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Skinned split black lentils?

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I recently got 660 Curries and am looking forward to trying a lot of new recipes. One thing I'm having trouble finding is skinned split black lentils, which are in a lot of the recipes I want to try. I suppose I could find them online, but in the meantime, can yellow split lentils be used in their place? They are used in such small quantities, like 2tbs. I can't tell if they're mainly used for flavor, or as a thickener.

Any advise from people with more experience in Indian cooking?

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  1. Sorry, I'm far from an expert but I have used this site:

    http://www.foodsubs.com/Lentils.html#... dal

    to identify the various types of lentils and possible substitutes.

    1. They are for flavor -- they add a nutty flavor when fried in oil.

      Any indian store will have them. They are known as urad dal.

      3 Replies
      1. re: boogiebaby

        I'm sure that's true but the nearest Indian food store is more than 2 hours from me, that's why I would order online. And why I'm trying to find a substitute for last minute plans.

        1. re: boogiebaby

          Oops, posted too soon. It sounds like you're familiar with them, so do you think I could substitute another lentil for them in these recipes that call for just a small amount? I have whole black lentils, split yellow lentils, brown lentils, and red lentils.

          1. re: acecil

            It's really going to depend on the recipe. If you are making dal, you could substitute toor (green split skinned) or masoor (red split) dal. The flavors would be different though. I wouldn't substitute chana dal as that has a very different flavor (it's stronger).

            If it's just a small part of the recipe, like tempering a teaspoon or so for the tarka, then I would omit it.

            Like Allegra mentioned, this was the COTM. I've had the book at home for a year, but didn't actually cook from it until COTM. There are some great recipes in there. I've been using it regularly now.

        2. I don't have the answer for you, but thought you might like to know that 660 curries was the Cookbook of the Month in October, and there are plenty of really great reviews from all of the participants who cooked from the book, if you're looking for any ideas. You're always welcome to add your own reviews to the threads! They are a great resource, lots of info as well as reviews.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871611

          1 Reply
          1. re: Allegra_K

            Thanks, I did see that and have been trying to read through some of it. I'm sure there will lots if good suggestions.

          2. Yes you can sub the Toor Dal in the Tempering and it will be fine. As stated up thread it gives a toasted nutty flavor and if not cooked any further it is crunchy like a toasted nut as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chefj

              Thanks chefs, I will give it a try!