Dal has been a staple food from centuries. Dal is a soup like preparation made from different pulses. The word dal derives from the Sanskrit verbal root dal- “to split”. The common used pulses are Moong dal, Chana dal, Tur dal, Urad Dal and Masoor Dal. The pulses have played an integral part of Indian cuisine. Today Dal is made differently in each region. Right from the Vedic Civilization in around 1200 B.C, the pules have been consumed, widely. The Yajur and Rig Veda mentions use of Masura (masoor), masa (Urad Dal), Arhar (Tuvar), Mugda (Mung), gram and pea. In the Vedic period Masa (Urad Dal) was most commonly used as food as well as in rituals.
It is during the sutra period, (800 B.C. TO 300 B.C) we first mention of pulses cooked as soup (Supa) in other words as first preparation of Dal as a dish in itself. This preparation is mentioned in Panini’s Astadhyayi. Out of the pulses from the Vedic period Masa (Urad dal), Mudga (Mung) and Kulattha (Horse gram) had come into use. During the Buddhist and Jaina Era as well Dal Preparation was common, it was known as Yusa.
Even in Maurya and Sunga (300 B.C. to 75 AD.) period Soup prepared from it is expressly mentioned in the texts of those times. In the Epic age use of Chanaka or Chana Dal had come into use.
The Gupta period, (300 A.D. to 750 A.D) saw rise in preference of the green Mudga or Mung beans and a decline in use of Masa (urad dal) on the medical grounds, a people felt it was difficult to digest. However Kulatha was widely used. This period also saw use of Rajamasa (Rajma or Kidney beans) , Masura (Masoor Dal), and gram during Sraddha rituals, according to the Puranas.
In Manasollasa we find Mentions of Spiced Mung Dal preparation, it is said that A soup prepared with Mudga(Mung) , asafetida, pieces of ginger, pieces of lotus stalks fried in oil or the seeds of Priyala is also mentioned.
Dal later grew much popular with the development of the culinary art. In the Mughal period we see the Panchmel dal, as one of Jodha Bai’s favorite dishes. The panchmel dal is a flavored mix of Moong Dal, Chana Dal, Tur Dal, Masoor Dal and Urad Dal. It is believed that Jodha Bai introduced this dal to the kitchen of Akbar. Moradabadi dal is another creation of the delicious dal of the Mughal era, this dal is made of Moong dal, This delicacy came into being when Prince Murad Baksh (the third son of Shah Jahan) established the city of Moradabad in 1625