Dal is a term used in the Indian subcontinent for dried, split pulses (legumes) (that is, lentils, peas, and beans). 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.The term dal is sometimes contrasted with the term gram, used by English speakers in the Indian subcontinent for pulses that are whole rather than split.
Dal is frequently eaten with flatbreads such as rotis or chapatis, or with rice. The later combination is called dal bhat in Nepali and Bengali. 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.