The word “dal” has many meanings, but one common definition refers to a savory stew made from lentils or pulses.
This traditional Indian food typically includes vegetables such as onions, garlic, ginger, coriander leaves, cumin seeds, turmeric, green chilies, and tomatoes.
What Is The Main Ingredient In Toor Dal?
Toor dal (also known as urad dal) is the most commonly used pulse in South Asian cuisine.
It is also called black gram (urad), Bengal gram, Bengal gram flour, or Bengal gram powder.
It has a rich, earthy flavor with hints of nuttiness and sweetness.
The color of this legume varies depending on where it was grown.
Toor dal from the northern part of India tends to be darker than those grown further south.
As per 100 grams of cooked toor dal, you can expect about 120 calories, 6 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 1.4 milligrams of iron, 0.5 milligram of calcium, 4 milligram of folate, 9 micrograms of vitamin C, 2.7 mg of sodium, and 5 mg of potassium.
This amount will vary based on how long the beans have been soaked before cooking them.
What Other Ingredients Are Needed To Make Toor Dal?
In addition to these basic spices, you will need some fresh greens like spinach, kale, or cabbage, along with onion, tomato, and any other vegetable of your choice.
You can also add carrots, potatoes, beans, or even mushrooms if you feel like it.
Once all of those veggies have been chopped up, they will be added to a pot with water (about 2 cups), salt, and cooking oil.
Next comes the dal itself.
Toor dal is a type of pulse commonly used in India.
It is available in different colors and sizes, including red, yellow, brown, white, black, and purple.
The most popular variety is the small reddish-brown toor dal, which contains more protein than larger varieties.
To cook this dal, simmer it until tender.
Then remove the lid and let it cool down before serving.
How Is Toor Dal Traditionally Cooked?
Toor dal originated in the state of Gujarat in western India, though it is now widely eaten throughout North India and Pakistan.
It is usually prepared with red kidney beans (also known as Bengal gram), black gram, split peas, pigeon peas, or yellow mung beans.
This hearty vegetarian stew can be served hot, warm, or cold depending on how much time you have before dinner.
The following recipes will help you prepare this healthy yet flavorful dish quickly so you won’t miss out on your next meal.
- Roasted Tomato Toor Dal Soup Recipe – A delicious soup made with roasted tomato, onion, ginger, and spices.
- Vegetable Toor Dal Curry -A simple curry with potatoes, carrots, and spinach.
Ingredients for making toor dal
- 1 cup dried red kidney beans
- 5 cups water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 large chopped onion
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger root grated
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander powder
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 medium sized carrot peeled and diced into 1/8th inch cubes
- 1 cup cubed potato
- 1 green chili pepper thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- Handful coriander leaves chopped for garnish
Instructions for cooking toor dal
Start by rinsing all the dried beans thoroughly under running water.
Once they are clean, drain them well.
Place the beans into a large pot along with 5 cups of water.
Add salt to season the liquid.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to low.
Cover the pot and cook until the beans become soft, about an hour and 15 minutes.
Check every 30 minutes to ensure there is enough moisture at the bottom of the pan.
When the beans start to soften, remove the lid and continue to simmer.
After another ten minutes, add the vegetable oil, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds to the pot.
When the seeds begin to pop, add the onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, and bay leaf.
Cook over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent, 2-3 minutes.
Add the carrot pieces and stir to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
Continue to sauté the veggies until they turn light golden brown in color, 4-6 minutes.
Stir frequently to prevent burning of the vegetables.
Once everything looks ready, increase the heat to high again.
Pour the tomato paste into the pot and toss to coat all the ingredients evenly.
Then add the frozen corn and mix to combine.
Reduce the heat back down to medium and let the mixture simmer for 10 more minutes.
At this point, if you like your toor dal extra spicy, sprinkle the garam masala powder onto the contents of the pot.
Stir to incorporate the seasoning.
Remove the bay leaf and serve hot as a main course or chilled as part of a salad.
What Are Some Popular Toor Dal Dishes?
Some of the most well known recipes include Dal Makhani (a creamy curry with black beans), Moong Dal Chilla (mixed yellow split peas), Sarson Ka Saag (green leafy spinach with mustard greens) and Palak Paneer (spinach with cheese).
These dishes can be found in restaurants all over India, especially during festivals like Holi.
Dals are also used to make sauces and gravies, which are often served on rice.
There are several dals that have been developed into more elaborate meals, including sautéed chickpeas called Khichdi (which is similar to polenta) and steamed vegetables mixed with spices, yogurt and fresh herbs called Kitchari (also spelled khichri).
In addition, there are many vegetarian curries based on legumes that use toor dal instead of other types of dals.
One example is a simple tomato gravy called Dahi Bhaji (similar to ketchup).
Some people enjoy these curries without any added oil, while others prefer them spiced up with extra ghee or butter.
Another type of dal is the fermented variety, which is prepared by soaking whole red kidney beans overnight before cooking.
The beans become soft and mushy after this process, making them easier to digest.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Toor Dal?
Toor Dal Recipe is an example of how simple ingredients can create something delicious.
It’s also extremely nutritious because it contains protein, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, sodium, vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, and folate.
There are several reasons why people eat this type of food, including its versatility: you can use it in curries, soups, stews, salads, sandwiches, etc., so it’s great for making healthy meals fast.
The nutritional value of toor dal means that it will help keep your body strong and energized.
You don’t need much—just 1/4 cup (60 ml) per serving—and you won’t get bored eating it over time.
One way to lose weight is by reducing calories consumed each day.
Toor dal is low in fat content, which makes it easier to manage your caloric intake if you include it in your diet plan.
Plus, it’s high in dietary fibers, which helps slow digestion and reduce hunger pangs.
Dietary fats like those found in toor dal may improve blood cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.
There’s no research on whether toor dal specifically improves cardiovascular function, however, so it’s best to consult with your doctor before consuming this product.
Type 2 diabetes prevention
According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetics have higher rates of hypertension and obesity than non-diabetic individuals.
In addition, they tend to have poorer control of their blood sugar levels compared to other patients who aren’t diabetic.
Research shows that diets rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, poultry, soy products, and olive oil lower blood glucose levels.
However, there isn’t enough evidence to determine whether toor dal specifically lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Are There Any Potential Risks Associated With Eating Toor Dal?
Toor dal doesn’t have much in terms of nutrients compared to other foods like meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, and grains.
It also contains moderate amounts of carbohydrates, fats, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B1, B6, C, E, niacin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, thiamine and copper.
However, this isn’t necessarily bad news.
Toor dal does contain some beneficial components including fiber, which helps keep your digestive system clear by reducing bloating, constipation and gas.
Additionally, it may help reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels.
The most important part about consuming these ingredients is that they are all readily available through plant sources.
In fact, you don’t even need to eat large quantities of toor dal because its nutritional profile is low calorie, making it an excellent source of nutrition when used in small amounts rather than larger portions.
There aren’t any known long term side effects related to toor dal consumption, however, if you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, avoid eating too much of this food since this could exacerbate symptoms.
Here are more reasons why you should consider adding toor dal to your diet.
- It lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol
- It provides 8 grams of fiber per serving
- It is rich in antioxidants
- It boosts immune function
- It helps prevent cancer
How Can Toor Dal Be Incorporated Into A Healthy Diet?
Toor dal is an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, zinc, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, manganese, selenium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and phytosterols.
This nutritious bean also offers a low glycemic index (GI), which means it won’t increase your blood sugar levels after you eat it.
In fact, the GI score for this particular variety of toor dal is only 43, making it ideal for diabetics who want to maintain their blood glucose levels in check.
A serving size of 1 cup contains approximately 90 calories, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 2 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 16 percent of the daily recommended value for vitamin A, 8 percent of the daily recommended value for vitamin C, and 7 percent of the daily recommended value for folate.
Not only will this toor dal make a great base for soups and stews, but it is also commonly used in rice dishes.
It adds a nice texture, color, and flavor to these grains.
Because it is so versatile, toor dal can easily find its way onto your plate alongside other foods.
Here are some ways to incorporate this delicious legume into your meals:
- Add toasted almonds to your morning oatmeal for added crunch and nutrition.
- Make a flavorful soup by adding toor dal along side vegetables like carrots or potatoes.
- Mix it up and add toasted cashews, raisins, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or chopped dates to your favorite salad dressing before tossing them all together.
- Use it as a topping on top of pizza crusts or use it instead of bread crumbs when baking chicken breasts.
- Treat yourself to a warm bowl of chili using toor dal as the main ingredient.
What Are Some Tips For Cooking Toor Dal?
Toor dal is an excellent source of protein and fiber.
It also contains iron, folate, zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper, B vitamins (thiamine, vitamin C), niacin, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and selenium.
The main ingredient in this dish is the black gram, which is similar to garbanzo beans.
In addition to being nutritious, it is very versatile because you can use it in several ways.
If you want to cook toor dal quickly, follow these simple steps below:
- Soak 1 cup dried black gram overnight with 2 cups water.
- Drain and rinse the soaked black grams twice until the water runs clear.
- In a heavy pot on medium heat, add the washed black ganmais along with 3 tablespoons oil and sauté until they turn light brown.
- Add 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon chopped ginger, 5 teaspoons red chilli powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, and salt to taste.
- Stir well and cover with about 3 inches of water.
- When the water boils again, reduce the flame to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, stir once more and then remove the lid and let continue to boil for another 5 minutes.
- Now add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and mix well, followed by 3 large potatoes diced up small and 1 cup peas cut in half.
- Cover with a clean kitchen towel and keep stirring over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Remove the towel and allow to cool before serving hot with roti.
How Can Toor Dal Be Served?
Toor dal (also known as urad dal) is often used in curries or stews because of its mild flavor.
Toor dal is also an excellent source of protein due to the fact that it contains a high amount of fiber.
You can serve this hearty bean dish with rice, roti, chapati, naan breads, or any other flatbread.
If you want to make your own toor dal, here’s how to cook it step by step.
- Soak 1 cup of urad dal overnight in water until soft.
- Rinse well before using.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a pan over medium heat.
- Once warm, add 3 cloves of chopped garlic and sautee for 30 seconds.
- Then add 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander powder, chili powder, garam masala, and red pepper flakes.
- Mix thoroughly, then pour into a bowl along with ½ cup of water.
- Cover and allow mixture to come to a boil.
- After boiling for 10 minutes, turn off heat and let sit covered for 20 minutes.
- Drain the liquid through cheesecloth.
- Return liquid back to pan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Variations on toor dal
This simple recipe may seem basic, but there are several delicious variations that will keep your family coming back again and again:
1. Add a few raisins when adding the spices.
2. Use brown sugar instead of white sugar.
3. Sprinkle in a pinch of cardamom while seasoning.
4. Serve topped with crushed peanuts.
What Are Some Interesting Facts About Toor Dal?
Dals are often referred to by their region of origin — for example, Bengal dal (also known as urad dal) or mung bean dal (chana dal).
Some dals have been around since ancient times in India, China, and Southeast Asia, while others were brought over by immigrants during the British colonization of India.
Today, there are hundreds of different types of dals available at your local grocery store.
While most varieties contain only legumes and spices, some also include meat like chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, and dairy products.
In addition to being delicious on its own, dals make great additions to soups, curries, stews, sauces, salads, side dishes, and desserts.
Here are just a few examples of how you might use this versatile ingredient to create meals with variety.
You can add small amounts of cooked dal into soup recipes without altering the flavor profile.
For instance, if you want to try out a new vegetable curry, adding 1/4 cup of cooked dal will provide extra protein and fiber while still allowing other flavors to shine through.
If you need a little more help getting started with dal, here are five ways to cook dal perfectly every time.
Add it to soups
Soup is an excellent way to enjoy dal because it adds nutrients, texture, and flavor to any meal.
If you don’t like eating plain dal, consider making it into a soup instead!
There are so many variations of dal soup that you will definitely find something you love.
Here are three popular options:
- Chickpea Soup With Toasted Coconut: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 4 cups water, 3 cloves garlic, 2 medium onions, 8 ounces tomato paste, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to a large pot. Bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer until all ingredients start to fall apart.
- Mushroom Lentil Dal Soup: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 cups chopped mushrooms, 6 cups water, 1 onion diced, 1 carrot diced, 1 stalk celery diced, 1 bay leaf, 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon minced dried sage, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to a large stockpot. Bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until vegetables are soft.
- Split Pea Dal Stew: Combine 1 cup split peas, 5 cups water, 1 onion sliced, 2 carrots shredded, 2 stalks celery sliced, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to a large saucepan. Bring everything to a boil. Cover pan and lower heat. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Make it into rice pilafs
Rice pilaf is a simple yet elegant accompaniment to almost any meal.
You can prepare a flavorful pilaf using either brown or white basmati rice.
Brown rice is richer than white rice, which makes it better suited for those looking to eat healthy.
However, both offer a wonderful alternative to regular white pasta.
To make a basic pilaf, combine 2 cups basmati rice, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup slivered almonds, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a medium saucepan.
Bring everything to a boil.
Lower heat, cover pan, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Uncover pan and fluff grains with fork before serving.
Eat it as a salad
Lentils are extremely versatile when used as a topping for lettuce wraps, sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, tacos, and even pizza rolls.
The versatility comes in part due to the fact that they absorb flavors well.
For example, you could top a burger with a mixture of grated parmesan and chickpeas.
Or serve a bowl of warm quinoa topped with toasted pecans and pomegranate seeds alongside grilled salmon fillets.
While these toppings sound amazing, don’t forget that you can also simply toss cooked lentils onto a plate and call them lunch!
Use it to make paneer
Paneer is a popular Indian flatbread that resembles firm cottage cheese.
It’s commonly eaten as a snack, appetizer, main course, or dessert.
Paneer is usually sold in a block form, but you can easily slice it up yourself by cutting it into desired shapes and sizes.
Like tofu, paneer is considered to be a good source of plant-based proteins.
But unlike tofu, paneer is high in calcium, iron, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, folate, pantothenic acid, copper, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and selenium.
One fun thing about paneer is that it is traditionally flavored with cardamom pods — not only does the flavor complement other foods, but the aroma also fills the house with fragrance!
If you aren’t fond of cardamom, try experimenting with other spice combinations to see what works best.
- 1 pressure cooker
- 1/2 cup toor dal
- 1 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon oil
- 1 st tempering
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 2 chilies slit lengthwise
- 1/2 cup onion
- 1/2 cup tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1/2 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 red chili
- 1/8 teaspoon hing
- 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- Toor dal should be well rinsed under running water until the water is clear, followed by a 30-minute soak in around 2 cups of water.
- Add the dal that has been drained to a pressure cooker. Mix in the oil, salt, turmeric, and water.
- Pressure Cook the dal on high heat for 3 whistles, then turn the heat down and simmer it for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then leave the cooker alone.
- Open the lid after the cooker has depressurized and stir the dal with a spatula or wire whisk until it is smooth. If you prefer it that way, you can leave it alone.
- Ghee is heated in a pot or kadai with a thick bottom.
- Add the cumin seeds once it is hot enough. Ginger, garlic, and two split green chilies are added once the cumin seeds start to crackle. Garlic and ginger should be sautéed until fragrant.
- Finely cut the onions and add to the pan. Sauté till golden brown.
- Next, add salt and the diced tomatoes, and cook until mushy.
- Add the red chili powder and turmeric, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- After that, add the cooked dal to the prepared tempering and thoroughly combine everything.
- Bring to a boil and then add about 1/2 cup of water, or as needed to reach the desired consistency (I rinsed the cooker with 1/2 cup of water). Seasonings should be checked, and adjustments made.
- Put the kadai on low heat, cover it, and let it simmer for an additional five minutes.
- Open the lid and thoroughly combine the dal. Turn the heat off. Combine finely cut coriander leaves and lemon juice.
- When tempering a second time: In a small pan or tadka pan, heat the ghee and oil over low heat. When adding the cumin seeds, let them crackle.
- Then include 1 dried red chile and sliced garlic.
- Add hing once the red chilies have begun to change color and the garlic has begun to turn golden. When adding Kashmiri red chili powder, turn off the heat.
- Pour it over the dal right away after thoroughly mixing. Serve it hot with rice or any other flatbread after thoroughly mixing it.