Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

dal (or dhal), whether the word is used to denote an ingredient or a dish prepared from it, is one of the principal foods of the Indian subcontinent. In the first sense it is a split pulse (as opposed to gram, which is whole; but the distinction is not always observed, even by Indians). In the second sense it refers to a dish, of which there are at least 60 kinds, made from beans, peas, or lentils. A combination of legume, such as dal, with cereal is especially nutritious.

One of the most common dals is made from channa, the Indian chickpea. The split chickpeas are larger than the grains of other types. The colour is a medium yellow.