What Makes Urad The Ultimate Indian Dal

Some of the most iconic Indian dishes are incomplete without this protein-rich lentil

V. Kumara Swamy Updated: Aug 27, 2020 20:45:25 IST
What Makes Urad The Ultimate Indian Dal Photo: Shutterstock

Of all the lentils, urad dal (black gram) is one of the most popular varieties and is believed to have Indian origins. Urad finds mention in ancient Indian texts like the Rigveda and Yajurveda

What is in a name?

There are different names for urad in different languages. In ancient texts in Sanskrit, it is referred to as masha. Bengalis call it biuli dal. As for the name urad, it may have something to do with its Tamil name, ulundu.

King of dishes

Lentils are generally considered a major source of protein for vegetarians. Urad dal also packs the goodness of fibre and contains minerals such as iron and potassium.  

Urad is extremely popular in south India where dishes like dosa, idli and vada are simply unimaginable without this lentil. It is also used in making papad and tempering dishes.

The popularity of urad can be gauged from the fact that food writer-chef Tarla Dalal has written about more than 700 recipes comprising this lentil alone. Some of the popular dishes include Punjabi dal tadka, dal fry, dal makhani, urad dal palak and biulir dal.

Beauty benefits

Outside the kitchen, urad is an effective ingredient in many beauty hacks as well. Urad dal, when applied on the skin, can help remove tan, black spots and dead skin cells, and fight acne. It is also used in hair masks, especially to add lustre to dry hair.  

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