A Guide to Pulses and the Different Types of Pulses

In India, pulses are so central to the diet that it’s difficult to envision a dinner (especially for vegetarians) without them. Indian cuisine relies heavily on pulses, which are used in snacks, curries and even some sweet dishes. Different types of pulses are used in a wide variety of cuisines, from the Middle Eastern dip hummus to the traditional English morning staple baked beans. 

Pulses are commonly referred to as “Dals.” They are high in protein and other nutrients, and they come from the legume family. Pulses are the dried, roasted, and seasoned seeds of legume plants. Pulses are found in a wide range of pod sizes, pod colors, and pod shapes. 

To distinguish them from other vegetable crops that are taken while still green, the term “pulses” is restricted to those harvested entirely as dry grains.

The blog focuses on what are pulses, what are the different types of pulse and export of pulses. Continue reading for more. 

What are Pulses?

The word “pulse” means “seed or grain that can be made into a thick soup or pottage” in its Latin origin. Although both soybeans and peanuts are legumes, they are more commonly classified as oilseeds than as pulses due to their distinctive characteristics and primary uses. 

Pulses are a group of dry legumes that includes several popular foods.  They are members of the legume family, but the term “pulse” is used to describe only those that are cultivated for their edible dry seeds. Lentils, chickpeas, split peas, beans like kidney beans, and navy beans are all examples of pulses.

They are hardy plants that contain amino acids and are rich in protein, fiber, and numerous vitamins. The rest of the world is starting to catch on to the fact that these foods are great for you, even though they are most prevalent in underdeveloped nations.

List of Pulses Grown and Consumed all Over the World

Here are 10 varieties of pulses and lentils available in the market. Below is the list of these pulses:

  1. Red lentils (Masoor dal)
  2. Black chana (Kale chane)
  3. Bengal gram (Chana dal)
  4. Chickpeas (Kabuli chana)
  5. Black gram (Urad dal)
  6. White lentils (White Urad dal)
  7. Pigeon peas (Tur dal)
  8. Green pigeon peas (Hare tuvar dal)
  9. Green gram (Moong dal)
  10. Horse gram (Kulthi dal)

Exploring Different Types of Pulses: A Closer Look

Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)

Red lentils, also known as Masoor dal, are a popular ingredient in Indian soups, curries, and side dishes. Masoor Dal has a lot of protein, fiber, folate, and iron. They are also low in fat and contain a reasonable amount of carbohydrates. These are grown mostly in India, Canada, and Turkey.

Black Chickpeas (Kale Chane)

Black chickpeas are used in a variety of Indian and Middle Eastern recipes, including curries, salads, and snacks. Kale chane or black chickpeas are rich in protein, fiber, iron, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are prominent in regional cuisines due to their unique flavor and adaptability. These are mostly produced in India and other Asian countries.

Bengal Gram (Chana Dal)

Bengal gram, also known as Chana dal, is a kind of lentil that is commonly used in Indian cookery to prepare dal meals, snacks, and sweets. It is high in protein, fiber, and important minerals including iron and manganese. Traditional Indian foods are made with this particular pulses such as chana dal curry and chana dal halwa. The majority of chana dal is cultivated in India, Pakistan, and portions of the Middle East.

Chickpeas (Kabuli Chana)

Chickpeas, also known as Kabuli chana, are used in a variety of dishes across the world, including hummus, curries, salads and more. Protein, fiber, and folate levels are all high in Chickpeas. These are popular because of their adaptability in both savory and sweet cuisines. Grown mostly in the Mediterranean area, the Middle East, India, and portions of the Americas.

Black Gram (Urad Dal)

Black gram, also known as Urad dal, is used in Indian cuisines such as punjabi dish dal makhani, idli, and dosa batter. Rich in protein, dietary fiber, iron, and other vital elements. It adds a creamy smoothness to meals and is useful for fermenting batters. Mostly grown in India, Pakistan, and other regions of Asia.

White Lentils (White Urad Dal)

White lentils, also known as White Urad Dal, are used in many Indian cuisines in the same way as black gramme is. Protein, fiber, and nutrient-rich, similar to black gramme. It is used in meals that require a gentler flavor and color. Mostly cultivated in India and neighboring countries.

Pigeon Peas (Tur Dal)

Tur dal, or pigeon peas, are one of the most popular dal in Indian cooking and are used to cook dal dishes. It is packed with protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, often used in traditional Indian cuisine. It is grown in India, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Green Pigeon Peas (Hare Tuvar Dal)

Green pigeon peas, also known as Hare tuvar dal, are used in curries and stews in the same way as mature pigeon peas are. These are high in protein and fiber. Mostly grown in India and other tropical areas.

Green Gram (Moong Dal) 

Green gram, also known as Moong dal, is used in Indian and Asian cuisines to produce dal dishes, soups, and sweets. It is a good source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Small, green seeds that may be used whole or split; they are light and simple to digest, making them excellent for a variety of cuisines. They are cultivated in India, Southeast Asia, and other tropical regions.

Horse Gram (Kulthi Dal)

In South Indian cuisine, horse gram, or Kulthi dal, is used to prepare substantial curries and soups. These provide a lot of protein, fiber, and iron. They are mostly grown in India, particularly in desert areas.

Pulses Exports from India

During the 2022-23 fiscal year, India exported 775,024.48 MTS of pulses worth Rs 5,397.86 Crores/ 672.31 USD Millions.

Bangladesh, China, United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Nepal are the major export destinations for the period of 2022-23.

On account of soaring demand for chickpea and lentils from China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bangladesh, India’s exports of pulses will likely set a new record for the fiscal year.

During April to January of the current fiscal year, pulses exports increased by 80 percent in volume to 5.39 lakh tonnes (lt).

More Facts and Figures on Pulses export from India –

  • According to Volza’s India Export data, exports of Pulses from India totaled 47,000 units, exported by 3,395 India exporters to 7,060 buyers.
  • India exports the majority of its Pulses to the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada, and is the world’s third-largest exporter of Pulses.
  • The top three exporters of Pulses are Vietnam (87,500 shipments), China (65,640 shipments), and India (47,049 shipments).


Pulses are an irreplaceable aspect of the vegetarian diet. They are colorful and nourishing. In addition, you can easily enjoy them daily. Some of the most popular dals available in the market are Masoor daal, urad dal, Kala and kabuli chana, an etc. Eat them regularly to give your health a much-needed boost.

Pulses are a delicious and nutritious food that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. They are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they are a sustainable food source. If you are looking for a healthy and flavorful way to add more protein to your diet, pulses are a great option.


Difference between legumes and pulses?

Legumes are characterized by their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil through a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their root nodules. Unlike fresh legumes that can be consumed as vegetables, pulses are dried and need to be rehydrated and cooked before consumption. 

Are pulses the same as legumes?

All pulses are legumes, but not all legumes are pulses. Legumes encompass a broader category of plants that includes both fresh and dried seeds, while pulses specifically refer to the dried seeds obtained from legume plants.

Which legumes are not pulses?

Some dried legume seeds, such as peanuts and soybeans, are oil seeds, so they are not considered pulses.