Often mums will instruct you in what dhal/daal to take out and cook, and often one asks which one is that? With so many variety of lentils, and often each dhal having 1-2 names, it can become confusing, so here is a list of lentils (dhal) that are popular in Sub-Continental cooking, with an English to Urdu or Urdu to English translation to help you identify lentils (dhal).
Bengal Gram / Chickpeas (Brown) Kale Chana or Kale Chanay
These chickpeas are known as Desi chickpeas as well as they are thought to have come from Asia originally, have a small, darker seed and a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Iran. Chickpeas are grounded to fine flour to produce gram flour (besan). It is also used for preparing many tasty snacks like sev, chila and pakoras and curnes like koftas.
Black Gram Saboth Urad Dhal / Kali Dhal / Sabooth Maash ki Dhal
Black gram, urad dal, kali dal, dhuli mash ki dal and black lentil these all lentil are same and originate in India. Black gram is an extremely valued pulse crop. It is the most nutritious bean of all pulses and commonly cooked for healthy diet. These lentils have dark black skins layer rich white interiors. Black gram is rich in potassium, phosphorus and calcium with good quality amount of sodium. It also has little amount of iron in it. Inner layer of black gram is oval shaped in white colour and outer is black. Black gram is boiled and eaten whole or after splitting into dhal.
Brown Lentil Saboth Masoor Dhal
A variety of lentils exists with colours that range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. Red, white and yellow lentils are decorticated, i.e., they have their skins removed. There are large and small varieties of many lentils (e.g., Masoor Lentils). Lentils are sold in many forms, with or without the skins, whole or split. Culturally, other pulses are sometimes called lentils but are actually beans or peas, e.g. "black lentils" (urad beans).
Chickpeas (Green) Cholia / Hara Chana
Green chickpeas are one of the earliest cultivated vegetables and popular seasonal treat of India. Fresh green chickpeas are the winter food that tastes fabulous good. You could also make a pulao (flavoured rice), halwa (sweet pudding), spicy stir fry, cutlets, a coco nutty curry or soup, substituting the green split peas with green chickpeas. The green chick peas have a wealth of nutrients like energy, protein, calcium and iron.
Chickpeas (White) Kabuli Chana or Cholay
White chickpeas often known as Kabuli chana, have a lighter coloured, larger seed and a smoother coat, mainly grown in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, Afghanistan, and Chile, also introduced during the 18th century to the Indian subcontinent. Chickpeas are a useful source of zinc, folate and protein. These peas are serious to digest and could cause flatulence. Hence pass up during dinner.
Dry Cowpeas - (Black Eye Bean) Chowli Dal / Chawli / Lobhia
Cowpeas, also called Black Eyed Peas, are a favourite southern bean and it is made by skinning and splitting Black-Eyed Peas. Cowpeas are inhabitant to Africa, where it is a main food crop. These small creamy coloured beans have a black circular mark on them resulting from the join whilst in the pod. Black Eyed Peas are a warm season crops / vegetable that grows best in warmer, more southerly areas of the country. The cowpea is a good source of dietary fiber and protein.
Golden Gram or Green Gram Mung / Moong Beans
The split bean is known as moong dhal, which is green with the husk, and yellow when de-husked. The beans are small, ovoid in shape, and green in colour. The English word "mung" derives from the Hindi moong.
1) Most commonly grown as Bean sprouts and eaten raw in salads and stir-fry.
2) Beans are ground into flour and this is used to make noodles, which are termed 'bean threads' or 'cellophane noodles'.
Green Lentils Masoor Dal
Like French green lentils, green lentils don't turn mushy as fast as some other lentils. Green lentils are said to have top fiber content as compared to others and these lentils are very flavourful that holds its shape well after cooking. It is plane and approximately 1/4 inch in size. If green lentils food quantity is 1/2 cup, dry weights then calories will 320.
Horse Gram Kulthi
Horse gram is one of the less significant known beans. It is also called as Kulith or Kulit. Horse gram grown mostly in dry agricultural areas. It is used as a food for both human and animal consumption. It is small oval, somewhat kidney shaped, green brown to reddish brown coloured bean, about half inch diameter in size. Horse gram sprouts are rich in proteins, vitamin C and iron.
Kidney Beans or Red Beans Rajma / Lobhiya
The kidney bean also known as the 'chilli bean' which resembles kidneys for its dark red skin and shape. Kidney beans comes in two sizes, one twice as large as the other, the smaller variety are also used but more in Caribbean-Mexican dishes. Kidney beans are very high and an excellent source of molybdenum, a half cup providing almost half of the daily necessity.
Note: White beans are more popular in Western countries.
Lablab Beans (Val Beans Split) Vaal / Val Dal
These are skinned and split (lablab) Val beans. They have a mild, slightly nutty flavor and hold a good consistency. It is a rigid, erect plant 0.5-1.7 m tall, with stout stems with a square cross-section. Vaal like other lentils and pulses are good source of protein and dietary fibre. They are low in fat and rich in B complex vitamins, calcium and potassium.
Petite Crimson Lentils Masoor
These are very small lentils that cook very fast and are about a third the size of other lentils. As the name suggests, petite crimson lentils are much smaller than regular lentils but are more easily cooked once the shell is removed and are used as a thickening agent in gravies and soups. Crimson lentils are thought to have originated in Turkey a millennia ago, and have been the foundation of Near Eastern cuisine ever since. They cook in 5 to 10 minutes, transforming into golden pearls when completely done.
Pigeon Peas or Red Gram Arhar / Toor
Pigeon Peas, also known as toor / tur dal in India and famous in Southern and Western India. Pigeon Peas are a greenish-tan colour when whole, but they're usually sold skinned and split. The flavour of pigeon peas is often described as nutty, like a rich grain. Though this pulse originated in Africa. According to Ayurveda, it is an anti-inflammatory.
Puy Lentils or French Green Lentils Lentilles du Puy
These choice lentils were originally grown in the volcanic soils of Puy in France, but now they're also grown in North America and Italy. They're especially good in salads since they remain firm after cooking and have a rich flavor. They cook a bit slower than other lentils.
Red Lentils Masoor / Masur Dal
Red Lentils is probably the most commonly used Daal in India. One more very common kind of lentil, the Reds are really a lovely salmon pink colour when dried, turning light-coloured when cooked. These lentils cook faster than others, and normally 'blow apart', losing most of their shape. So, they're nice in purees or soups. Red Lentils is an important ingredient of the diet in many parts of the world.
Split Bengal Gram Channa Dal / Chanay ki Dal
Split Bengal Gram is practically unknown in the West. Split Bengal Gram is a bean that is most popular in India and comes from India, where they appreciate it very much. Chickpeas that have been split in half, retaining a dull yellow colour and lightens when it is cooked. Split Bengal Gram has a great flavour, being both sweet and nutty. It is high in fiber and help to lower cholesterol.
Split Black Gram - (Black Gram Lentil) Chilke wali Maash ki Dhal / Split Urad Dhal
The black gram lentils appear like beans and have a black skin that once it has been skinned reveals a warm cream coloured lentil inside. Split urad dhal retains the skins and also has a physically powerful flavour. It is widely used in culinary preparation like dosa, idli, vada, and papad. The iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins in these foods help meet vitamin and mineral requirements.
White Lentils - (Black Gram Skinned and Split) Split skinned Urad Dhal / Maash ki Dhal
White when de-husked, fermented along with rice. Whole urad dal is a bean grown-up in Southern Asia. The urad split without shells is referred as white urad dal. Often called white gram, these pale yellow white lentils are used in dosa, uttapam, purees, sauces, stews, pillow-soft fried savouries, moist raw chutneys, crispy pancakes and soups. White lentil like other pulses is excellent source of protein and nutritional fibre.