split pigeon peas

Common name: toor dal

Botanical name: Cajanus cajan

Split and skinned pigeon peas are also known as tuvar dal or arhar dal. They are beige lentils with a yellow interior, and have a distinctive nutty flavour. Toor dal has a thick gelatinous or meaty consistency, and takes a little longer to cook than moong or masoor dal.

They are the most widely-used form of the lentil in the southern parts of India.

Together with tamarind, vegetables and spices, toor dal is used to make sambar. Gujarati dal is a sweet and sour dal made with toor dal.

Toor dal is best obtained from health food shops. If buying pre-packaged dal, check for moisture or infestation. Always check the packaging to get as fresh as possible, as old dal can be harder to cook.

Sort the toor dal well to remove stones and dirt. Wash in running water, and then soak in warm water for one hour to make it easier to cook.

Toor dal will keep for several months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place.

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