chana dal
Last Updated : Mar 09,2018

11 Health Benefits, Nutritional Information of Chana Dal + Chana Dal Glossary + Recipes with Chana Dal, Split Bengal gram |
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Also Known as
Split Bengal gram

What is Chana Dal?

Chana dal is baby chickpeas that has been split and polished. It looks and tastes like small kernels of sweet corn, and is one of the most popular ingredients in Indian cuisine.
Chana dal is delicious, nutritious and easily digested. Apart from being used in soups, salads, curries, dal preparations, savouries, sweets and rice dishes, the legumes are also roasted and powdered into chickpea flour (besan), another ingredient that is widely used in almost every province of India.

Roasted and powdered chana dal
Take ½ cup of roasted chana dal and put in a mixer and blend to a fine powder. Use as required. For coarsely powdered chana dal put the roasted chana dal in a mixer and pulse it one or two times to get a rough texture which is not too fine or smooth. Use as required.

Soaked and cooked chana dal
Clean the chana dal and remove any kind of stones or dirt. To soak chana dal, first wash it twice with water and then soak it in warm water. Drain it and boil it in a vessel full of water or pressure cook till done.
Soaked and parboiled chana dal
To soak chana dal, clean and wash the chana dal and soak in enough water for 4 to 5 hours. For parboiling, drain the soaked chana dal, again add clean water and boil till the dal is almost cooked, but not completely cooked. Many recipes call for parboiled chana dal as it gets cooked completely along with the final dish.
Soaked chana dal
Clean the chana dal and remove any kind of stones or dirt. To soak chana dal, first wash it twice with water and then soak it in warm water. Soaking in water enables the dal to cook faster - thereby saving on time as well as energy. You can simply use the soaked dal in salads, curries and other dishes.
How to Select
• Dried chana dal is available all year round, and is easy to store.
• If buying in a pack, check the seal and date of packing. Buy from a trusted store because you cannot check inside the pack.
• If buying from bins, make sure the bins are not left in the open exposed to dust and grime.
• Check the dal to see if it is unblemished, free from moisture damage, insects and stones.

Culinary Uses
• This is actually a type of split lentil, and is frequently used in Indian cooking as a thickener.
• It has a rich flavour and aroma.
• Combined with rice and roti, it provides the essential amino acids for complete protein.
• It is best to soak these beans overnight or at least for a few hours, so it will cook faster.
• If you do not like eating raw vegetables, then cook them with chana dal.
• Coarsely crush the chana dal and use in dhokla or handwa, for a crunchy texture and to increase the nutritional value.
• Bengal gram is often stewed with vegetables, especially bitter gourds and squashes.
• Chana Dal with spinach and bottle gourd are popular combinations.

How to Store
• Dried dal can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place of your kitchen for up to 12 months.
• Once cooked, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a day. It is better to use it up soon.

Nutritional Information of Cooked Chana Dal

One cup of cooked Chana Dal is 170 grams and comes from 89 grams raw Chana Dal.
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Nutritional Information for 1 cup cooked Chana Dal.

331 Calories
18.5 grams of Protein
53.4 grams of Carbs
4.98 grams of Fat

131 mcg Folate, Vitamin B9 (FA) = 65.63% of RDA (about 200 mcg)

13.61 g of High Fiber = 54.46 % of RDA (about 25 g)

294 mg of Phosphorus : 49.1 % of RDA (about 600 mg for adult.)

0.42 mcg of Vitamin B1, Thiamine : 35.6% of RDA (about 1.2 to 1.5 mg)

18.5 g of Protein = 33.6% of RDA ( about 55 g)

115.7 mg of Magnesium (Mg) = 33.05% of RDA (about 350 mg )

4.71 g of Iron = 22.46% of RDA (about 21 mg)

1.5 mg of Zinc = 15.1% of RDA (about 10 to 12 mg)

640 mg of Potassium (K) : 13.6% of RDA (about 4,700 mg)

50 g of Calcium = 8.3% of RDA (about 600 mg)

11 Health Benefits of Cooked Chana Dal

1. Good for Red Blood Cells, Pregnant Women : Cooked Chana Dal is rich in Folate, Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid which helps your body to produce and maintain new cells, especially red blood cells. It is particularly important for pregnant women to have enough folate. They must start having folate rich foods even while they are planning to conceive. 

2. Good for Heart : Being a rich Antioxidant , cooked Chana Dal reduce the damage done by free radicals to the blood vessels and lower inflammation. They help in the free flow of blood.

3. Excellent source of Protein for Vegetarians : One cup of cooked Chana Dal provides 33% of your protein for the day. Protein are critical for a variety of tasks, right from the formation of new cells, strong bones, haemoglobin, to managing the wear-and-tear of body cells.

4. Lowers Blood Pressure : Lentils and beans are Antioxidants which are known to reduce blood pressure. Cooked Chana Dal prevents oxidation of LDL, keeps the arteries clear and improves blood circulation.

5. Good for Skin: Zinc helps in building immunity, is good for skin, great Antioxidant and involved in energy metabolism and hormone production including testosterone in males and female sex hormones involved in releasing of egg from the ovaries.

6. Good for your Eyes : Zinc is essential to treat night blindness. Zinc helps in the activity of an enzyme in our body that helps produce Vitamin A , which is useful in treating night blindness.

7. High Fiber : Cooked Chana Dal are high in Fibre and 1 cup of cooked dal 54% of your daily Fibre requirements. Fibre results in your stomach feeling a lot fuller than refined carbs. When you feel full, it will prevent you from eating the wrong foods. Imagine eating a sweet and you just want to have more and more of it. Thats because there is only sugar in it and no fibre. So pick foods with high fibre.

8. Strong Bones and Teeth : Cooked Chana Dal is rich in the mineral Phosphorus which builds strong bones and teeth plus works with Calcium to build our bones.

9. Maintains PH levels or Acidity : Cooked Chana Dal is rich in the mineral Phosphorus which acts as a buffer – helps to neutralise the acids and maintain pH levels in the body. 

10. Provides Energy : Cooked Chana Dal is rich in Vitamin B1, thiamin or thiamine which is essential for glucose metabolism. It extracts energy from our food and converts it into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the biochemical form in which our body stores and uses energy.

11. Protects your Heart : Phosphorus in Chana Dal works with B vitamins to maintain normal heart rate. Chana Dal is rich in the B Vitamins Folate and Thiamine.

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