A Well-Known Legume
Chana Dal belongs to the Chickpea Family. It is also known as Garbanzo Beans, Bengal Gram and Egyptian Pea. This legume is found predominantly in the Mid-Eastern and Mediterranean diets. In India, the Chickpea or Chana dal is used in various ways in the many cuisines that live together in harmony. This particular legume is found in its whole brown form and in its split and skinned variant. Both are versatile in their uses and can be used either by themselves or in combination with other legumes.
Taste and Flavour
Whole brown chickpeas are a favourite with north India. The eastern states like West Bengal tend to use the split variant. By itself, the chick pea has a nutty earthy flavour, and this gets enhanced when it is cooked. There are many recipes that showcase the taste and flavour of Chana dal. Here we will highlight a regular dal or gravy which is common across the region.
The Versatile Dish
Chana Dal is an adaptable legume that can be cooked in many different ways. The basic dal or gravy or soup that is made is best eaten with parathas, chapatis or rice. Soaked and boiled whole Chana dal can also be used in salads. Being rich in its nutritive content, this legume works well with weight watchers.
Serve with Style
- Chana dal is best served with a side of long thinly cut onions tossed in a little lemon juice, salt and some chopped green coriander. Toss the whole thing together to make a rumble-tumble types salad. You can add green chillies to the mix if you like it extra hot.
- Serve hot with a garnish of green coriander accompanied by parathas, chapatis or rice.
You have to plan this dish well in advance as whole Chana dal needs soaking for at least 8-10 hours prior to cooking and the split dal for about 2-3 hours.
Take 1 measure of split Chana Dal. (one measure could be 100 gms, or use any cup bowl or glass as per your requirement)
Wash well and soak for 2-3 hours.
Once done, put in to the pressure cooker with one teaspoon salt and water that is enough to cover the dal with levels not more than 1 inch above the dal itself. Less water will burn the dal and too much will spray out of the cooker. Cook on medium flame for 1 whistle and then on slow flame for about 6-7 whistles. Take off the flame and keep aside for pressure to drop in the cooker. Use the time to prep for the tempering.
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil of your choice
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
- 2 chopped green chillies (optional for those who like less spicy food)
- 1 finely cut onion
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger grated or in paste form
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder (an Indian all spice powder)
Optional to suit your palate.
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- Salt to taste
- Pinch sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons chopped green coriander
How to make
Take your pre-cooked Chana dal and set aside. Don’t throw the water.
Take a wok or a saucepan, add oil and put to heat.
Add cumin seeds and wait for it to crackle.
Add onions and fry till they are a lovely golden brown
Add asafoetida powder, turmeric and red chilly powder. Fry
Add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies and chopped tomatoes. Stir and fry well.
Add garam masala and coriander powder, mix well and fry for a minute.
Add salt and sugar
Add your Chana Dal and the water you kept aside and mix well.
Bring to a boil on a high flame and then reduce flame and let simmer for two minutes.
Take it off the flame, pour in to serving bowl and garnish with coriander.
Your Chana Dal is ready to eat.
- Soaking is an important part of cooking your Chana Dal.
- Adjust the spiciness of the dish by adding o removing the suggested quantities of red chilli powder and green chillies.
- Garam Masala is a typical Indian all spice powder, if you don’t have any, make your dal without it. It still tastes good.
- All your tempering must be done on a medium flame. Don’t rush the process or something might burn which will spoil the flavours of the dish.
- A squeeze of lime juice over your dal gives it that slightly extra zesty flavour but this is completely optional.
Chick peas are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibre. It has some carbohydrates and has a moderate number of calories. These are good carbs as the starch found in Chana Dal helps in stabilizing sugar levels in your blood.
It also contains small quantities of selenium, riboflavin pantothenic acid, copper and thiamine. The high protein and fibre content means you have better digestion and less cravings for junk foods, which, in turn means that it aids your weight loss program in an efficient and nutritive manner.
Given below is an approximation of the nutritive content of chick peas. This is in its raw form for a quantity of 100 grams.
- Calories 364
- Total Fat 6 g
- Saturated fat 0.6 g
- Polyunsaturated fat 2.7 g
- Monounsaturated fat 1.4 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 24 mg
- Potassium 875 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 61 g
- Dietary fibre 17 g
- Sugar 11 g
- Protein 19 g
- Vitamin A 1%
- Vitamin C 6%
- Calcium 10%
- Zinc 2.5 mg
- Iron 34%
- Vitamin B-6 25%
- Magnesium 28%
One measure of cooked chickpeas contains approximately
- 269 calories that includes
- 45 g of carbohydrate
- 15 g of protein
- 13 g of dietary fibre and
- 4 g of fat.
All these figures would change slightly with the addition of other vegetables and spice to the cooking process. But it does not affect its overall benefits.