Daal is a term used in the Indian subcontinent for dried, split pulses (that is, lentils, peas, and beans) that do not require pre-soaking. The term is also used for various soups prepared from these pulses. These pulses are among the most important staple foods in South Asian countries, and form an important part of the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent.
The most common way of preparing dal is in the form of a soup to which onions, tomatoes, and various spices may be added. The outer hull may or may not be stripped off. Almost all types of dal come in three forms: (1) unhulled or sabut (meaning whole in Hindi), e.g., sabut urad dal or mung sabut; (2) split with hull left on the split halves is described as chilka (which means shell in Hindi), e.g. chilka urad dal, mung dal chilka; (3) split and hulled or dhuli (meaning washed), e.g., urad dhuli or mung dhuli in Hindi/Urdu. Dal is frequently eaten with flatbreads such as rotis or chapati, or with rice. The latter combination is called dal bhat in Nepali, Bengali and Marathi. In addition, certain types of dal are fried and salted and eaten as a dry snack, and a variety of savory snacks are made by frying a paste made from soaked and ground dals in different combinations, to which spices, nuts, cashews, etc. may be added.