Dal is as common in India as mashed potatoes are in Minnesota. The word means dried legume, as in lentil or pea. Or chickpea or fava bean. An edible seed that grows in a pod and is hulled and split. Dal is also the name for the thick purée, stew or soup made from these legumes. It may be a nutritious, humble meal served with rice, or it may be just one of several dishes served as part of a more complex meal. It is found on every Indian table every day, rich or poor, rain or shine. Read more on The New York Times.