A Guide To Lentils And Dal

Lentils and the legumes known in India as dal are popular replacements for meat. They are inexpensive, versatile, easy to cook, and they can go a long way if you have a few mouths to feed.

If you are looking for substitutes for meat in your diet, consider including lentils and dals. The variety may seem confusing at first, but our handy guide is a gentle introduction to these wonderful ingredients.

Green Lentils

Readily available at most supermarkets and health food stores, green lentils tend to retain their firm texture after cooking, and they are known for the somewhat peppery flavour. They also tend to take the longest to cook.

Regular green lentils are a great substitute for French Puy lentils, and they are a good source of iron, magnesium, and antioxidants. They also are rich in protein and calcium.

Brown Lentils

One of the most popular and readily available types, brown lentils are also known for retaining their shape after cooking. Their earthy, savoury flavour makes them a fantastic meat substitute, especially in dishes that ordinarily use ground beef, such as lasagne, moussaka, and burger patties.

You also can use brown lentils as a thickener, especially in autumn and winter soups. Healthwise, they add a good dose of protein, folate, iron, and polyphenols to your diet. They cook relatively quickly, which gives you more time to enjoy a bit of action with Beteasy Australia online.

Oil or Toor Dal

A variety of pigeon pea, oil or toor dal are so named because they are skinned, split, and sold with a coating of castor oil which must be washed off prior to cooking. While most dals tend to cook quite mushy, toor dal holds into a chunkier texture.

Toor dal has a flavour that can be described as mild and nutty. It is high in protein, vitamins B1 and B9, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. You can use it in Indian dishes such as a dal tarkari, which is a lightly spiced soup of dal and vegetables.

Moong Dal

Arguably one of the most popular of all dals, moong dal are mung beans that have been skinned and split. They are fast cooking, and they are an excellent choice for dal-based soups. Their flavour is somewhat buttery, so they combine well with a variety of vegetables.

Their mild flavour means that you can also use them in some traditional Indian sweet recipes. Like the other dals, they are packed with protein, as well as with essential vitamins and minerals.

Urad Dal

When sold whole, urad dal is sometimes called black lentils, although they are not true black lentils. When skinned and split, they are sometimes labelled as white lentils.

You can cook them into a velvety curry with vegetables to be served with rice or a flatbread, or you can grind them into a paste with rice and water for inclusion in dosa batter. Dosas are thin savoury pancakes or crepes that are usually served with a dal and rice stew called sambar and a chutney.

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