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.
Dear Richa, could you help me, please?
In some Indian recipes, I’ve seen chana and urad dal being used for tadka.
Urad dal doesn’t take too long to cook in water and doesn’t need to be presoaked, but just frying it from raw (since nothing is said about preparing it beforehand in any way) still seems strange.
Not to mention chana dal, which, if the translations are to be believed, are chickpeas – the toughest of the peas I know, requiring an overnight soak and a few hours of cooking!
Are they really fried from raw and dry?
Is chana dal wrongly translated as ‘just’ split chickpeas, but should maybe be ‘roasted split chickpeas’?
Yes that’s how they are used in tempering. When you fry the dry lentils in hot oil they become kind of popped or cracker like. Think popcorn. Those forms are hard and can’t be eaten but once popped they are easily edible.
Chana dal also gets that way but if you aren’t sure (you need to cook it in well heated oil) just omit it.
Thank you for this list – and your book, Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, is getting very well thumbed! I love your Spiced Roasted Tofu and Vegetables, but I have yet to attempt any of your tantalising flatbread recipes. Incidentally, with dals I’ve begun to use vegan ghee now instead of oil for the tempering: it adds that familiar flavour to dals. Probably really bad for you too.
What is Kulhad ki daal?
hi can you tell me what masoor dal contains
It’s split red lentils – split and skinned brown lentils.
Thanks for all your great onfo
Hi there, I’m trying to find the correct name for ‘Chori’. I think they are Poona Peas but not sure. Some websites are calling them Adzuki beans but I don’t think that is correct?
Please could you help?
Also sometimes I have seen them labelled as ‘Cowpeas’?
They are red chori or red cowpeas. They look slightly different than adzuki. Adzuki are a good substitute if those are easily available
I’m trying to order beluga lentils from jaipur- I just don’t know what they’re called in Hindi lol.
Some lentils might not have hindi names because they are not native to India
Dr Mauli Shah
What are yellow split peas? Are they toor daal?
Toor dal is pigeon pea. Yellow pea is yellow vatana or yellow Matar , split
Hi.. can you tell me what does yellow split peas mean in Hindi?
I haven’t seen yellow split peas in India. The closest is Vatana. You get whole green and white vatana and split green pea and split white peas. If you find yellow vatana or Matar ki dal that would be yellow split peas
Is green lentils same as akha masoor
No. Akha Masoor is name of the cooked dal dish which uses red lentils or Masoor dal.
Wow! That was extremely detailed and useful. Thank you
This is very useful! I have a question, can I substitute chana dal for red lentils? I’ve found a great tarka dal recipe that uses chana dal but I only have red lentils!
Thanks in advance 🙂
Yes use red lentils. You will need a little bit less water plus the red lentils will cook faster so in 15 minutes
Thank you for reply
I meant thinking.. And not rhi king.. Sorry😊
Mam what about green lentils.. Wat r they.. I have seen in lot of videos… I was rhi king its green variation of sabut masoor dal.. Am i right?
Yes depending on the country, there are different types of lentils. They are green or light brown or dark brown or black and each has a slightly different flavor. Most have similar cook times
I’ve only used Toor dal in the past but do you have a favorite dal, one you recommend above others?
Each of the dals have their own flavors and work with certain recipes. For eg Toor dal and moong dal make a great South Indian Sambhar, Masoor dal is light and easy, sabut Masoor makes a great lentil soup, and so on. I have favorites for certain recipes, not one one particular I would favor over others overall.
Thank you for posting this!! So very helpful.
Thank you for posting this.
I’ll copy it and keep it handy when I’m in my Indian kitchen.
Thanks fir this list. I still have a problem reading up in subs fir Urad dal. Lists say this or that And another says it’s wrong as it’s sticky etc. What do you recommend ( I like paniyarum, handvo, dhokla etc)
Urad dal Is difficult to substitute if being used for fermentation. As the other lentils don’t ferment as easily. You can however use similar rentals such as moong dal or red lentils in recipes where Urad dal is not the only ingredient(dosa batter etc) Add some yeast to help with the fermentation.
Thanks a lot for this assorted list 🙂
We have grown black coloured tur.Split dal is yellowish with brownish tinge.Is it safe to use for edible purposes?
I don’t know
I’ve been looking for something like this forever! I always wanted to know the names but always get confused! Thank you so much for putting this up!
Thank you for this guide! Where does horse gram fit in? My husband brought some home and wow it took a long time to cook. Tasted great though. He also bought besan one time when he intended to buy whole wheat flour- those were some interesting muffins.
What would you say is the best substitute for brown brewer lentils? Whole masoor?
It’s more like mung beans. Cooking time is similar as well.
Yes whole Masoor or Indian brown lentils
Horse gram needs to be soaked for 8 hours and then sprouted
Angela N Nelson
I have a couple pounds of yellow split peas. Can I make dosas with them?
You can use them in combination with the Urad dal lentils and rice for dosa
Glad to knoq that u’re in love with Indian spices. If u’re making cholay with canned Garbanzo beans/chickpeas, you can use Badshah chole masala /Everest chole masala; for Red Kidney curry, you can buy MDH Rajma masala. You can also use this Rajma masala for making black beans, or other beans curry. I’m sure u’ll like that too.
I bought whole yellow peas from my Indian grocer, I was hoping you had some recipes with them! Any you would recommend? Glad to see you have Kala Chana recipes, I love regular garbanzo beans and can’t wait to try them. I’m brand new to Indian food, made two of your recipes and I’m in love with the spices! Can’t wait to try more recipes. It would be great if you had an article about what to look for at an Indian market, I was totally lost aside of trying not to go crazy buying legumes and beans.
wholeyellow peas or white peas are used to make curries that are served with chaat(street style food). you can cook them like any curry like black eyed pea curry. Soak overnight and pressure cook for 10 mins.
I was gifted with a bag of “lentil flour” and a bag of (yellow) graham besan flour. Can I use these to make dosas? If so, how much do I use ?
Make Chilla with besan veganricha.com/?s=chilla