Dal delights: Unlocking the magic of lentils

Dive into the diverse lentil culinary traditions of India by exploring some popular recipes

29 Jun 2023

From everyday cuisine to grand feasts, lentils hold a special place in Indian traditional cuisine. Each region of India has its own preferred selection of dals, and each dal is prepared uniquely. Beyond their cultural significance, lentils and pulses boast an array of health benefits. They are rich in protein, fibre and essential minerals like iron and folate, and they are a great source of vitamin B12.

At the recently concluded USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council in Mumbai, nutritionists and food scientists came together to discuss the benefits of lentils, pulses, and chickpea flours.

Here’s a look at some of India’s diverse dal-based dishes.

Dal Makhani: A creamy urad dal delight

Made with whole black lentils (urad dal) and kidney beans, this classic Punjabi dish is slow-cooked using a slew of fragrant spices, and some fresh cream. Its popularity transcends borders, making it a staple in many Indian households and restaurants worldwide.

Sambhar: The pride of South India

Sambhar, a staple in South Indian cuisine, is a lentil-based vegetable stew bursting with flavours. Made with toor dal (pigeon pea lentils), an assortment of vegetables, and a unique blend of spices, this tangy and aromatic dish is traditionally enjoyed with idli or dosa. Different regions and even households in the south are known to add their own special twist to the sambhar.

Chana Masala: Spicy and tangy chickpeas

Chana Masala, a popular dish from the northern regions of India, showcases the versatility of chickpeas in our cuisine. Prepared with a melange of spices, tomatoes, and onions, this flavourful dish is often enjoyed with naan or rice.

Moong Dal Tadka: Tasty and comforting

Moong dal tadka, a flavorful lentil dish, is prepared from hulled and split yellow moong dal, meticulously tempered with an array of spices. Once the dal is cooked to perfection, it undergoes a transformative process as it is immersed in a tantalizing blend of ghee or oil and a symphony of spices.

What are some of your favourite lentil-based dishes? Let us know in the comments!

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