Chana Dal are made from the native Indian variety desi" type chickpea which is small with a dark coat. The dark coat is removed and the desi chickpea is split to make the Chana Dal. Although this lovely bean looks like a yellow split pea, it is quite different. It has a sweet flavor reminiscent of fresh corn and a texture that does not get readily mushy. When compared to the chickpea or garbanzo, the Chana Dal is split, younger, smaller and sweeter, with a much lower glycemic index. In fact, Chana Dals glycemic index makes them a healthy source of carbohydrates that studies have shown may be beneficial for persons with dietary restrictions such as diabetes. Chana Dal are a good part of a nutritious diet, providing a good source of protein and fiber, they are low in fat, wheat-free, vegan-friendly and easy to digest. The cooked bean is about the size and shape of a corn kernel. With their sweet and nutty flavor, these versatile beans are one of the most popular in India. They date back from 6000 B.C. and have been found buried with Egyptian mummies.
Chana Dal Peas are excellent for thickening soups and stews or to puree and use in place of chickpeas or garbanzo beans for hummus and bean dips. Season with many different herbs including curry, chili peppers, coriander, cumin, garam masala, garlic, ginger, parsley and turmeric.
Carefully sort and rinse lentils thoroughly. Add 1 cup of lentils to 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, skimming any foam from water. Yields 2 cups cooked.