When I was a kid, I often used to get confused between Masoor Dal and Toor Dal.
Well, if you go to any grocery shop, you’d get to see different types of dals.
And if you are new to the kitchen world, you’d get confused seeing so many items in one place.
So, to make things a little easier, I will share the comparison guide on Masoor Dal and Toor Dal below.
I hope you find it useful.
Let’s get started!
What’s The Difference Between Masoor Dal And Toor Dal?
It’s the color!
Masoor Dal comes in red-orange color, whereas Toor Dal is a typical yellow dal.
And that’s the most noticeable difference between these two dals.
So, if someone asks specifically about these dals, I think you should now be able to answer them quickly.
Of course, there are other differences, but we will look at them later in this guide below.
Before that, let’s learn more about these two dals.
What Is Masoor Dal?
Masoor Dal is commonly known as red lentil all across the world.
Sometimes, it is also referred to as lentil.
It can be categorized into two types, i.e., shelled and unshelled.
Apart from these two types, it is also available as split-unshelled.
Masoor Dal is mostly grown in Canada and India.
Both countries have a combined market share of around 56% of world lentil production.
As for the color, the shell color of this dal changes depending on the location of cultivation.
Generally, in India, it comes in a brown-colored shell.
What Is Toor Dal?
Toor Dal is an Indian name for split and deshelled Pigeon Pea.
It is one of the most consumed Dal varieties in the country.
And it is usually made in the form of dal curry in North Indian or sambar curry in South India.
As for global consumption, it is widely used as a staple in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and Latin America.
Toor Dal is also considered an indigenous species of lentils in India.
It is believed to have originated in this part of the world around 3500 years ago.
Later, it traveled to Africa and Europe.
Pigeon Pea is a perennial plant, which grows into a tree in a few years.
Toor Dal has several different names in India, including Arhar Dal, Peeli Dal (Yellow Lentil), Kandi Pappu, etc.
Now that you’re well introduced to these two dals, let’s quickly look at the similarities.
Similarities Between Masoor Dal And Toor Dal
|Masoor Dal||Toor Dal|
|Mostly Used For||Dal and Curry Preparations||Dal and Curry Preparations|
|Storage Life||Long; More Than 1 Year||Long; More Than 1 Year|
|Availability||Easily Available||Easily Available|
|Price||₹ ₹ ₹||₹ ₹ ₹|
Let’s look at some of these similarities in detail.
1. Preparation Style
The preparation styles of both these dals are more or less similar.
You can prepare them like a traditional homemade dal, and they cook well in the pressure cooker.
Of course, you can cook whole Masoor Dal in different styles, but the split-one is usually prepared in Tadka dal style.
In India, they are available at a similar price.
You may see a few rupees difference here and there, but they are available in nearly the same range.
As of writing this guide, i.e., in 2020, Masoor Dal is available for Rs. 116 per kg, and Toor Dal is priced at Rs. 118 per kg on BigBasket.com.
So, as you can see, there is not much difference in the price.
Now, let’s take a look at the differences below.
Differences Between Masoor Dal And Toor Dal
|Masoor Dal||Toor Dal|
|English Names||Red Lentil||Pigeon Pea|
|Used As||Split, Whole||Mostly Split|
|Taste and Flavor||Earthy||Relatively Mild|
|Preference For Making Dals||Low||High|
|Popular Preparations||Dal, Pulao, Vegetables||Dal, Payasam, Sambar|
|Color Change||Changes color after cooking||Doesn't change its color|
Let’s try and understand some of these differences below.
As I have mentioned earlier in the guide, color is a prominent distinguishing factor in this comparison.
Masoor Dal’s red-orange color is quite distinct if you compare it with many other Indian dals too.
It makes it easy to compare these two lentils.
On the other hand, Toor Dal comes in yellow color.
And that’s the color of many other dals in India.
If you compare Toor Dal with Moong Dal or Chana Dal, they are of yellow color.
Taste is another distinguishing factor between these two dals.
Although it’d be difficult to tell how they exactly taste, Masoor Dal gives you a thickish texture and satiating feeling while enjoying it in the form of cooked dal.
And the whole Masoor dal tastes different than other split and deshelled dal.
It gets a little harder in texture when you cook it for sabzi or similar preparations.
On the other hand, Toor Dal offers a mild taste similar to Moong Dal preparation.
Therefore, it is often used as an alternative to Moong Dal in various recipes.
3. Cooking Time
These dals take almost the same amount of time to cook thoroughly, especially in the pressure cookers.
But if you compare them strictly, you will notice that Toor Dal takes less time to turn into a pureé-like mixture.
On the contrary, Masoor Dal needs a little more time to turn into the same pureé-like texture.
4. Color Change After Cooking
When you cook split Masoor Dal like a traditional Indian dal preparation, you get to see the color change.
Yes, Masoor Dal changes its color from red-orange to beige or cream-yellow during the cooking process.
So, when you prepare a dal using this cooked mixture, it looks exactly like a Toor Dal or Moong Dal-based dal preparation.
Of course, it’s got a lot to do with the use of turmeric and other spices in the recipes.
But the color transformation is something you don’t find distinctively with other dals like Moong Dal or Chana Dal.
Toor Dal also comes under the same category of dals that don’t change their colors after cooking.
In India, we use these dals quite differently.
Even though you can prepare a basic dal with Masoor Dal, Toor Dal always gets more preference while making traditional dals in the kitchen.
And that’s because of the taste!
Toor Dal literally absorbs all the flavors of different ingredients and spices you add to the preparation.
But when you use Masoor Dal, it doesn’t soak up all the flavors as effectively as Toor Dal or Moong Dal.
And you always get the peculiar earthy taste of this dal while enjoying it with steamed rice or chapati.
Apart from that, we use Masoor Dal (whole) for thick curry preparations in India.
These preparations go well with Chapatis and Phulkas.
You can also prepare a lentil pulao called Masoor Pulao with other ingredients like fresh vegetables, nuts, and some spices.
Now, here are some of the most commonly asked questions on this topic of Masoor Dal and Toor Dal comparison.
Do check it out below.
I have tried to answer these questions to the best of my knowledge and research.
It depends on your preferences and taste.
I like Toor Dal because it absorbs flavors well.
But you can’t expect the same from Masoor Dal.
Masoor offers its own taste to the preparations, which is not as enjoyable as some other dals available in the market.
Still, it tastes alright.
But if we talk about the overall preference, I’d choose Toor Dal over Masoor Dal on any given day.
Masoor Dal is referred to as Lentil or Red Lentil in English.
There is no other name for this dal in the English language.
Yes, it’s the same thing!
In India, you will come across many different pronunciations and names due to the diversity in regional languages.
The answer to this question is yes!
Moong Dal is way better than Toor Dal.
From the cooking point of view, it cooks faster than most lentils.
And that’s due to the size of this lentil variety.
Along with this, Moong Dal gives you a rich and creamy consistency, which is difficult to achieve with other dals.
Also, it tastes mild and absorbs flavors efficiently.
It also has some other beneficial properties, making it one of the most ordered dals in Indian grocery shops.
However, if you visit restaurants or rice-dal eateries, you’d mostly find Toor Dal-based curry preparations in their menus.
Well, it’s got more to do with the price than anything else, as Moong Dal is considerably costlier than Toor Dal and Masoor Dal.
Over To You
Now, I hope you understood the difference between these two popular Indian dals.
As mentioned earlier, I personally like Toor Dal a lot than Masoor Dal.
It brings a nice texture to various dal and sambar preparations at home.
But yes, it all depends on how you want to prepare your curries.
So, what’s your favorite type of dal?
Do let me know in the comments below.
You can also leave your questions regarding this topic in the comments.
I will try to reply to your queries as soon as possible.
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Nalini Chaganti says
Very good information. Especially for today’s youth.
Thank you, Nalini!