Dal

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Dal
3 types of lentil.jpg
Lentils are a staple ingredient in South Asian cuisine. Clockwise from upper right: split red lentils, common green whole lentils, and Le Puy lentils both with their outer coats visible
Main ingredient(s)Lentils, peas or beans
 
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Dal
3 types of lentil.jpg
Lentils are a staple ingredient in South Asian cuisine. Clockwise from upper right: split red lentils, common green whole lentils, and Le Puy lentils both with their outer coats visible
Main ingredient(s)Lentils, peas or beans

Dal (also spelled dahl,dhal or daal) is a Hindi word meaning pappu (lentils) or 'bele' in Kannada or 'parippu' in Sinhala or 'paruppu' in Tamil or Pappu in Telugu is a preparation of pulses (dried lentils, peas or beans) which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. It also refers to the thick stew prepared from these pulses, an important part of Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, West Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. It is regularly eaten with rice in southern India, and with both rice and roti (wheat-based flat bread) throughout northern India and Pakistan as well as Bangladesh, East India, and Nepal where Dal Baht (literally: dal and rice) is the staple food for much of the population. Dal is a ready source of proteins for a balanced diet containing little or no meat. Sri Lankan cooking of dal resembles that of southern Indian dishes.

Etymology[edit]

Split toor dal, a common variety of dal

The word dāl derives from the Sanskrit verbal root dal- "to split".[1] Dal is sometimes referred to as a "dal bean" instead of just "dal".

Usage in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka[edit]

Dal preparations can be eaten with rice, as well as Indian breads in North India. In India, it is eaten with rice and with a wheat flatbread called roti. The manner in which it is cooked and presented varies by region.

Dal has an exceptional nutritional profile.[citation needed] It provides an excellent source of protein, particularly for those adopting vegetarian diets or diets which do not contain much meat. It is typically around 25% protein by weight, giving it a comparable protein content to meats. It is also high in carbohydrates whilst being virtually fat-free. It is also rich in the B vitamins thiamine and folic acid, as well as several minerals, notably iron and zinc.

Dal makhani, a popular dish

Common varieties[edit]

Split and whole pulses[edit]

Although dal generally refers to split pulses, whole pulses are known as sabit dal and split pulses as dhuli dal.[2][citation needed] The hulling of a pulse is intended to improve digestibility and palatability, but as with milling of whole grains into refined grains, affects the nutrition provided by the dish, reducing dietary fibre content.[3] Pulses with their outer hulls intact are also quite popular in India and Pakistan as the main cuisine. Over 50 different varieties of pulses are known in India and Pakistan.

Preparing dal[edit]

Masoor dal being prepared

Most dal recipes are quite simple to prepare. The standard preparation begins with boiling a variety of dal (or a mix) in water with some turmeric, salt to taste, and then adding a fried garnish at the end of the cooking process. In some recipes, tomatoes, tamarind, unripe mango, or other ingredients are added while cooking the dal, often to impart a sour flavour.

The fried garnish for dal goes by many names, including chaunk and tadka. The ingredients in the chaunk for each variety of dal vary by region and individual tastes. The raw spices (more commonly cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida, and sometimes fenugreek seeds and dried red chili pepper) are first fried for a few seconds in the hot oil on medium/low heat. This is generally followed by ginger, garlic, and onion, which are generally fried for 10 minutes. After the onion turns golden brown, ground spices (turmeric, coriander, red chili powder, garam masala, etc.) are added. The chaunk is then poured over the cooked dal.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary accessed online 2007-09-02
  2. ^ Mehta N. (2006), p 12
  3. ^ doi:10.1016/j.lwt.2008.10.007

External links[edit]