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From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lentils are a staple ingredient in cuisines from the Indian subcontinent. Clockwise from upper right: split red lentils, common green whole lentils, and Le Puy lentils. Whole lentils have their outer coats visible.
Alternative namesDaal, dail, dahl, pappu, ooti
Region or stateIndian subcontinent
Main ingredientsLentils, peas or beans

In Indian cuisine, dal (also spelled daal or dhal in English;[1] pronunciation: [d̪aːl], are dried, split lentils, peas, and beans that do not require soaking before cooking. India is the largest producer of them in the world.[2][3] The term is also used for soups prepared from these pulses. They are among the most important staple foods in South Asian countries[4]

Dal or paruppu is the main ingredient of the Indian snack vada.
Dal tadka and naan

The most common way of preparing dal is in the form of a soup to which onions, tomatoes and various spices may be added. The outer husk may or may not be stripped off. Almost all types of dal come in three forms: (1) unhulled or sabut (meaning whole in Hindi), e.g., sabut urad dal or mung sabut; (2) split with hull left on the split halves is described as chilka (which means shell in Hindi), e.g. chilka urad dal, mung dal chilka; (3) split and hulled or dhuli (meaning washed), e.g., urad dhuli or mung dhuli in Hindi.[5][6]

Dal is frequently eaten with flatbreads such as rotis or chapatis, or with rice. Some types of dal are fried and salted and eaten as a dry snack. Savory snacks are made by frying a paste made from soaked and ground dals in different combinations, to which other ingredients such as spices and nuts (commonly cashews) may be added.

Common ingredients

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Idlis, steamed rice and black lentil (de-husked) cakes
  • Pigeon pea, i.e., yellow pigeon pea, is available either plain or oily. [7] It is the main ingredient for the dish sambar. In Karnataka, it is called togari bele and is an important ingredient in bisi bele bath. It is called kandi pappu in Telugu and is used in the preparation of a staple dish pappu charu. It is also known as arhar dal in northern India.
  • Chana dal is produced by removing the outer layer of black chickpeas and then splitting the kernel. Machines can do this or it can be done at home by soaking the whole chickpeas and removing the loose skins by rubbing. In Karnataka it is called kadle bele. Other varieties of chickpea may be used, e.g., kabuli dal.
Plain dal served with roti, sauteed okra and green-mango pickle


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  1. "20 Dhal recipes". BBC Good Food. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  2. S R, Devegowda; OP, Singh; Kumari, Kalpana (2018). "Growth performance of pulses in India" (PDF). The Pharma Innovation Journal. 7 (11): 394–399.
  3. "FAO in India". Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  4. Davidson, Alan; Jaine, Tom (2014). "Dal". The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 246. ISBN 9780199677337.
  5. Yotam Ottolenghi. "Pulse points: Yotam Ottolenghi's dried bean and pea recipes". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  6. "Sample recipe for Chilka Urad dhal, split unhulled urad".
  7. What is the difference between Split Yellow Pea, Split Chickpea and Split Pigeon Pea?