Lentils and Beans
Beans and lentils (legumes or pulses) are essential to the Indian diet. Lentils have the advantage of being smaller, cooking more quickly, and having more protein. One of the most popular lentil North Indian dishes is a black lentil dal (dal makani). South India's coconut dal of Kerala (parippu) is fragrant with curry leaves and mustard seeds.
Red kidney beans (rajma) and chickpeas (as in chana masala) are the most recognizable (to non-Indians) Indian beans. Exploring the myriad lentils and beans, with their unique taste and texture is one of the many joys of Indian cooking.