Any traditional Indian meal is incomplete with that hot steaming ladle of dal.
One of the most highly valued ingredients in Indian cuisine, dals hold a special place in Indian kitchens. Each Indian kitchen dishes out dals in various avatars like plain dal, with veggies and green leafy vegetables or just with aromatic tempering along with ghee.
Dal is everyone’s comfort food. While toor dal forms the main ingredient in sambar for South Indians, Maharashtrians love amti dal while Gujaratis vouch by their khati meeti dal and each dish serves a unique distant flavour, aroma and taste.
All dals are one of the prime sources of protein for vegetarians heaped with the rich nutrient profile.
Top 5 Varieties Of Desi Dals And Their Health Perks:
Green Gram Dal/Moong Dal
Green gram dal or moong dal is one of the commonly used lentil incorporated into the meal from delicious curries to desserts. Whole moong dal or split dal is consumed as protein bound sprout, as it is heaped with dense nutrients including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, zinc, folate vitamins and an excellent source of protein and dietary fibre.
- It is one of the easily digestible pulses of all dals that can be included in any therapeutic diet plan.
- Lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease.
- A healthy protein for diabetes that helps in regulating blood sugar levels and good for all weight watchers.
- Loaded with B vitamins, controls PMS symptoms. You can also eat moong dal at night, as it is easily digestable.
Urad dal or black gram dal is usually used as whole black gram and white when it is deskinned as whole or spilt. Urad dal is the main ingredient that offers rich and delicious taste to very famous dal makhana. Urad dal items like idly, dosa, tasty bonds and vadas are a staple for breakfast and it is piled up with protein, potassium, calcium, iron and vitamins A and C.
- Abundant in both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, urad dal promotes digestion.
- Improves and strengthen bones.
- Boosts energy and controls blood sugar levels.
- Maintains the skin and hair health.
Toor dal is also known as arhar dal or pigeon dal, a common ingredient in the Indian Kitchen. The must-have dish in any South Indian meal sambar, is made with toor dal. It is filled up with nutrients such as a protein, potassium, iron, folic acid, magnesium and B vitamins.
- An excellent source of folic acid it is highly beneficial for pregnant women to preventing neural tube birth defects.
- A great source of fibre, regular eating of legumes can be a part of healthy diet plan that lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Masoor dal or red lentils is a commonly used lentil in the Indian cooking. An extremely beneficial dal for health, that goes well when added with any vegetable. It is loaded with protein, fibre, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and folate that boost overall health.
- Rich in essential nutrients masoor dal promotes skin health and prevents acne.
- Good source of dietary fibre regulates blood sugar spike.
- Abundant in protein, mineral and antioxidants masoor dal help to boosts immunity.
Bengal Gram Dal
Bengal gram dal is the split chana dal that comes loaded with nutrients. You can make it into delicious fritters, soups, dal, salads and curries. It is super rich in protein, folate, zinc calcium and dietary fibre.
- Loaded with fibre helps to stabilize blood glucose levels.
- Lowers cholesterol level and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Promotes bone development and strengthens bone.
Some More Quintessential Indian Dal Variants:
Besides the popular staples of toor dal, urad dal and moong dal, India is also home to many more unique, proteinaceous superfoods in the form of beans, legumes, pulses, which can be cooked into a comforting dal. These include black-eyed peas, called lobia or chawli in Hindi, a popular ingredient in Punjabi recipes and moth beans, termed as matki in Hindi, which are infused with spicy flavours and incorporated into Misal Pav chaat recipes in Maharashtra. Read on, to discover the nutritional values and health benefits of lobia/chawli dal and matki dal - two nourishing dal varieties, that are widely utilized in prepping numerous delicious, wholesome gravies, salads and soups in desi kitchens.
Lobia Dal/Black-Eyed Peas:
Black-eyed peas are an ancient legume cultivated since many centuries, for their nutrient-dense tiny oval beans, which appear in different shades of black, brown, red, green. It abounds in high-quality proteins, supplying a wealth of essential amino acids and is also low in calories, thereby helping maintain optimal body weight. Lobia dal is a relished dish in the Northern Indian state of Punjab, being prepared in a zesty tomato onion gravy base and eaten with phulkas, parathas, naans. Furthermore, lobia dal, also called black-eyed peas, cowpeas or chawli, is enriched with the vital minerals calcium, magnesium, zinc, besides dietary fibers.
- Fortifies bones, joints and strengthens connective tissues.
- Builds reinforced muscles, promotes physical fitness and accelerates weight loss.
- Bolsters immunity and stimulates energy metabolism in the body.
Matki Dal/Moth Beans:
The earthy aroma, crunchy texture and subtly sweet taste of matki dal or moth beans make it an extensively enjoyed ingredient in the cuisine of the Western Indian state of Maharashtra. In fact, it is boiled and whipped up with a mélange of enticing spices and condiments in chaat or street food dishes of Misal and savoured by loads of people daily along with buttered Pav or buns. These tiny oblong beans resemble green gram/moong dal in shape but vary in colour bearing a medium brown hue. They possess vast reserves of proteins, essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, lysine, in addition to vitamin B1, vitamin B9 or folate, fibers, potassium, iron, with negligible amounts of fats, immensely benefitting overall wellness.
- Support glucose, cholesterol metabolism in the system, regulating blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
- Remedy iron-deficiency anaemia and ensure a healthy pregnancy.
- Augments heart functions, digestive health, curbs untimely cravings and satiates appetite.
Panchratna Dal RecipeFlavourful, simple, and packed with a dense nutrient profile, Panchratna dal is a fusion of great taste with wholesome goodness. A super delicious and nutritious Rajasthani signature dish that uses the essence of five key lentils like moong dal, channa dal, masoor dal, urad dal and toor dal cooked with a blend of aromatic masalas to make a rich creamy dish.
Ingredients¼ cup urad dal
¼ cup chana dal
¼ cup moong dal
¼ cup masoor dal
¼ cup toor dal
1 cup chopped shallots
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2-3 green chillies
1 cup chopped tomatoes
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tbsp ghee or oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of hing
Rinse and clean lentils several times and soak in water for 2 hours.
In a pressure cooker add soaked lentils, water, salt, and turmeric powder and cook for 5 whistles.
In a pan pour, ghee let it heat, add hing, cumin seeds and ginger garlic paste saute well, now add onions and sauté till golden brown.
Now add tomatoes, green chillies, chilli powder and coriander powder and cook till oil separate out.
Open the pressure cooker and mash the lentil well and pour it into the pan.
Cook on a low flame for 15 minutes until the dal turns to a creamy consistency
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve it with hot rice or roti