Lentils (Daal) are a staple food of Indian diet. Almost every Indian home cooks daal in one of the meal. I have grown up eating daal chawal, this combination is a hit among kids & it was fix item at lunch in our house.
You will not be surprised that Daal is not only delicious to eat but also packed with massive protein punch and that’s just the start. Just one cup of cooked Daal can give you as much as 62 per cent of your daily dietary fibre requirement.They also have high levels of important minerals like manganese, phosphorous, pottasium, iron and copper.They are high in folates and the B-vitamins like Thiamin..aaah isn’t it too much! Well I guess these are good enough reasons to include them in your daily routine.
You know my mom always called every daal by name to make us aware of them with their colors. Most of us generally recognize & call them by their color; yellow, black, red etc. It’s is really a task to remember every daal by its name & differentiate one from another.To help those in a similar predicament, here are pictures of the most commonly used and popular Indian daals.
1. Chana daal
“Chana daal” mean “split chickpeas.” (Chana gram is a whole chickpea) is the most popular legume in India. It is very versatile dried split yellow lentil with a slightly sweet taste, nutty flavor. It is used in variety of vegetable dishes. It can be cooked until soft for the dish called simply daal (yellow daal), or as in southern India it can be used as a spice in sambhar, chutneys, rasam etc..
2. Tur daal/Toor Daal/Tuvardal/Toovhar daal
Toor Daal is a glassy dark yellow split pea (pigeon pea), similar to chana dal. Toovar daal exhibits a thick sticky consistency. They take a little longer to cook than moong or masoor but less time than chana daal. These yellow split peas can be made into daal which is served with side dish of vegetables, rice or flat breads. The South Indian delicacy, sambhar which is an accompaniment for dosa, idli or even rice is cooked with toor daal.
3. Urad Daal (whole and Split)
These lentil-like beans have black skins covering creamy white interiors. Whole urad daal derives their strong, rich, earthy flavours from the black skin and has an uncanny ability to absorb flavors. Split and without the skin Urad daal is a white lentil used along with rice to make dosas. The crisp pancakes of southern India and other Rice preparations. In South India, Urad daal is used as a seasoning with mustard seeds for curries.
4. Mung daal/Moong Daal (whole and split)
Whole moong is actually a bean or pulse and is known as ‘sabat moong’. They are small green beans fairly used in India, China, Thailand and Japan. Sprouted they are used in salads or stir fries with lemon juice or vinaigrette. Moong lentils in particular is very easy to digest and take on seasonings and spices very well.
5. Masoor Daal
While whole, this bean is greenish-brown. Even though they can be prepared whole, Indian recipes often call for skinned and split; which is called masoor daal. Skinned split Masoor beans are actually called red lentils (orange in color). They have a dark, earthy flavor and a creamy texture. These lentils pair well with tomatoes and mince meats, sausages. They may be served on their own as a side dish, or incorporated into soups, stews, salads and Indian daal.
So by now you all know them by name, here is a quick guide for how to cook your favorite Daal;
Chart for cooking daal
|DAAL||COOK TIME||PRESSURE COOKER TIME||SLOW COOKER||SOAK|
|Mung, whole||60 to 70 minutes||8 to 10 minutes||low 5 to 6 hours||4 hours (optional)|
|Mung, split with skin||20 minutes||6 to 7 minutes||low 3 to 4 hours||optional|
|Mung, split||20 minutes||6 to 7 minutes||low 3 to 4 hours||optional|
|Urad, whole||60 to 70 minutes||10 to 12 minutes||low 5 to 6 hours||4 hours (optional)|
|Urad, split with skin||30 minutes||8 to 9 minutes||low 4 to 5 hours||30 minutes (optional)|
|Urad, split||30 minutes||8 to 9 minutes||low 4 to 5 hours||30 minutes (optional)|
|Garbanzo, brown||70 to 90 minutes||20 minutes||low 8 to 9 hours||8 hours to overnight|
|Garbanzo, white||70 to 90 minutes||20 minutes||low 8 to 9 hours||8 hours to overnight|
|Garbanzo, split (channa dal)||60 to 70 minutes||15 minutes||low 7 to 8 hours||optional|
|Masoor, whole||40 to 45 minutes||7 to 9 minutes||low 7 to 8 hours||optional|
|Pigeon Pea, whole||70 to 90 minutes||15 to 20 minutes||low 8 to 9 hours||8 hours to overnight|
|Pigeon Pea, split (tuver dal)||30 to 40 minutes||7 to 9 minutes||low 5 to 6 hours||30 minutes (optional)|
|Adzuki, whole||60 to 70 minutes||15 to 20 minutes||low 6 to 7 hours||optional|
Tip: If improperly stored, Daals can easily get insects in them and spoil. So buy moderate amounts (about 1 kg each) and store in airtight containers.