To talk about Dal (lentils), I will have to start at the very beginning. This is because I am often asked to explain what Lentils actually are and how they differ from Pulses. In order to understand lentils, let’s start with Legumes (plant with seedpods that split into two halves).

Pulses are seed from the Legume family. Lentils are pulse. Other pulses are Peas and Beans. Now that we have clarified these terms, let me tell you how important a role lentils play in Indian cuisine. They form one of the major staples of the Indian diet. In fact, it is often said: “Lentils are to India what Meatloaf is to America.” That is to say lentils are the quintessential Indian comfort food.

All Indian households, whether in the north, south, east or west, serve lentils as a part of their daily diet, accompanied with either rice or roti (Indian flat bread). In the north, lentils are called Dal (or Daal/Dahl/Dhal).

In the south, lentils are known as “Parippu” in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, “Pappu” in Andhra Pradesh and “Bele” in the state of Karnataka.

Stay tuned for more fun and interesting facts about DAL this week, as we are celebrating DAL all week long, January 31st through February 5th, and we will be offering FREE DAL tasting samples when you come into Calcutta Wrap & Roll, so you too can enjoy one of my favorite comfort foods.