Toor dal, or more commonly called Arhar, is the most popular among Indian lentils. It is also called split pigeon peas or red gram.
Most kids in India have grown up eating a staple diet of Dal-Chawal. While rice is called chawal in local parlance, dal is a broad term given to a range of lentils such as Toor (Tuvar) dal, Urad dal, Chana dal, Green moong, Moong dal or Masoor dal.
Owing to the popularity of Toor dal, the term Dal-Chawal in Indian households commonly refers to the combination of Toor dal with rice. This easy-to-prepare dal with a mild nutty flavor is a hit among Indian kids.
The hot weather of India does not favor a meat-based diet for daily consumption. Toor dal, along with other protein-rich substitutes is the best protein-provider in majority of households in India.
Also known as yellow dal because of its distinctive yellow color, Toor dal can be combined with soup, stew, naan or rice.
Each of the 4 distinct regions, be it North, South, East or West India, incorporates Toor dal in its diverse cuisines.
Note: In South India, Toor dal is used to prepare Sambar. The sweet & tangy Gujarati-dal recipe and Amti, a Maharashtrian preparation are the lip smacking recipes of Toor dal from West India. Bengali Arhar dal tempered with the famous Bengali spice-mix Panchphoron, is East India's offering from Toor dal.
The protein-rich Toor dal is loaded with health benefits-
- Nutrient rich Toor dal has healthy amounts of protein & carbohydrates and contributes towards a balanced diet.
- Toor dal is rich in complex fiber, hence helps avoid constipation.
- Being high on fiber, Toor dal is filling and slows digestion. Consuming Toor dal makes you feel fuller for long periods of time, thus making you eat less and helping you control your weight.
- Toor dal is cholesterol free.
- It helps lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
How to cook Toor dal?
Toor dal- 2 cups
Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt- As per taste
Cumin seeds- 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds-1/2 teaspoon
Hing- 1/3 teaspoon
Garlic pods- 3 to 4, crushed
Ginger- 1/2 tablespoon, finely grated
Onion (fresh)- 1 medium sized, finely chopped or fried onions- 1/2 cup
Tomatoes- 1 medium sized, finely chopped
Green chillies fresh or Green chillies frozen- 1-2 finely chopped
Coriander leaves- 1/4 cups, finely chopped
Curry leaves- 8 to 10
- Wash Toor dal well. Soak it in water for 20 minutes.
- Add Toor dal into a pressure cooker. Add turmeric powder, salt and 3 cups of water.
- Pressure cook in a cooker on high heat till you get 6 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
- If using an instant pot, cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
- For seasoning- Heat ghee/mustard oil in a pan. If using mustard oil instead of ghee, heat the oil until it starts smoking so that its pungent smell goes off. Add cumin seeds, hing, mustard seeds, crushed garlic pods, freshly chopped onions and chopped green chillies. You can even add Curry leaves for a distinct flavor. Once garlic and onion become brown, add grated ginger. Add finely cut tomatoes and cook on low heat till tender. If using fried onions, then add them at this step (after tomatoes are cooked).
- Add the pressure cooked dal into this mixture. Simmer on low heat until dal blends well with the mixture.
- Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice, naan or roti.
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