Showing posts with label chickpeas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chickpeas. Show all posts

Jun 25, 2018

Ingredients: Chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,

Chickpeas are the little legume with a lot of names! Variously called garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, or Bengal gram - these versatile beans are a great source of protein and are a staple of diets worldwide.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,

Chickpeas have an important place in world history as one of the very first legumes domesticated as a Neolithic founder crop. They are thought to have originated in ancient Anatolia, Syria, and Iran. The earliest archaeological chickpea remains date back to around 7000 BC. Chickpeas were introduced to the Mediterranean Basin, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent sometime before 2000 BC. The edible legumes were first popular amongst the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, and were eventually were brought to the New World by Spanish explorers. Any staple food that has been around for 9,000 years and traveled worldwide is bound to have a lot of names. Indeed, the humble chickpea is known asl chana dal, chole, cholay, or chhola boot in India alone. In Italy chickpeas are called cece, in English they can also be called Bengal gram, in German Kichererbse, in French pois chiche, in Dutch kikkererwt, in Turkish nohut, and in Arabic hummus. The Spanish word for chickpeas is garbanzo and is commonly used in regions of the United States with a Mexican or Spanish influence.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,
L to R: Larger Kabuli-type chickpeas and darker, smaller Desi-type chickpeas
Chickpeas belong to the family Fabaceae and Cicer arietinum is the only cultivar among the 43 species of the Cicer genus. The two main varieties of chickpeas are the larger round light-colored Kabuli-type commonly found in western countries, and the smaller dark irregularly shaped Desi-type more often used in India and the Middle East. ("Desi" means local in Hindi.) The Kabuli-type chickpeas contain less fiber and cook faster than the Desi-type. Desi-types can be smooth or wrinkled, and retain a firmer texture after cooking. Desi-type chickpeas differ quite widely in coloration and occur in black, green, brown, or even speckled varieties. I'd never seen nor tasted the smaller, darker Desi-type chickpeas before I lived in Nepal. I can definitely understand the South Asian preference for the chewier Desi-type chickpeas as vegetarian diets can be a bit boring as far as texture goes.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,
Desi-type chickpea flower (Cicer arietinum)
Desi-type chickpeas are bushy plants with relatively small leaflets and flowers. They have  purplish anthocyanin pigments in their stems and blue-violet flowers, and are primarily grown in South Asia, Iran, and Ethiopia.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,
Kabuli-type chickpea flower (Cicer arietinum)
Kabuli-type chickpeas have erect growth and white flowers. They are primarily grown in the Mediterranean region, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa. Kabuli means "from Kabul" in Hindi and Urdu, this variety is thought to have come from Kabul, Afghanistan when introduced to India in the 18th century.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,

The plant quickly grows to 8–20 inches (20–50 cm) high and has small, feathery leaves on either side of the stem. It has a deep taproot, going down to 6 feet or 2 meters, and many lateral secondary roots extending into the upper layers of the soil. Chickpeas are a cool-season legume that can withstand hot temperatures during fruiting and ripening. The plant prefers well-aerated sandy to sandy loam soils and black cotton soils with a pH ranging from 5 to 7, or even higher. Soils containing high salt or clay are detrimental to the plant. Chickpeas are well adapted to tropical climates with moderate temperatures. They can be successfully cultivated under irrigation in the cool, dry seasons of many tropical countries. The legume is tolerant of drought but does not withstand high heat and humidity. Rainstorms during flowering, such as in the Monsoon season, may harm the resulting crop.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,

Chickpeas are a type of pulse, with one seedpod containing two or three peas. Pods are harvested 90-120 days or 130-180 days from sowing, generally when they turn yellow. The harvested plants are dried on the ground and the seeds are separated from the chaff by threshing and winnowing. Chickpeas are green in color when freshly picked and then dry to cream, brown, speckled, or black.


chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,
A chickpea field in Israel
As with most ancient cultivars, chickpeas are a multi-use plant. The by-products of chickpea cultivation and processing are used for animal feed such as the bran (known as chuni in India), and other crop residuals such as straw and hay. The straw and dried roots of chickpea can be also used as fuel for cooking. Chickpea starch is suitable for textile sizing and in the manufacture of plywood. The leaves are also edible, yield an indigo-like dye, and have uses in traditional medicine. The chickpea is a nitrogen-fixing legume often used to restore soil fertility before cereal or oilseed crops. It can be used as disease cycle breaker and helps to reduce pesticide and herbicide usage.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,
Fresh green chickpeas for sale
The main chickpea producers of the world are India, Australia, Pakistan, Turkey, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Iran, the United States, and Canada. In 2016, world production of chickpeas was 12.1 million tonnes, led by India with 64% of the global total. Chickpeas are a major crop in the Terai lowlands of Nepal, either by themselves or as an intercrop with maize or rice. Chickpeas are the primary protein source for nearly 2 million Nepalis residing in this southernmost region.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,

A one cup serving of boiled chickpeas has 270 calories, 45 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber. That same one cup serving also meets 70 percent of the daily recommended intake for folate for an adult and 26 percent of the daily intake of iron. Chickpeas are also a good source of a number of other minerals including manganese, magnesium, zinc, and copper, as well other B-vitamins, including thiamine and vitamin B-6. Nutrition-wise, cooked and canned chickpeas are about the same. Unfortunately, the sodium content of canned chickpeas can be 100 times that of cooked. Draining and rinsing tinned chickpeas can get rid of about half the sodium, but you’re also draining and rinsing away some of the nutrition. When buying canned chickpeas get the no-salt-added or low sodium varieties. Keep and use the tinned chickpea juice as a vegan egg substitute called aquafaba in your baking and confection making!

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,
Clockwise from the bottom left: Egyptian hummus with olive oil, Gujarati Dhokla, Guatemalan Garbanzos en Dulce (chickpeas in sweet syrup),  & Farinata di Ceci, a traditional Italian crepe-like chickpea snack food.
There are so many goodies you can make with chickpeas! Amazing dishes both sweet and savory are made from chickpeas worldwide. The Middle-Eastern dip called hummus is probably the most familiar chickpea dish for most Westerners. The Gujuratis make a delicious savory snack out of steamed chickpea flour called dhokla. In Latin American countries a dessert is made of chickpeas simmered in a heavy sweet syrup spiced with cinnamon called Garbanzoes de Dulce.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,

My favorite way to eat chickpeas is the famed Punjabi dish called Chole Bhatura. It's a combination of chickpeas simmered in a spicy sauce served with bhatura, a fluffy fried bread made of wheat flour. This is a typical breakfast or street food served in Punjab and around Delhi accompanied by a lassi. Some of my favorite cholr recipes are Sindhi-Style Chole, Chikar Chole, and Chole Masala.


chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,

Flour made from ground chickpeas is called besan or gram flour in South Asia. Besan can be made from either raw or roasted chickpeas. The roasted variety is more flavorful, while the raw variety has a slightly bitter taste. Besan is gluten-free and has more protein than wheat flour. It can be used like wheat flour to thicken gravies or stews but beware that it expands when cooked and has a bit of a nutty flavor. I'd advise storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator as it has a tendency to go off in warm weather.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,
From the bottom left going clockwise: Rajasthani Mathri, Besan Laddoos, Sev, Besan Barfi.
Besan is used in a wide variety of Indian sweets and dishes of various textures and tastes. Some examples are: Sev (tiny crispy noodles), boondi (tiny sweet fritters), pakora (vegatable fritters), barfi (a fudge-like sweet), mathri (a fried pastry), laddoos (ball shaped sweets), papadums (thin crispy crackers), and the classic Indian sweet soan papdi (a flaky crispy sweet).

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,
Fried and fresh to hpu 
The Burmese make a sort of polenta out of chickpea flour which is called to hpu. Although to hpu translates to tofu it is made much like Italian polenta. Chickpea flour is mixed with water, turmeric, and a little salt and then heated, while stirring constantly, until it reaches a creamy consistency. The mixture is then transferred into a tray and allowed to set. The to hpu is not fermented like soy tofu. It is then cut into cubes or thin slices and may be eaten fresh in a salad or deep fried. It may also be sliced thinly and dried to make crackers that are crispy when deep fried. I've tasted to hpu and it is delicious! I wish we could get it here in Nepal.


Be forwarned: often you will see yellow split peas mislabeled as "chana dal." Desi-type chickpeas or kala chana are also sold hulled and split and are correctly labelled "chana dal." It is really hard to tell the difference between split yellow peas and split, hulled black or brown chickpeas without a magnifying glass. They are about the same size, yellow, and dimpled on one side. Desi-type chickpeas are slightly oblong and flattened compared to globular yellow peas though. Yellow split peas should be correctly labelled "mattar dal" as mattar means peas. Luckily, the cooking times for split yellow peas and split, hulled Desi-type chickpeas is about the same so they can be used interchangeably. The flavor is slightly different with chickpeas having more of a nutty flavor than yellow peas.

chickpeas, garbanzo beans, chana dal, cece, chole, cholay, Kabuli chana, Desi chana, Bengal gram, ingredients, all about, information,
Chole Masala (curried chickpeas recipe)
So what's not to love about chickpeas? Second to the soybean, the chickpea is the next most widely grown and eaten bean in the world. It’s no wonder considering their versatility, palatable flavor, eco-friendly cultivation, and numerous nutritional benefits!

What's your favorite way to enjoy chickpeas?
(Tell me in the comments)
Calmly currying on,
Bibi

Dec 12, 2016

Sindhi Style Chole (Curried Chickpeas)

Sindh is a province in Pakistan and chole means chickpeas or garbanzo beans. In this hearty vegan recipe chickpeas are cooked until tender in a richly spiced and savory gravy. Spicy but not hot- this dish gets it’s flavors from aromatic spices such as cumin, cloves, black pepper, and brown cardamoms. Serve over toasted bread in the traditional Sindhi manner or with rice and rotis for a delicious vegetarian meal.


This is my absolute favorite recipe for chickpeas. I’ve seen this recipe all over the internet unattributed for many years now. It’s a bit different than other chickpea curry recipes in that the whole spices (brown cardamoms, cloves, cassia leaves, black peppercorns, and cumin seeds) are boiled with the chickpeas rather than fried with the gravy. This allows the mellowed warmth of the spices permeate the dish. If you love spices but not the fiery heat of chilis then this is the dish for you. On a recent trip through Delhi I picked up Camellia Panjabi’s much lauded cookbook, 50 Greatest Curries of India. Lo and behold, this recipe was right in the middle of the book!


This cookbook definitely deserves all the praise it’s gotten since it’s original printing in 2006. Please note the glowing endorsement of one of my favorite television chefs, Nigel Slater, in the lower right corner of the cover. As Mr Slater states, this book will delight, educate and inspire anyone who longs to make authentic curries at home. It is certainly a great book for beginners with brief and concise overviews on common Indian cooking techniques and ingredients utilized. The recipes could have been a bit better written (sometimes things on the ingredient list get left out in the instructions), but overall it’s a wonderful collection of authentic recipes from families all over India. (And one from Pakistan?) So with a bit of Bibi-fication here’s my adaptation of Camellia Panjabi’s recipe for "Chickpea Curry from Sindh." According to Ms Panjabi the Sindhi eat this dish over slices of bread for a delightful twist on classic ‘beans on toast.’ Sounds great to me! Like the Punjabis the Sindhi love a bit of a sour tang in their chickpeas from mango powder/amchur. The Kashmiri contingency in my household does not care for the sweetness of mango powder/amchur so I’ve substituted a zingy pinch of dry ginger powder/saunth for it with excellent results. So, whether you enjoy these chickpeas over toast, alone as a soup, or with steamed rice and rotis - you’re in for a delicious vegetarian treat!

Ingredients:
1&1/2 C dried chickpeas/chole, rinsed and soaked for at least 3 hours, (or two 14oz cans of chickpeas, drained)
1 onion, diced finely
3 black cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised in mortar and pestle
7 cloves/laung
2 cassia leaves/tej patta (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon/dalchini)
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
12 black peppercorns/kali mirch, coarsely ground
1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing (optiional)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 tsp salt
4 C water
For masala gravy:
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
2 onions, diced finely
1 TBS garlic/lahsun
1 TBS ginger/adrak
1 C tomatoes, diced finely or pureed
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander/dhania
1/2 tsp dry ginger/saunth or mango powder 

Here's what to do:
1) In a pressure cooker or a large heavy bottomed stock pot combine soaked or canned chickpeas with 4 cups water, one diced onion, black cardamoms, cloves, cassia leaves or ground cinnamon, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, hing (if using), turmeric, and one teaspoonful salt. If using soaked chickpeas steam in a pressure cooker for 5-6 whistles or bring mixture to a boil in stock pot for 50 minutes. If using canned chickpeas bring mixture to a simmer in stock pot for 20 minutes or if using pressure cooker steam for 3 whistles. 

2) While chickpeas are cooking we'll make the masala gravy.  Heat 3 tablespoons cooking oil or ghee in a kadhai or medium skillet. Fry 2 diced onions until just beginning to brown in pan.

 

3) Add ginger and garlic pastes to fried onions and cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add diced or pureed tomatoes, garam masala, and ground coriander to fried onion mixture. Fry for 5 minutes or until the oil separates from the mixture. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 C water, stir well and reduce heat. Set masala gravy aside until chickpeas are done.


4) When chickpeas have been cooked until just tender add the fried masala gravy and dry ginger/saunth or mango powder/amchur to them, stir well, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. While the mixture simmers use a wooden spoon to mash a few of the chickpeas against the side of the pot for a gravy thicker if desired.


5) When liquid has reduced to a thick gravy and chickpeas are completely tender your dish is done. Salt to taste and garnish with chopped cilantro and/or chopped fresh chilis if desired. Serve over toast or with rice, rotis, and a few chutneys for a hearty meal.


Helpful hints:
Canned chickpeas tend to be underdone. The extra simmering as in this recipe renders them soft and deliciously.

Sep 26, 2016

Chikar Chole (Curried Chickpeas)

Chikar Chole Curried Chickpeas chana, chickpeas, gabanzo, beans, lahore, punjabi, easy, recipe, dal, legumes, spicy, curry,

From the city of Lahore comes this classic dish. Chikar means mud and chole means chickpeas. The unique name of this recipe describes the chickpeas submerged in the rich golden gravy like pebbles in mud. Traditionally, this dish is served for breakfast with fried breads like bhatura and puri. But this dish is so hearty it's perfect for an Autumn lunch or simple supper served with rice, any type of roti, or just a loaf of crusty French bread. 


Interestingly, this dish does not get it's yellow color from turmeric as many Desi dishes do. The chickpeas are simmered with aromatic spices until so tender they crumble giving the gravy it's distinctive golden color. This dish packs a lot of spicy flavor but not much heat. A little yogurt, dry ginger, and an optional squeeze of lime/nimbu do give it a bit of a zesty tang though!

Ingredients:
1&1/2 C dried chickpeas/chole (or two 15 ounce cans of chickpeas)
3 TBS cooking oil
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 tsp ajwain seeds/carom
7 black peppercorns/kali mirch, coarsely ground
1 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
3 cloves/laung
3 green cardamoms/elaichi, bruised with mortar and pestle
2 cassia leaves/tej patta
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
Lime/Nimbu wedges and cilantro for garnish
Grind until smooth paste or chop finely for base:
3 onions, chopped roughly
2 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
Grind until smooth paste for masala:
1/2 C tomatoes, chopped
1/4 C yogurt/dahi
1 TBS cumin/jeera, ground
2 tsp coriander/dhania, ground
1 tsp fennel/saunf, ground
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne powder)
1/2 tsp dry ginger/soonth

Here's what to do:
1) Soak chickpeas for at least 2 hours up to overnight in 6 cups water with 1 teaspoonful of salt. If using canned chickpeas skip to step 2. If using pressure cooker add enough water to cover the chickpeas by 2 inches plus 1 tsp salt. Seal pressure cooker and allow to steam for 30 minutes or until chickpeas are tender. If using stockpot on stove add enough water to cover chickpeas by 3 inches and 1 tsp salt, boil until tender adding water as needed.


2) Grind onions, garlic, and ginger to smooth paste or chop finely and mix together. Set aside. Grind all ingredients listed for masala to smooth paste and set aside. In a deep, heavy bottom skillet or kadhai heat oil. Fry onion mixture with 1 tsp salt until just beginning to brown. Stir frequently. This should take about 7-8 minutes. Add cumin seeds, ajwain seeds, black peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, cloves, green cardamoms, cassia bark, and cassia leaves and fry for 2 minutes.


3) Add ground masala mixture to fried onion mixture in pan. Stir well and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 cup water, stir well, and reduce heat.


4) Add fried spice mixture to the cooked chickpeas and stir well. If using canned chickpeas you may need to add 2 to 3 cups of water. Canned chickpeas are a bit underdone for this dish so you may have to simmer them for 5 to 10 minutes longer to get them to the proper tenderness.


5) Allow mixture to simmer uncovered for at least 15 minutes. Mash a few of the chickpeas against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon or you can use an immersion blender for a few seconds in the mixture. The chickpeas need to be cooked until so tender they start to crumble making the sauce thick and "muddy." Salt to taste and serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro and garnished with lime wedges.


May 12, 2016

Chole Masala (Curried Chickpeas)


Chole means chickpeas and masala means spicy. In this easy recipe, chickpeas are simmered until tender in a rich sauce infused with the warmth of earthy cumin, bright coriander, and aromatic garam masala. A dash of green and red chilis with a final splash of lime juice give this dish it's zesty zing. A delicious protein-rich vegetarian dish that's popular all across Northern India. Typically served with flatbreads such as batura, chappattis, or roti for a hearty meal.


I never really liked chickpeas until I had them in India. Not sure if it was just the way they were prepared or just the canned flavor I didn't care for. Anyway, when prepared fresh with a spicy sauce like this I just love them! I find them easier to digest than most other beans and legumes too. I made this recipe up using ingredients you can easily find in most western countries. Other regional versions of this dish use ingredients that may be hard to find in the West - anardana, amchur, or other souring agents and sometimes even black tea to give rich color and depth of flavor to this dish. I prefer to use limes/nimbu for the sweet and sour tang and caramelize the onions before adding them for complexity in taste. The resulting dish is just as vibrant and authentic in flavor as you'll find in any Desi kitchen!

Ingredients:
1&1/2 C dried chickpeas/chole (or two 15 ounce cans of chickpeas)
3 TBS cooking oil
1 C onion, diced finely
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely (optional, omit for less heat)
1/2 C tomato, diced finely
1 cassia leaf/tej patta
1 TBS coriander/dhania, ground
1 TBS cumin/jeeera, ground
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp cayenne plus 1/2 tsp paprika)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi (optional)
1 TBS lime/nimbu juice
extra limes/nimbu to serve with

Here's what to do:
1) Soak chickpeas for at least 2 hours up to overnight in water with 1 tsp salt. If using canned chickpeas skip to step 3.


2) If using pressure cooker add enough water to cover the chickpeas by 2 inches plus 1 tsp salt. Seal pressure cooker and allow to steam for 30 minutes or until chickpeas are tender. If using stockpot on stove add enough water to cover chickpeas by 3 inches and 1 tsp salt, boil until tender adding water as needed.


3) In a deep, heavy bottom skillet or kadhai heat oil and fry onions with 1 tsp salt until just beginning to brown. This should take about 8-9 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and green chilis, fry for 2 minutes more.


4) Stir all spice powders, cassia leaf/tej patta, cloves, green cardamoms, and diced tomatoes into fried onion mixture. Fry for about 5 minutes stirring often. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 cup water, stir well and reduce heat.


5) Drain excess liquid off of cooked chickpeas so that they are covered in only about a half inch of liquid. Add fried spice mixture to the cooked chickpeas and stir well. Crumble dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi into mixture and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer uncovered for at least 15 minutes or until dish is of desired consistency. For thicker sauce mash a few of the chickpeas against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. If mixture begins to scorch or stick decrease heat and add 1/4 C water. Salt to taste and stir in limes/nimbu juice.



Feb 8, 2016

Ingredient of the Week: What's The Deal With Dal?

Dal is any type of split or hulled lentil, pea, or beanThe word "dal" derives from the Sanskrit root "dhal" meaning "to split." It is a staple food across South Asia and most often cooked into a variety of regional soups and stews. Dal is usually served with rice and wheat flatbreads such as roti or chapatti. In combination with rice and or wheat, dal provides the essential amino acids to form a complete protein. "Dal Bhat" (literally translated from Hindi, Urdu and Nepali means "dal and rice") is a daily meal for most people in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. Dal is a healthy and affordable source of vegetarian protein as well as a good source of B vitamins, iron and zinc.


The famous dishes of the Subcontinent made with dal are many and varied- There's sambar, vada, ven pongal, and pappu in South India. Oriya and bori dried dumplings in East India. Dhansak, dal makhani, and dal paratha in North India. Mussyang is a popular Nepali dish made from several dals of different colors. Even sweets such as burfi and laddoos are made of certain dals.


The most common way to prepare dal- Simply boil it with a pinch of turmeric and perhaps some onion, garlic, asafoetida/hing, tomatoes, tamarind, or even green mango depending on regional and individual tastes. After the dal is cooked a fried garnish called a "tadka/tarka" or "chaunk" is often added. The chaunk or tadka/tarka is usually raw spices along with garlic, ginger and or onion which are tempered by frying and then poured over the dal. (In case you are interested "chaunk" is pronounced "tsonk" with heavy aspiration on the "ts.")

Common varieties of dal-


Masoor dal - hulled red lentils

Mmm...these are my favorite!
They cook down to a velvety soup.


Mattar dal - split yellow peas

Yep, they're split peas!


Urad dal- black or green mung beans, hulled or split

Split unhulled "urad dal" or mung beans
Hulled "urad dal"


Toor, toovar, or arhar dal- split pigeon peas

Sort of like split peas but with more of a nutty flavor.

Rajma- any sort of red bean from kidney beans to pinto beans

Kidney beans are "rajma"
Pinto beans are "rajma" too


Chana or Chole- Varieties of chickpeas from "kala chana" or "chhola boot" to "Kabuli chana." Chana dal can also be ground to a fine flour called "besan." Besan or gram flour is used in many things from sweets like laddoos and barfi to pakora batters. These South Asian varieties of chickpeas or gabanzo beans are a bit smaller than those seen most often in western countries. Very similar in flavor and texture though.

Dark colored "kala chana"  or "chhola boot"
Light colored "Kabuli chana"or chole
This is ground chickpea flour, also called "besan," "baeshun," or "gram flour." Besan is great for thickening soups & gravies, making crispy pakoras, laddoos, barfi, bhajis, frittters, noodles called "sev," chela, puda, you can even make cookies with it. It's gluten free and has 20 grams of protein per cup.


And that concludes my dissertation on dal for today!

Keep calm and curry on.

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