What are the different kinds of dal?
Dal is generally used to refer to lentils, in particular the split version of lentils, peas, chickpeas etc. Every state across India has its own version of dal-rice combination. A little known fact is that the humble dal-chawal was borrowed from our neighbor, Nepal’s cuisine. Of course, we can claim complete credit for the accompanying spicy potato or any vegetable fry, fish fry or dry fish, egg bhurji and mango pickle with the dal-chawal !
Dal can be in numerous forms like Urad Dal, Moong Dal, Masoor Dal, Toor Dal, Black-eyed Peas, Kidney Beans etc. Most forms of dal is rich in protein. Each type of dal has its own nutritional value and in some cases, side effects.
Health benefits of Moong Dal
Moong dal is regarded as the best among the dal varieties as it has a desirable combination of high protein and low carbohydrates. The different forms of moong dal are the moong bean and Moong dal split. It is also available with skin on as well as removed. The moong bean is also known as green gram.
Moong bean contains a high source of nutrients including manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins. They are high in protein and dietary fiber, making them a substantially dense/ filling ingredient.
Moong dal split which is yellow in colour is the green gram which has been split and has its skin removed. Yellow moong dal is a rich sources of protein and is easy to digest. It is often introduced as the first among protein food groups that are given to infants. Rice and moong dal porridge is easy to make and simple to digest for babies. In a porridge form, it can easily slide down the throat of 6 months + babies and provide for a nourishing meal. It is also a preferred ingredient in the diet of patients who are recuperating and want to resume regular food intake. Due to its low calories, it is a sought after ingredient by those who wish to watch their weight gain.
Moong Dal Recipes
Moong dal is an extremely flexible food ingredient. It can be used in a variety of dishes ranging from khichdi, curries, salads, soups and desserts like payasam and halwa. The whole moong dal or green gram can be used to make curries, salad, dosa and parathas. Moong dal can be cooked in a short span of time, which makes it an obvious choice for a last minute meal plan.
In some form or the other, every Indian household uses dal in everyday cooking to provide the protein requirement in their dietary intake. As it is cultivated in India, it is easily available in all parts of the country. Combined with economical prices, it is a preferred choice of accompaniment for a staple for most Indians.
For vegetarians in particular, dal becomes an important source of nutrition. The inclusion of dal in every meal, along with rice/rotis and vegetables constitutes a balanced meal. Unlike certain seasonal food groups, dal is consumed throughout the year. It is an integral part of Indian cuisine. The generations before us enjoyed its nutritional benefits. It’s likely that the generations to come too shall enjoy this versatile food group.
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