I'm sort of an Indian food newbie.Can I substitute green lentils for black ones without much of an issue? Thanks picklers!

  • Posted by: JessieLK
  • December 14, 2010


innoabrd December 16, 2010
Definitely not if you're doing something like idly or dosa, but if you're a beginning indian cook, you're not likely to be doing something like that.

Different lentils do have different flavors, and Indians can be real snobs about what kind of lentils they use, but as long as you're not cooking for any actual indians, I'd say go for it. BUT, as you start doing more indian cooking, start finding the right kinds of lentils for different dishes, it'll pay off.
RobertaJ December 15, 2010
I would think for a soupy lentil dish (dal) where the lentils are the star, and not ground or mashed, that substituting would be OK. It may not be absolutely authentic flavor, but I have sub'd grocery store lentils, and even split peas, for the red/green/yellow called for in some of my Indian recipes. The taste might not be 100% authentic, but I think it would still be acceptable. However, as a processed ingredient (as in idli, which are sublime when made correctly), I'd be reticent to substitute. In that case, I'd just gaze longingly at the recipe and wish.....
pauljoseph December 14, 2010
we use this dal(Lentil)for making idli
JessieLK December 14, 2010
beyondcelery December 14, 2010
This link might help you decide:

I haven't tried that substitution myself, but if you're not too picky about the end result, I'm sure it'd be fine in most dishes. If you're making Idli, I wouldn't make the substitution because they rely on a specific fermentation process that won't turn out properly without specific ingredients. (I can tell you that one from experience!)

Recommended by Food52