Depending on where you buy the Dals, Spices and pantry ingredients from, they might use just the English names, both English and Hindi names, or just the Hindi/Indian names (eg. in Indian stores). English names sometimes also depend on the country or shop (for eg yellow lentils can mean any of the yellow dals, but in the US in mostly petite yellow lentils are used for Mung dal(split mung bean)). Take a picture of the Grocery list from Page 12 in my book to take with you while shopping. It has both the English and Hindi names and variation of the names mentioned to make it easy to find the right spice, herb or dal!
This Page is a short Guide with the commonly used Legumes -Dals, Pulses, Lentils, beans, peas in Indian Cuisine with their common English names and Hindi names.
Legumes and Dals
English/ Hindi Indian Dals Names
Black Eyed Peas – Raungi, Chawli, Lobhia
Black Gram Lentils, Split and skinned – Urad Dal
Black Gram Whole – black gram lentils – Sabut Urad (these are not black beans, not beluga lentils, not caviar black lentils). They look like black mung beans.
Chickpeas, Brown (Bengal Gram)- Kala Chana
Chickpeas, green – Cholia / Hara Chana
Chickpeas, split – (Split Bengal gram, split brown chickpeas) , Chana Dal
Chickpeas, white – Garbanzo Beans, Kabuli Chana, Safed Chana, Chole
Kidney Beans, red – Rajma
Lentils, brown (whole) – Sabut Masoor
Lentils, Red/orange/pink (split brown lentils) – Masoor Dal
Lentils, yellow petite – (Split Mung Beans) – Mung Dal
Mung Beans (green gram whole) – Hare Moong
Pigeon Peas, split – Arhar, Tuvar, Toor
Yellow split Peas
Split chickpeas (Chana Dal), split pigeon peas(Toor Dal) and Split peas can be used interchangeably. Toor dal will cook faster than the others.
Red Lentils (Masoor Dal) can be used instead of Petite yellow lentils (Mung Dal). Mung Dal will take a few minutes longer to cook through.
Mung Beans and Lentils can also be used interchangeably. Soak mung beans before use.
Green Lentils can be used to substitute brown lentils
*Chickpea flour and Besan
Chickpea flour in the US is generally ground white chickpeas. Besan is ground brown chickpeas (Kala chana, bengal gram). See the different chickpeas in the picture above. Besan is also ground finer than chickpea flour. Because of these differences, chickpea flour generally makes a thicker batter and needs more water to achieve the similar consistency as besan batter if the recipe was written for besan. The reverse applies to recipes written for chickpea flour. In general this does not matter much and both can be used interchangeably in recipes. However, if used in baking you might need to adjust the liquid accordingly.
Find out where to buy lentils beans and other pantry items locally or online on the Pantry Page.