I have an Indian grocery shop just next to my Apartment, where I get most of my Indian vegetables and grains from. The owner and the people who work there have become my friends, and we discuss the topics like “which vegetables are fresh today” and “ when will the new stock come in” each time I visit the shop. Last weekend, when I handed over a 2kg pack of Chana Daal (Split Bengal gram) for the payment, the lady behind the Counter asked me (very curiously!), what would I do with this amount of Chana Daal and what else could I use Chana Daal into except making Upma, Sabudana Khichdi etc. and for Tempering use? I was quite surprised with her question, more so with the genuineness of her tone. She really didn’t know what to do with it !! And though I did try to explain her that I use Chana Dal in making 10-12 different types of Curries, she wasn’t convinced enough. So then I gave her my Blog’s URL and promised to post a few recipes with Chana Daal for her. 😀 😀
Her question did leave me startled for some time though. I had never thought that there might be people ( Read: Indians specially ) who would have never used such popular pulse in anything else apart from their seasoning. Ignorance again, you see !! I mean my ignorance, and assumptions based on my own life. Anyway, so I have decided to post some more lentil recipes at her request so that she ( and some other friends of mine too ) could get ideas to include these grains in their diet.
Split Bengal gram is a highly nutritious lentil and I personally insist on including it in your diet. It is basically baby chickpeas that have 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 Daal 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 powdered into chickpea flour (Besan), another Gluten free flour that is widely used in almost every province of India. And if you roast Chana Daal properly and then grind it, its gives you another nutritionally dense flour known as Sattu. Get more information about Sattu here.
Some of the benefits of Chana Dal –
- Chana dal is high in fiber and help to lower cholesterol.
- Apart from having a great taste, it also has a very low glycemic index, which is important for those with diabetes. Chana dal can be a good food for people with diabetes because it has a low glycemic index.
- Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate, calcium and protein
- Chickpeas are low in fat and most of it is polyunsaturated.
This recipe of today – Chana daal cooked with bottle guard, could easily be termed as one of the healthiest examples of Indian Lentil curry. We are all aware of the benefits of bottle Guard. It’s a light on the stomach, good for diabetes and full of minerals vegetable. Combining these two super foods make an excellent protein-packed food. I love eating this Lentil curry on its own, without any sort of bread or rice accomplishment. But in general, it tastes best with hot and fresh Naan or home-made Phulkas. It is traditionally made a bit heavy on the spices since otherwise, it would taste bland. But sometimes if I am cooking only for myself and not family, I prefer to keep spices a level down. The recipe below has a moderate level of spices used.
How to cook Chana Daal : – Chana Daal is a heavy legume and needs soaking to enhance its digestive properties. Rinse Chana Dal thoroughly and then soak for 30-40 minutes in warm water. If you wiggle it with hands after this soaking time, it will release some more starch which is good to pour away. If it comes clean, congrats ! you have got an excellent quality Chana Daal in your hands J J
Some more recipes that I used Chana Daal in are-
- Chana Daal with Spinach
- Chana Dal Vadas ( Fritters) in Buttermilk gravy
- Chana Daal Vada Curry – Chettinad Style
- Sattu Ka Paratha – Roasted Chana Daal flour stuffed Indian flatbread
- Litti Chokha – Sattu stuffed baked Whole wheat patties
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1-1½ hour
Serves: 2-4 people
Cuisine: North Indian, Punjabi
Spice Level: A bit Hot, depending on your taste
Recipe Level: Moderate
Shelf Life: 10-12 hours at room temperature, up to 2 days in Fridge
Serving Suggestion: Peas Pulav/Pilaf, Naan, Chapathis with some chilled Raita / Yoghurt dip aside
Nutritional Facts: – High in Proteins, Calcium, Vitamin A and other vital minerals.
What you need?
- 1 cup Chana Daal – rinsed thoroughly
- 1 medium sized bottle guard – peeled and diced into small cubes
- 1 tsp turmeric powder ( Haldi )
- 1 tsp Dry Mango Powder (Amchoor/Khataayi)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 large onion, chopped small
- 4-5 cloves of Garlic – crushed/ minced/chopped small
- 1-inch piece Ginger, julienned small
- 2 green chilies – chopped
- 2 medium sized tomatoes – chopped roughly
- 1 bay leaf ( Tej Patta )
- 1 big cardamom (Badi Elaichi)
- A small stick cinnamon (Daalchini)
- 1 tbsp dry fenugreek leaves ( Kasuri Methi )
- 1 tsp cumin seeds ( Jeera )
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Coriander powder 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Red Chili powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 cup fresh coriander leaves ( Cilantro / Dhaniya ) – rinsed and chopped
- 1 tsp oil/ghee
- 2-3 dried red chilies ( sukhi laal mirch )
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
How to make?
- Soak Chana Daal for 1-hour minimum, drain.
- In a pressure cooker, boil Chana Daal with chopped Bottle Guard, 1 tsp Salt, turmeric and dry mango powder with 3 cups of water. Turn off after 1 whistle and open when pressure eases off. Keep aside
- If you are using a pan to boil/cook Chana Daal – Soak Chana Daal for 4-5 hours, and boil in a pan for 40-50 until its cooked but not mushy. Adjust water accordingly.
- Heat oil, and throw in Cumin seeds. When they splutter, add bay leaf, big cardamom, cinnamon stick and fry for another 10-15 seconds.
- Now, add minced garlic and fry till brown. Add onion, green chilies and ginger and sauté for 3-4 minutes till onions get translucent.
- Then add tomato and all spices expect Garam Masala and Dry fenugreek leaves. Cover the pan, and cook everything till the tomatoes get all mushy and the raw smell disappears. This will take around 8-10 minutes. Stir 2-3 times in between to avoid the mixture sticking at the bottom.
- Add this tempering to the cooked Dal and close the lid. Pressure cook again till one whistle and turn off, opening when the pressure eases off. If cooking in a pan- cook again for next 20-25 minutes till Chana Daal gets all cooked properly. The texture should be soft, but not mushy.
- Check seasoning ( salt, chili etc. ) at this point and adjust if required. By default, this daal is made thick so that it can be eaten with Chapathis. You may adjust the water as per your desired consistency.
- Add Garam Masala to the cooked Daal and mix one last time. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves
- For the extra tempering on top, heat oil/ghee in a pan and throw in mustard seeds and dried red chillies into it. Fry for 5-7 seconds and pour on top of the Daal in the serving bowl.
- Enjoy hot and fresh with Rice/Pilaf or Naan/Chapathis and Raita, pickle etc. aside
- This Daal tastes amazing with hot Phulkas/ Roti. Since its thick, it goes very well with a bowl of Raita or yoghurt
- The second tempering is optional and I usually only do it when serving for Guests.
- You may skip any of the whole spices as well, it’s not hard and fast to put everything in. you will still get the best of the taste
For more Indian Lentil curries ( Daal ) recipes, click HERE