Chana dal is a type of chickpea that is rich in protein, fat, calcium, iron and B vitamins. It is one of the most healthful of all foods for those pursuing a low glycemic approach to weight loss and/or health management.
Chana dal has been a popular staple of Mediterranean cultures since ancient times.
This humble legume has the distinction of having the lowest glycemic index of all carbohydrate-rich foods yet tested.
Along with its very low glycemic index, these added benefits make this versatile food an ideal source of carbohydrates for those following a low-glycemic diet.
One-half cup of cooked chana dal provides about 20 g of tasty, high-quality carbohydrate with a glycemic load below 3 – less than half that of even such low GI staples as black beans.
Chana dal beans do not require soaking as do common beans (although as with all beans they should be very thoroughly rinsed prior to cooking).
Simply place a desired volume of the rinsed beans in an appropriate sized pan, add three times the volume of water (and a tablespoon of olive oil if desired), cover and bring to a hard boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or to a suitable tenderness.
The beans have a mild flavor, and can be spiced to taste in a variety of ways. It’s best to stir in seasonings after beans are fully cooked. Many excellent recipes for chana dal can be found through a simple web search.
Chana dal is readily available today in many countries. In the U.S., an excellent source (available online, in many natural food stores, and some supermarkets) is Bob’s Red Mill.