Dal is an important ingredient used in the Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi cuisine. Dal is a form of split pulse and contains rich source of protein needed for our day to day life. There are different types of dals such as moong dal, tur dal, urad dal, chana dal, rajma dal, masoor dal etc. These pulses are used as split pulse called dal as well as whole pulses.

Dals can be cooked as it is with just turmeric, chilli powder and salt or combined with other vegetables for a tastier and nutritious food. Each variety of dal has its own unique taste and health benefits. Sprouted pulses of any of the varieties have more nutritional value.

Some of the popular dishes prepared with dal are sambar (a main dish in South Indian cuisine) using tur dal, dal tadka, dal makhani etc. The other uses of dal and pulses include preparation of sweet dishes like dal payasam, puran poli, sukhiyan etc.

These are some of the useful kitchen tips for your use of dals and pulses.

1. A few drops of coconut oil added to the water when boiling gram, dried peas or vegetables saves time and preserves vitamins.

2. To make grinding of dals of any seeds easy, heat an empty frying pan and when it is sufficiently hot, remove it from the fire. Put the raw dal or seeds into the hot pan for a few minutes, taking care not to roast them. This makes the grams crisper and thus hastens the grinding process.

3. While boiling pulses or chana, add thoroughly washed potatoes to the pan. This will save time and fuel and two dishes can be prepared at the same time.

4. Usually urad dal (black gram dal) is an essential ingredient to prepare dosas and idlis which are used for breakfast in the southern India. But Dosas can also be prepared without urad dal. Instead of urad dal, grind a few fenugreek seeds and the bottom portion of lady fingers along with the rice and make dosas the usual way. Dosas thus prepared will turn out very crisp.

5. While cooking dal and root vegetables and cereals, add salt after it is cooked. It saves time on cooking.

6. A few drops of oil or butter added while pressure cooking dal will not only speed up the process but the dal will also be of a smooth consistency.

7. Plain Dals can also be cooked and kept in the refrigerator which can be used later with vegetables to prepare new dishes.