Toor Dal – The Queen Grain

Toor Dal – The Queen Grain

Arhar Dal (also known as Toor Dal), by far, is the most popular of all the Indian pulses. At Daana, it outsells all the other pulses put together. It is not without reason that it is the queen of grains: it has great taste, it can be cooked in many different ways and it is easily grown. It is India’s most favourite Dal. Daana offers both versions of the dal, with the skin and without it.

Daana’s Organic Toor Dal is grown on Bhaskar and Lakshmis farm. Bhaskar is a tailor who turned to organic farming 7 years ago. He and his wife Lakshmi grow wheat, dals and vegetables in their 11 acres of farm, in Metalkunta village near Zaheerabad, Telangana. His farm is entirely rainfed. He uses mulch and rain water harvesting methods to maximise water conservation. There are many organic farmers in the region. As a result, the fertility of the soil is very high, and the groundwater levels are very healthy. A naturally fertile soil has a large capacity to retain moisture. This is not the case in regions that use chemical farming methods. In these regions the soil becomes rock hard and does not have any water retention capacity. Any water poured on it is only washed away, and does not get absorbed.

1 Kg
Add to Cart
249 1533 Single Origin Organic Toor Dal 1 Kg
2 Kg
Add to Cart
449 1797 Single Origin Organic Toor Dal 2 Kg


Did you know  the Toor Dal came to be called as ‘Pigeon Pea’ by the British?? Since they consumed meat mostly for protein, they thought poorly about Indian pulses as sources of protein. They thought these were fit only for animals. The English named the Indian dals after the animals who seemed to like them.

Archaeologists discovered  more than 5400 year old toor dal seeds in their  finds in the Deccan plateau. These established that toor dal originated in India. From India, traders carried this tasty lentil to Africa. Europeans started consuming it and called it the Congo Pea!

Of late,  Toor dal is being imported into India. This is a controversial move. The imported dal is different from the varieties prevalent in India. It also has far lesser nutritional content than the traditional Indian varieties. Importing this dal has caused immense price volatility in the local markets, and farmers are incurring huge losses. Hopefully, the government will provide a better policy to support local toor dal farmers and India can achieve self-sufficiency in toor again.

Toor Dal is a super-food by all standards. Each 100 grams has more than 60 grams of good carbs and 21 grams of proteins. It is also a good source of folic acid and dietary fiber.  A cup full of them is as good as a cup of Whey protein.  Read the USDA figures.

A delicious, healthier and better alternative to your post-workout whey drink is a medium bowl of lightly boiled toor dal. It is a great muscle building supplement. Adding toor dal to your daily diet will  lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. However, the hybrid varieties being imported into India have a poorer protein yield. Choose local and organic dals to get the best taste and nutrition.

Toor dal grows easily in semi-arid regions with little rainfall. For instance, Daana’s own farmers grow them exclusively with rain water. As a plant, what it does is nothing short of a miracle. It sucks up the carbon dioxide from the air, uses the heat and light from the sun to convert all that into rich, tasty, healthy food, and it nourishes the soil in the middle of it all. It survives in poor soil conditions and is also tolerant of dry weather.

Toor dal plant is quite hardy. In some areas, two crops are grown every year with harvests in February and in July. The February harvest produces tastier stuff. Check on the pack to know when it was harvested when you buy it. The monsoon arrives by mid-June in the Deccan plateau and that provides just enough water for the plants. Poor monsoon leads to lesser yields as the plants fail to grow to their full heights.

The cultivation of Toor Dal is very helpful in agroecology, as its performance as an inter-crop is remarkable and it protects the soil to a great extent.

At Daana, we buy Dal from our farmers, and store it in cold-storage units which ensures that all pests are eliminated. Every bag is tagged with information about the farmer. Once it arrives from cold storage into our packing unit, it is hand cleaned by women who are skilled at removing stones, dust and husk. Further to that, it is packed, labelled and shipped to our consumers.

No chemicals or preservatives of any kind are used. All information about the farmer is provided in the packets, so you know exactly who grew your food, when it was harvested, and more.

Toor dal is the most consumed dal in India, precisely because it is so tasty! Here is a recipe for the Khatti (Tarty) Dal which is a staple of Hyderabadi meals. This dal is so popular in Hyderabad that Hyderabadis are often called Khatte!

For more recipes, please visit our Recipes section.

Khatti Dal (Hyderbadi)