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What are lentils?

Lentils are edible legumes that originated in India and can be used whole or split. Whole lentils are more nutritious because of their husks. When the husk (skin) is removed from the whole lentil and the lentil is split, it is then referred to as dal or daal in Indian languages. Cooked lentil recipes, either made with whole or split lentils, are also called Dal. The Dals are referred according to the variety of the lentil that is split.

Here are the English and Indian names for the more common lentils:

  • red lentil  – masoor
  • green or puy lentil – moong bean or green gram
  • black lentil – black gram or whole urad bean
  • chickpea – bengal gram or chana
  • pigeon pea or yellow lentil – toor, toovar or arahar
  • kidney bean – rajma
  • cow pea or black eyed pea – lobia or chowli