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Dal recipe are based on the usage of lentils, stripped off their split and outer hulls. Dal, often spelled as Dahl or Daal, is a Sanskrit word and is an important part of the Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Nepali cuisines. In southern India, every dal recipe is considered incomplete without vegetables and boiled rise. However, in the Northern part of India, this cooked form of the pulses is savoured with traditional bread, better known as Chapati.

History of Dal
The historical recordings have extensively written about the abundant use of dal recipe throughout India. As per the historical facts, the cultivation of split peas began much before 6000 BC, mainly in the eastern part of the country. Production of lentils was also observed back in the Bronze Age, around 3000-1300 BC. An elaborate explanation on the use of dal recipe has been scribbled on the graves of the Ancient Egyptian royals as well.

Ingredients and Popular Methods of Preparation of Dal
The ingredients as well as the preparation method of a dal recipe may vary from region to region. However, tadka, also referred by other names like chaunk, vaghar, is one of the most adopted methods of cooking pulses. The method involves the sautee of tadka ingredients like ginger, unripe mango, tamarind, garlic, onion, tomatoes, chili pods, garam masala, asafotida to lend a sour flavour. In some preparation methods, the cooked pulses are first mashed and then savoured along with breads.

Serving and Eating Dal
Pulses are ideally served hot in a bowl along with garnishments like coriander leaves, mint leaves, fried red chilies and more. The common accompaniments of a dal recipe are choice of vegetables, boiled rise and bread.

Popular Dal Variations
Varieties in the classic dal recipe are observed in almost every state of India.

  • Toor dal is popularly savoured in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • Chana dal, also known as split chickpeas minus the seedcoat, is famous in Bengal and Orissa.
  • Yellow split peas is most loved among Indian communities like Trinidad and Guyana.
  • Kala chana, chickpeas with brown coloured skin, are most relished in Tamil.

Apart from these, other varieties like kabuli dal, masoor dal, mung dal, urad dal, sweet potato dal are savoured as consumed as staples throughout the Indian sub-continent.

Health and Nutrition Facts of Lentils
Every dal recipe is extremely rich in nutrients like Vitamin B, calcium, phosphorous, proteins and iron. They are highly recommended for diabetic patients and those who are the prospective patients of this disorder. It is significant to note that the regular intake of these lentils brings about anti-aging effect on the entire body. They are cholesterol free, hence, beneficial for patients reeling under heart ailments. The nutrients of the lentils release slowly into the body, therefore, keep the hunger pangs in control for a long time.

Dal Trivia

  • More than 50 varieties of pulses are known in India and Pakistan
  • A simple or classic dal recipe can be savoured by boiling the pulses and mixing salt and turmeric.