9 Healthy Dals You Should Add To Your Shopping List

Any Indian meal feels unfinished without a comforting bowl of dal on the side and has been a part of our culture throughout history. As a primarily vegetarian nation, dal is one of the most important sources of protein that we have in our arsenal and it makes for a delicious, easy and inexpensive base for every meal. Every state has its preferences and its own preparations depending on the climate, availability and agriculture, but in some form or the other, dal is always a must-have in any Indian kitchen.

There is a staggering number of different dals out there and each has its own properties, flavours and uses. But there are a few that tend to crop up again and again across cuisines, so if you’re hoping to be well-prepared for every recipe, here are 9 dals that you should start stocking up on.

Split Yellow Moong Dal

The most common staple of Indian cooking is yellow dal. It’s usually sold without husks and cooks relatively quickly even without having to soak it beforehand. It’s rich in protein and very adaptable and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes such as halwa or khichdi.

Masoor Dal

Most popular in the north of Indin, this husked dal is rich in fibre and protein and is a rich base for any meal. Because of its hardy nature, it often needs to be soaked overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours in order for it to cook easily.

Split Orange Masoor Dal 

If you don’t have time to wait, then split masoor is a good choice since it takes less time to cook and doesn’t require a lot of soaking. Though it doesn’t have as much fibre as the husked version, it retains the same earthy flavours. 

Green Moong Dal

If you like sprouts in your salad then green moong is a good choice. The dal can be easily sprouted at home and without additional equipment and then used in salads and pulaos. It’s packed with proteins and nutrients so you can make the most of its easy nature.

Black Urad Dal

Black on the outside and white on the inside, urad dal is another favourite of the northern states. Thanks to its tough exterior, it requires a lot of soaking to cook easily, but it's well worth it for the creamy texture it lends to the final dish.

White Urad Dal 

The husked version of Black Urad Dal, white Urad tends to be used as flour more than a whole lentil. When ground up and mixed with water, white urad forms the base of many dishes such as dahi vadas which are protein-rich and delicious.

White Chickpeas

A staple not only of India but for many middle-eastern and Mediterranean cuisines too. It’s high in folates and protein but is also supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties too and thanks to its flexible texture it can be used to create everything from hearty curries to smooth dips. 

Horse Gram

Though the flavour is divisive and not everyone’s cup of tea the health benefits of horse gram are undeniable. As it's easy to grow and rich in iron and calcium, it is often used in animal feed, which is how it got its distinctive name. 

Toor Dal

Popular across the country toor (also known as tur dal or pigeon peas) is rich in iron, folic acid and magnesium and has a wide range of uses from sweet to savoury. It appears in dishes like rasam just as often puran poli and tastes delicious in all.