Table of contents
- Tracing its journey
- Conventional Arhar Dal vs Organic, Unrefined Arhar Dal
- What is Arhar dal rich in?
- What are the health benefits of Arhar dal?
- Rich source of protein
2. High in Dietary Fibre
- Provides Essential Vitamins
- Abundance of Minerals
- Low Glycemic Index.
- Heart-Healthy Benefits
- Boosts Energy Levels
- Supports Weight Management
- Anti-inflammatory Properties
- Versatile Culinary Ingredient
- Can everyone consume Arhar dal?
- Popular Arhar Dal recipes
Nestled within the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine lies a humble legume that has journeyed through generations, leaving an indelible mark on taste buds and nourishing countless souls - Arhar dal. Its golden hue and nutty aroma beckon adventurous palates, while its velvety texture comforts and satiates. Beyond its gastronomic appeal, Arhar dal bestows upon us a treasure trove of nutrients, from protein and fibre to vitamins and minerals.
Join us as we embark on a tantalizing exploration of Arhar dal's origins, its vast culinary landscape, and its nutritional power.
Where did the name 'Arhar' dal come from?
Deep within the linguistic tapestry of Hindi, the origins of the name "Arhar dal" unravel like a story passed down through generations.
Tracing its lineage, we discover the Sanskrit whispers of "Araharaka," an ancient term resonating with the pulse-like rhythm of a kindred legume. From the heartland of India, where this plant first bloomed, to the global stage, Arhar dal has become a culinary ambassador, bridging cultures with its rich heritage and seamless intermingling with other lentils, vegetables, and spices.
Known by different names across India, many people still recognize it by its characteristic yellow colour, enthusing many to wonder, is Tur & Arhar dal the same? Yes, it is known as tur dal in Bengali, Adhaki in Sanskrit, and Arhar dal in English is called pigeon pea.
Popular across India, its mild flavour lends itself to varied recipes including a simple dal, amti, rasam, vada, sambar, and methi dal.
Tracing its journey
India is the largest producer of Arhar dal.
It is commonly grown in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. Owing to its ability to withstand dry weather, it can grow well under the subsistence level of agriculture and offers a good source of nutritive food, fodder, and fuel wood. Being a legume, it also boosts soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen.
The journey of creating Arhar dal commences with the harvest of the pigeon pea plant, as it reaches its peak of maturity. Through meticulous plucking, the distinctively hued, yellowish-brown peas are collected and then they undergo a thorough cleaning process, eliminating any impurities or debris. Subsequently, the peas are traditionally split in half, unveiling their characteristic shape of dal. This division can be achieved manually or with the aid of specialized machinery. Some manufacturers further polish the dal to make it appear shiny and more appealing to the consumer. The dal is then packaged and sold.
But all Arhar dals are not the same.
While there are many brands of tur dal available in the market, its farming process, harvest, and processing play a significant role in impacting its quality and nutrition levels.
Conventional Arhar Dal vs Organic, Unrefined Arhar Dal
Conventional Arhar dal – Conventional Arhar dals normally available in the market are grown using artificial fertilizers, toxic pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides. These substances increase the yield size but reduce its nutrient density. So while the pea size might be larger, its nutrient density is poor. Moreover, the toxic pesticide residue on the dal further impacts its health benefits. Toxic pesticides not only have an adverse environmental impact (including causing biodiversity loss & eroding soil fertility), but also affect human health by disrupting our hormone balance and affecting our reproductive, immune, endocrine, and nervous systems in the long run. Pesticides are also linked with causing neurological and developmental problems in children.
As mentioned before, many manufacturers further polish these dals to make them appear shiny, but this refining process also robs them of their nutritive layer further reducing their nutrition levels.
Organic, Unrefined Arhar Dal
In contrast, Organic Arhar dal is farmed without the use of toxic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, or GMOs. In this method, Arhar is grown in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way using organic and biodynamic agricultural practices. These practices not only boost soil fertility subsequently increasing the dal’s nutrition levels but also keep you dal free from toxic pesticide residues, making them completely safe and healthy for your family. Hence, always choose certified organic and, unrefined dals, cereals, and grains to aim for maximum nutrition for your family.
For example, ORGANIC INDIA’s Arhar Dal (Tur Dal) or Pigeon Peas are certified organic, unpolished premium quality lentils/dal grown without chemical pesticides, thus retaining their authentic flavour and complete nutrition.
You might ask what is its price per kg.
Owing to its popularity amongst adults and children alike, tur dal is a staple across most Indian homes. While subject to production and demand needs, the price of certified organic tur dal varies between 120 to 200 per kilo.
Try Organic India's nutritious Arhar dal for your daily dose of nutrients:
While its delicious flavour continues to maintain its popularity, Arhar dal is also rich in essential nutrients, providing a plethora of health benefits. Let’s explore some of them…
What is Arhar dal rich in?
Rich in protein, Arhar dal also offers a good mix of essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. According to Ayurveda, Arhar dal brings lightness to the body and balances the pitta and kapha doshas.
According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), the nutrition content in a serving or cup of Tur/Arhar dal is:
- Calories: 343 kcal
- Total Fat: 1.5g
- Total Carbohydrate: 63g
- Protein: 22g
- Sodium: 17mg
- Potassium: 1392 mg
- Calcium: 0.13mg
- Iron: 28 %
- Magnesium: 45%
- Vitamin B6: 15%
With its rich nutritional profile, Arhar dal emerges as an invaluable addition to a well-rounded diet. Its benefits include:
What are the Arhar Dal’s benefits?
- Rich Source of Protein:
With almost 22% percent protein content per 100 grams, Arhar dal emerges as a protein-rich dal, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans. With its comprehensive profile of essential amino acids, it nurtures the body's growth, repair, and maintenance processes. Protein serves as a fundamental building block for muscle development, bolsters immune function, and facilitates the production of vital enzymes and hormones.
- High in Dietary Fibre:
Arhar dal boasts an abundance of dietary fibre, promoting optimal digestion and fostering a healthy digestive system. This fibrous content adds bulk to the stool, preventing constipation and ensuring regular bowel movements. Moreover, it contributes to the regulation of blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, and aids in weight management by instilling a sense of satiety.
- Provides Essential Vitamins:
Arhar dal serves as a valuable source of various essential vitamins, crucial for overall health and well-being. Notably, it contains vitamin A, which nourishes vision and fosters the health of the skin. The dal also encompasses the B-complex vitamins, including folate, which facilitates red blood cell production and reduces the risk of neural tube defects in pregnant women. Additionally, Arhar dal houses vitamin C, an antioxidant that fortifies the immune system and supports collagen synthesis.
- Abundance of Minerals:
Brimming with vital minerals, Arhar dal fulfills an integral role in maintaining bodily functions. Particularly noteworthy is its high potassium content, which contributes to blood pressure regulation and promotes heart health. The dal also provides a notable dose of iron, an essential element in haemoglobin production and the prevention of anaemia. Furthermore, Arhar dal offers an array of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, fostering bone health and supporting optimal muscle function.
- Low Glycemic Index:
Arhar dal presents a favourable attribute with its low glycemic index (GI), ensuring a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream and averting sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. This property renders it an ideal choice for individuals managing diabetes or aiming to stabilize blood sugar. Consuming foods with a low GI index assists in appetite control, enhances insulin sensitivity, and lowers the risk of chronic diseases.
- Heart-Healthy Benefits:
The combination of dietary fibre, potassium, and antioxidants in Arhar dal culminates in a variety of heart-healthy benefits. The fibre content plays a pivotal role in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular ailments. Potassium works synergistically by regulating blood pressure, contributing to overall heart health. Additionally, the antioxidants combat free radicals, mitigating oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are associated with heart problems.
- Boosts Energy Levels:
Arhar dal, a reservoir of complex carbohydrates, provides a sustained release of energy. As these carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, they fuel the body and support optimal brain function. By incorporating Arhar dal into meals, one can combat fatigue and maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.
- Supports Weight Management:
Arhar dal's commendable fibre and protein content position it as a stellar ally in weight management endeavours. The fibre aids in achieving satiety, curbing overeating, and facilitating weight loss. Simultaneously, the protein content preserves lean muscle mass during weight reduction and promotes feelings of fullness. By incorporating Arhar dal into a balanced, calorie-controlled diet, individuals can foster sustainable weight management.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties:
Arhar dal has an array of antioxidants and phytochemicals that exhibit notable anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds contribute to the reduction of inflammation within the body, thereby potentially mitigating the risk of various chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, and certain cancers. Including Arhar dal in one's diet may foster an overall anti-inflammatory effect, promoting enhanced well-being.
- Versatile Culinary Ingredient:
Beyond its impressive nutritional profile, Arhar dal stands as a versatile ingredient in the culinary realm. It lends itself well to a plethora of dishes, including soups, stews, curries, and dals. With its mild flavour and creamy texture, it serves as an ideal canvas for an assortment of spice combinations, vegetables, and seasonings, allowing for the creation of a diverse range of delicious and healthful meal options.
Can everyone consume Arhar dal?
Arhar dal, consumed as part of a balanced diet, is generally safe for most individuals. However, certain circumstances warrant caution or avoidance:
Allergies: Individuals with legume allergies or sensitivities should steer clear if they experience adverse reactions such as difficulty breathing, hives, or digestive issues. Seeking medical advice is crucial in such cases.
Gout: Arhar dal contains purines, which can convert to uric acid in the body. People with gout, characterized by high uric acid levels and arthritis, may need to limit or avoid Arhar dal to prevent exacerbation. Personalized dietary recommendations from healthcare professionals or dietitians are advisable.
Digestive Issues: Although generally easy to digest, individuals with sensitive digestive systems may experience discomfort, bloating, or gas after consuming legumes, including Arhar dal. Mitigating measures such as soaking the dal for a few hours before cooking and wet heat cooking methods like boiling and stewing can help prevent digestive discomfort.
It is crucial to recognize that individual reactions and tolerances vary. For specific concerns or health conditions, consulting healthcare professionals or dietitians who can provide tailored guidance based on unique needs and medical history is recommended.
Popular Arhar Dal recipes
Arhar dal, renowned for its versatility and exquisite flavour profile, serves as a captivating muse for culinary enthusiasts worldwide.
Explore the realm of delectable dishes that showcase Arhar dal's star qualities:
Arhar Dal Tadka: Immerse yourself in the allure of this timeless Indian delicacy. Softly cooked Arhar dal harmonizes with an ensemble of aromatic spices - cumin, mustard seeds, garlic, and dried red chilli. The result? A comforting and wholesomely satisfying meal, best relished with fragrant rice or warm, pillowy rotis.
Sambhar: Embark on a South Indian culinary adventure with this cherished staple. Arhar dal intertwines seamlessly with an array of vibrant vegetables, such as drumsticks, pumpkin, carrots, and eggplant. Infused with the tang of tamarind, the melody of sambar powder, and the orchestration of spices, this zesty stew tantalizes the taste buds. It finds perfect companionship with idli, dosa, or a bed of steaming rice.
Dal Fry: Witness the magic unfold as Arhar dal is gently cooked to a creamy consistency, enriched with the velvety touch of ghee or oil. Cumin seeds, onions, garlic, and a symphony of spices further elevate this masterpiece. Adorned with a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves, it finds its place of honour alongside buttery rotis, flaky naan, or a fragrant mound of rice.
Dal Makhani: Indulge in the opulence of this North Indian jewel. Arhar dal and black lentils (urad dal) intertwine harmoniously, simmered to perfection with a luxurious medley of cream, butter, and spices. Slow-cooked to achieve a heavenly creaminess, it beckons to be savoured alongside naan or a steaming plate of rice.
Pigeon Pea Curry: Immerse your senses in the flavours of this enticing curry. Arhar dal dances with a melange of spices, tomatoes, onions, and the occasional embrace of coconut milk. A comforting and soul-satisfying dish, it finds solace with a bed of fragrant rice, warm rotis, or crusty bread.
Panchmel Dal: Embark on a culinary expedition to Rajasthan, where Panchmel dal reigns supreme. A symphony of five lentils, including Arhar dal, commingle with a bouquet of spices, lending it a distinctive flair. Ghee, ginger, and garlic add a touch of warmth, while rotis or steamed rice provides the perfect vessel for savouring this protein-packed delight.
Dal Khichdi: Experience the harmony of flavours in this comforting one-pot wonder. Arhar dal and rice come together in a blissful union, seasoned with an aromatic blend of spices, a dollop of ghee, and the occasional presence of vegetables. A nutritious and filling meal, it finds companionship in creamy yogurt, crispy papad, or tangy pickles.
These offerings merely skim the surface of the vast array of dishes that celebrate Arhar dal's versatility. Unlock your culinary creativity and allow this beloved legume to be your guide as you traverse the global tapestry of flavours and indulge in gastronomic delight.
In the realm of nutrition, Arhar dal reigns supreme as a nutritional powerhouse. Bursting with protein, dietary fiber, and a myriad of essential vitamins and minerals, this versatile legume unlocks a world of delectable dishes that span diverse cuisines. From the comforting aromas of Dal Fry to the tangy allure of Sambhar and the creamy indulgence of Dal Makhani, Tur dal captivates taste buds and nourishes bodies across the globe. By embracing Tur dal in your culinary repertoire, you embark on a journey towards optimal health and a well-rounded, wholesome diet.