It doesn’t matter where in India you are, dhal is really the backbone of authentic Indian cooking. Translated, dhal means split pulses, but more often than not it refers to lentils. There are many different spellings of dhal, including dal, dhal and daal - I spell it dhal but it’s commonly spelt dal across the UK. In any case, none of the spellings are incorrect, so just go with whichever one you prefer.
Lentils, like most other pulses, are a fantastic source of protein, and are really easy to cook with. However, it’s really important that you cook them through to ensure you don’t leave any of the anti-nutrients and naturally-occurring toxins that they contain. Don’t worry though - once they’ve softened up they’re ready to eat.
There are lots of different types of lentils and pulses to choose from, and even more dhal recipes than there are spellings of it! Dhal is a great comfort food and a great dish to experiment with in terms of spices and flavours so you can try out each dhal recipe, find your favourite and play around with it.