Information on Dal
Although we are not specifically an Indian spice shop, we sometimes find ourselves in conversation with our customers about the identities of the various dals. It can be confusing when your recipe calls for toor dal or channa dal … what exactly does it mean?
So here’s a quick reference for identifying the most common ones:
- Channa dal gram lentils – matte yellow, plump, split into 2 semi-spheres
- Toor dal yellow lentils – similar to channa, but a little smaller, split
- Moong dal mung beans
- Urid dal black lentils – small and oblong, with a rich, heavy taste. Usually sold skinned, creamy white and fairly bland.
This information is from a wonderful little book called The Indian Kitchen by Monisha Bharadwaj, which is full of really useful information. We find that with so many people choosing to be vegetarian, dal is being explored as a protein option. It’s a little bland on its own, so spice it up with Sambar powder, or a mixture of Panch Phora and chilli. Then again, there’s no need to feel that because it’s dal you have to use Indian flavours. Being reasonably neutral in flavour itself, it’s like a blank canvas upon which you can impose anything you like, so try spicing it with Chermoula, Greek seasoning, or even the gorgeous Paella mix.