Dal-INDIA Asia


(Lentils, Daal, Dhal)


This flavorful and highly nutritious national dish of India is especially popular in southern parts of the country, but it can also be found in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Dal is a stew with the main ingredient of black or yellow lentils—the most consumed ingredients in India—but it can also be prepared with peas, chickpeas, or mung beans.

Inexpensive and easy to make, dal was an ideal food for the working class as it provided lots of energy for a full day of labor. While yellow lentils are most commonly used, black lentils are the most prized variety when making dal. Hulled and split, the slightly nutty lentils are slowly simmered with a variety of spices such as caraway, coriander, onions, garlic, chiles, and ginger until they break apart, and are then mashed into a smooth purée.

In the northern Punjab region, black mung beans are among the most popular choices for dal and they are typically cooked with ghee (clarified butter), yogurt, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of spices until the dish develops its distinctive aroma and reaches the desired thickness.

There are numerous types of dal, each with a different spice combination and flavors. The dish can be served either as a main meal or as a side, and it is traditionally served over rice, accompanied by naan or other Indian breads.

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