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Legumes / Pulses

Lentils and other pulses are the most important source of protein for the many vegetarians in India. The selection is huge. There are more than 50 different varieties of lentils and beans such as yellow Mung Dal, red Masoor Dal, white Urid Dal, green Mung Beans, or even yellow Chana Dal, to name a few.


My favorite dish is my mother's dal chawal (dal and rice), it is a real comfort food for me. In the hands of an Indian cook, even such humble ingredients transform into soul food. 


Dal in India refers not only to whole legumes, but also to lentils and beans that have been halved, peeled and halved, or otherwise pre-processed, such as mung beans that have been halved, peeled or unpeeled.


Dals aren’t just versatile; they are easy to prepare. Usually, the lentils and beans are cooked like noodles and then boiled together with ginger, onions, tomatoes and garlic, or seasoned with a tadka (seasoned flavored oil). Tadka is a cooking method where spices and other flavorings are briefly fried in hot oil to give the recipe the appropriate flavor.


Everyday some lentil or bean dish is served on the table like Dal Tadka, Maa ki Dal, Dal Fry, Dal Makhani, Dal Bati Churma, Chana Masala, Rasam, Sambhar or Amti. In South India, cooks also use the flour from various ground lentil or bean varieties and use it to conjure up delicious, but also healthy snacks and fillers such as Dosa, Idli, Medu Vada, Uttapam and Dal Bonda.

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