Dal - Common Varieties

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Common Varieties

  • Toor dal, i.e. yellow pigeon peas, is available either plain or oily. It is the main ingredient for the South Indian recipe called sambar. In Karnataka it is called Togari bele.
  • Chana dal is produced by removing the outer layer of kala chana (black chickpeas) and then splitting the kernel. Although machines can do this, it can also be done at home by soaking the whole chickpeas and removing the loose skins by rubbing.
  • Yellow split peas, while not commonly used on the Indian sub-continent, are very prevalent in the Indian communities of Guyana and Trinidad, and were formerly popular amongst Indians in the United States. There, it is referred to generically as dal and is the most popular dal, although masoor dal and toor dal are also used. It is prepared similarly to dals found in India, but also may be used in a variety of other recipes.
  • Kala chana are small chickpeas with brown skins. In the US and Canada, it is known as Desi chickpea and the variety most used is called 'Myles'. It is very disease resistant.
  • Kabuli dal, known for its black coat, is an average-sized chickpea. It grows naturally with the black coat, and it is said to be nuttier in flavor.
  • Mung dal is known as mung bean.
  • Lobiya dal - black-eyed bean
  • Urad dal, sometimes referred to as "black gram", is the main ingredient of the South Indian dishes: idli and dosa. It is also one of the main ingredients of East Indian (oriya and Bengali or Assamese) pitha. The Punjabi version is dal makhani. In Karnataka it is called Uddina bele.
  • Masoor dal is red lentils. In Karnataka it is called Kempu (red) Togari bele.
  • Rajma dal - kidney beans
  • Mussyang is from dals of various colors found in various hilly regions of Nepal.

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