Arhar Dal / Pigeon Pea
Arhar dal, or pigeon pea, is a legume that is widely consumed in south Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Domesticated in India at least 3,500 years ago, this perennial crop boasts high levels of protein and plays its role in a well-balanced diet. Dried peas can be sprouted, then cooked, which imparts a different flavor as well as increases its digestibility. In India, whole pigeon peas, which are black and imbue a distinct flavor, are used in dishes such as curry, while the yellow split peas are used in making lentil soup. Along the Caribbean coast, the legume is canned and consumed. In Africa, the peas are eaten fresh–pods, shoots, and all. And nearly every region that consumes pigeon pea has some form of “peas and rice” dish that is a mainstay.
Not only a food crop, this plant is also used in certain areas as a cover crop, as an important component of green manure, and its woody stems as firewood, fencing, and thatch material.
Some other names for arhar dal are no-eye pea, tropical green pea, gungo pea, red gram, and gandule bean.
Arhar dal contains high levels of:
- important amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan
- dried peas (can be used whole with skin or split without skin)
- ground into flour
- toor dal
- no-eye pea
- tropical green pea
- gungo pea
- red gram
- gandule bean.
Black-eyed peas or baby lima beans can be used instead of arhar dal.