India is home to many different varieties of lentils, dried beans, pulses, and legumes. Did you know when a recipe calls for “yellow dal”, it can actually be one of 5-6 different types of lentils — moong, arhar, chana, urad, masoor. Or that moong itself can be of 3 varieties — whole green gram, split green gram, split and skinned green gram?
This page is a glossary and list of different types of Indian lentils (dals), beans, and pulses with their English and Hindi names with images. Where possible common names in other languages are also added. Unlike the list of Indian spices page, I’ve added a column for suggested recipes as well here which I will keep updating as and when I add more lentil and pulses recipes.
Lentils, Beans, Pulses, and Legumes
Technically there is a difference in all those terms. The below figure from pulses.org explains the difference (or rather the relationship) between lentils, beans, pulses, and legumes fairly well.
Lentils are a type of pulses like red lentils, moong, yellow gram, split chickpea, pigeon peas etc. Dried beans like red kidney beans, black eyed peas, pinto beans, black beans, are also a type of pulses. Pulses also include chickpeas, dried peas.
Legumes are any plant that grows in pods example fresh beans, soybean, fresh peas, peanuts etc. The dry edible seeds within the pods are called pulses.
What is dal? A fun play of words
Dal or daal is the generic Hindi word for Lentil. But dal refers both to the uncooked dry lentil and also the cooked lentil curry.
You need dal to cook dal. That is, you need lentils to cook lentil curry . I do sometimes say “dal curry” for ease of understanding for non-Hindi speakers but actually dal curry might just translate to curry curry :-).
I hope this list of all types of dals/lentils, beans, and pulses in Hindi and English is helpful.
LIST OF LENTILS, BEANS, and PULSES
|S.No.||IMAGE||ENGLISH NAME||HINDI NAME||SUGGESTED RECIPE|
|SPLIT & SKINNED LENTILS|
|1||Yellow split Pigeon peas||Arhar dal, Toor dal, Tuvar dal||Dal Fry|
Methi Dal Tadka
|2||Split & skinned green gram, yellow lentils||Moong dal, Mung dal||Methi Dal Tadka|
Socca with vegetable salad
Vegan lentil pancake
Dill and Lentil curry
Moong Dal Halwa (Pudding)
|3||Red lentils||Lal masoor dal||Vegan Red Lentil Soup|
Assamese Boror Tenga
|4||Split & skinned black gram||Urad dal||Bhuni Urad Dal|
Bohri Patli dal
|5||Split Bengal gram lentil||Chana dal||Dal Kanda | Dry Chana Dal|
Dhabey waali Mixed Dal
Bohri Patli dal
|6||Split green pigeon peas||Hara tuvar|
|7||Split green gram||Moong dal chilka||Moong dal chilka Curry|
|8||Split Black gram||Urad dal chilka||Multigrain Khichdi|
|WHOLE LENTILS & PULSES|
|9||Green Gram, Mung bean||Sabut moong, hari moong dal||Sprouted Moong stir fry|
Green Mung beans curry
Lentil & Brown Rice Khichdi
Moong sprout salad
|10||Black Gram||Sabut urad dal, maa ki dal||Dal Makhani|
|11||Indian Brown Lentils||Kali Masoor||Brown rice and lentil pilaf|
|12||Horse Gram||Kulthi||Lentil Salad with Roasted vegetables|
|13||Moth bean, Turkish gram, dew bean||Moth dal, mat, matki||Lentil & Brown Rice Khichdi|
|14||Chickpeas, Garbanzo beans||Kabuli chana, Chole||Amritsari Chole Masala|
Roasted Chickpea Quinoa Bowl
Moroccan Chickpea Tagine
Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry in Coconut Milk
Spinach Salad with Roasted Chickpeas
|15||Black chickpeas||Kale chane||Black Chickpeas Curry|
|16||Green Chickpeas||Hare Chane|
|17||Red Kidney Beans||Rajma||Rajma Chawal|
Black Mixed Dal
Bulgur and Beans Burger
|18||Pinto Beans||also called Rajma but light brown in color||Loaded Nachos with Beans chili|
Southwestern Style Beans Salad
|19||Adzuki beans||Chota rajma||Black mixed lentil curry|
|20||White Kidney Beans||Safed Rajma||White Beans Soup|
|21||Black Kidney beans, Black Turtle Beans||Kala Rajma|
|22||Black Eyed Peas||Lobia, Chavle, Raungi||Bulgur and Beans Burger|
|23||Dried green peas||Sukhe hare matar, hara vatana|
|24||Dried white peas||Sukhe safed matar, safed vatana|
How to cook lentils and other pulses
In a regular home kitchen, the technical difference between lentils, beans, and pulses is not of much importance or use. They are all stored in air-tight containers on the same shelf right next to each other.
In terms of cooking times and recipe, I feel categorizing them as whole (with skin) and split and skinned (yellow/ red/ white) is more practical.
Whole lentils (with skin) and dried beans and peas are similar in their cooking times and often the same basic recipe can be used for all. They also need to be soaked overnight or for 8-10 hours for better cooking. Since they are whole seeds, these lentils and beans can also be sprouted. Sprouting lentils and beans not only increases their protein content, it also makes them easier to digest.
Split and Skinned lentils like yellow moong, red lentils, pigeon peas, white urad etc are similar in their cooking times. They can be soaked for just about 3-4 hours or even lesser. Lentils like red lentils (masoor), yellow moong dal, and arhar dal (split pigeon pea) can be cooked with just 30 mins of soaking time.
Split lentils with skin like split black lentils and split green moong lentil fall in-between the two :-).
While I have put links for different types dal recipes or lentil recipes, they are not limited to just one kind of lentil. For example, while I’ve used yellow moong dal for spinach dal, the same recipe can be used with arhar, or chana, or urad or in fact any of the dals. Same with dal fry, methi dal tadka, or suva dal; they can be made with any yellow split and skinned lentils.
Some recipes are specific, like Dal kanda is made with Chana dal or the Bohri Patli dal is made with a mix of white urad dal and chana dal (skinned black gram and skinned Bengal gram) or Dal makhani is made with black gram or sabut urad dal.
Connect with me
Just like the list of Indian spices and the list of millets and flours, this is an ongoing list. I would love your suggestions on changes, additions, and improvements to make this list helpful for all. If you find anything missing or corrections, please do let me know in comments.
Disclaimer: Most of the photos on this page are my own except for a few lentils which I did not have at home. Those few have been taken from the internet and used here entirely for non-commercial information purpose only.