Spicy Moth Sprouted Salad Recipe)
12. Whole White Urad Dal
Whole white urad dal is essentially used, wher it is required o be ground, mostly into a batter or a flour. A variety of vadas are made using this whole urad dal. Try our recipes that use the whole white urad dal: Ulundu Kozhukattai Recipe - Uppu Kozhukattai/ Urad Dal Modak, Chaas Dahi Vada Recipe - Dahi Vada in Refreshing Buttermilk, Biuli Dal Er Boda Recipe (Bengali Style Urad Dal Vada)
13. Split White Urad Dal,
The split white urad dal, is used differently in various regions. In South India, urad dal is an important element of the tadka or seasoning. It adds a bite to the dish the tadka is added to. Apart from making dal out of the urad dal, this split white urad dal is used to make papads, vadas, and even payasams. Urad dal not just improves digestion, but also controls cholesterol.Try our recipes that use the split white urad dal,: Dal Kabila Recipe - Diabetic Urad Dal Tadka, Ulundhu Kali Recipe (Urad Dal Sweet), Kathiyawadi Adad Dal Recipe- Spicy Urad Dal
14. Black Chickpeas/ Kala Chana
Kala chana usually is soaked overnight, pressure cooked and then made ready to use. Popularly served as part of the ashtami prasad , kala chana, puri and halwa. Kala chana is also used to make curries and gravies. In Kerala, the kala chana is used in a classic recipe called the Kadala curry, essentially black chana dunked in a coconut milk based curry. Try the recipes made using kala chana: Sukha Kala Chana Masala Recipe - Ashtami Prasad, Healthy Kala Chana Pakora Recipe - Black Chickpea Pakora, Kala Chana Pilaf Recipe
15. White Chickpeas/Kabuli Chana
Kabuli chana is super popular in the state of Punjab, in India. The authentic pindi chole used kabuli chana in it and served best with kulchas and bhaturas. Kabuli chana is also used in Mediterranean cuisine, and is the main ingredient for the hummus and falafel. Try our recipes that use kabuli chana : Kabuli Chana & Moongphali Salad Recipe, Sukhe Methi Chole Recipe, Spinach Mushroom Chickpea Curry Recipe
16. Adzuki Beans
Black beans that resemble lobia are called Adzuki beans.Generally used in the pahadi cuisine called Kumaonis. Try our recipes that use adzuki beans: Bhatt ki Dal - Traditional Kumaoni Black Bean Dal Recipe, Adzuki Bean Paste Recipe (Red Bean Paste Recipe), Cheese And Black Beans Quesadillas Recipe.
17. Soy Beans
- Soy beans are cooked as is to make a dal and many a times the bean is used to make other by product like soy milk, tofu, soy flour and the soy chunks that have pretty much the same nutritional value. Try our recipes that use soy beans : Soya Beans Paniyaram Recipe (Pan Fried Soy Fritters), Mangalorean Soya Dosa Recipe, Thenga Manga Soya Sundal Recipe
Horse Gram contains the highest protein content of any lentil in the world. This grain is fed to horses to keep them energetic and maintain weight, hence the namesake. Horsegram is also rich in iron and calcium among other nutrients. It is a poor man's food as it provides a lot of energy for a small portion consumed. It is a drought tolerant crop that can be grown in a low rainfall area and even on rainfed dry agricultural lands. Try our horsegram recipes: Horsegram Dal Recipe - Kulith/Kollu Dal, Kollu Puli Kuzhambu Recipe - Horse Gram In A Tangy Gravy, Huruli Usili Recipe (Kollu Sundal - Steamed Horse Gram Snack)
19. Pigeon Peas/ Toor Dal
Popularly known as arhar dal. Toor dal is the main ingredient of the South Indian sambar and the Gujarati Dal. It is rich in iron, folic and magnesium. Used in sambar, bisi bele bhaat, and the popular sweet dish called obbattu or puran poli. The cooked toor dal is the main filling in it. Try our toor dal recipes: Arachuvitta Sambar Recipe - Sambar With Fresh Ground Spices, Sindhi Toor Dal Recipe With Aam Papad - Aam Papad Dal Recipe, Karnataka Style Sandige Huli Recipe (Toor dal dumplings in Gravy Recipe)