Chana dal is also known as Bengal gram or split chickpeas. These lentils have a sweet and nutty taste. Chana dal comes from black chickpeas (kala chana). They are split and the outer husk is removed. These lentils are also powdered to give besan or gram flour. Chana dal derives from black chickpeas which are split with the outer covering removed. The resulting lentils are a bright golden hue and are common among various Indian dal recipes.
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The term dal refers to “pulses” such as lentils, beans, and peas. “Chana” is chickpeas, and “dal” is split lentils, peas, or chickpeas. Therefore, chana dal is split chickpeas in soup or curry form! For this dish, chickpeas are split and polished, resulting in a different texture and feel than whole chickpeas.
People quite often ask, Is chana dal the same as gram dal? Chana dal is also known as split chickpeas or Bengal gram. It derives from black chickpeas which are split with the outer covering removed. The resulting lentils are a bright golden hue and are common among various Indian dal recipes.
The term dal refers to “pulses” such as lentils, beans, and peas. Bengal gram seeds are small and dark and have a rough coat. It is majorly cultivated in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Mexico. In the Indian vegetarian culinary scenario, Bengal gram is a major ingredient. It is essentially used in making curries. In southern India, unripe grams are picked and consumed as a snack and the leaves are added in the making of salads.
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Chana dal is rich in B-complex vitamins that play an important role in glucose metabolism and are vital for your body to remain active and energetic. It is also essential for the heart as it is rich in antioxidants and reduces inflammation keeping the organ healthy.
Another query I often come across is, can one eat chana dal at night? “In general, it is best to consume dal during the daytime as whatever we eat at night should be light and easily digestible. For example, moong dal is light and easily digestible, thus, it is completely okay to have it at night.
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Chana dal is a widely grown lentil in India. It is an important pulse crop of the country. It’s vegetable or dal, besan (flour), crushed of whole gram, boiled or parched, roasted or cooked, salted, unsalted, or sweetened both green foliage and grain, are the forms in which it is consumed by the people.
Chana dal is cooked in a variety of ways with onions, spices, tamarind or garlic and is also used for binding kebabs and koftas. They are cooked with jaggery and ground to paste and used as stuffing’s in Maharashtrian pancakes called “Puran Poli”. In Kerala, a dish called “Chana Dal Payassam” is made during festivals. This consists of chana dal cooked with jaggery, coconut, cashew nuts, raisins and clarified butter (ghee).
Let us check out a few health benefits of Bengal Gram or Chana Dal:
- Bengal gram helps in weight loss management.
- Bengal gram is beneficial since it is a good source of energy.
- Bengal gram is ideal for diabetics who wish to relist its flavour.
- Bengal gram helps lower cholesterol levels in the body.
- Bengal gram is a good source of proteins and minerals.
- Bengal gram promotes a healthy heart and prevents anaemia.
- Bengal gram is good for our skin, bones and teeth.
- Bengal gram strengthens immunity and the digestive system too.
Here are a few of my favourite ways with Bengal gram or Chana dal:
Recipe-1] CHANA DAL KA PULAO
RECIPE- 2] CHANA DAL KABABAS
Recipe-3] CABBAGE AND CHANA DAL DELIGHT
Recipe- 4] CHANA DAL AUR LAUKI KA MEL
Recipe- 5] CHANA DAL PARATHAS
Recipe-6] CHANA DAL KA MEETHA
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About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.