Week 45: Chana Dal

13 Nov

I found this great blog, Two Blue Lemons, and have been reading it nonstop. Sarah is a health coach and she shares tasty, healthy recipes and good advice for living a healthy life. Recently she posted a recipe for Chana Dal and since I’d never had it and it looked delicious I knew I’d have to give it a try.

According to wikipedia, dal is “a preparation of pulses (dried lentils, peas or beans) which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split.” Chana dal is split chickpeas without the seedcoat and is “produced by removing the outer layer of Kala chana (black chickpeas) and then splitting the kernel.” Chana dal has an amazingly low glycemic index, one of the lowest indexes of any food in fact.  The glycemic index ranks foods according to the impact they have on blood glucose levels. The glycemic index website says that “choosing foods low on the index – the ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels – is the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and is the key to sustainable weight loss.”

Chana dal was easy to find at Whole Foods; it’s located right near the lentils and dried beans. The recipe was super easy – chana dal, coconut milk, an onion, garlic, fresh ginger, and water in the crockpot on high for four hours. I didn’t have fresh ginger, but I had dried. I googled it and basically read that you shouldn’t substitute dry for fresh ginger, but I didn’t feel like going out, so I went ahead and did it anyway.

As the crockpot simmered, the house smelled sweet and wonderful. When it was done we each made a heaping bowl and grabbed a piece of naan.

It was good, but kind of bland. I think that was probably because of the substitution of dried for fresh ginger. Damn! But it certainly was good,  just not super flavorful. I commented on Sarah’s blog post letting her know I tried the dish and asking if the dried vs. fresh ginger affected the taste. Also, I asked whether she’d ever tried other spices in the dish, like tumeric or cumin. She answered letting me know her thoughts:  “I agree that the fresh ginger adds a specific spice that the ground doesn’t. I’ve added a couple pinches of my favorite spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, cinnamon etc.) and that is delicious too – experiment! Another way to add a kick of flavor it to top the dal with chutney. I like spicy mango or a spicy cilantro (both sold at Indian markets among other places).”

So now I know some changes I can make next time that I’m sure will make this a very easy and tasty dish. Thanks Sarah!

One Response to “Week 45: Chana Dal”

  1. Tiny Silver Hammers November 14, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    I added Ketchup.

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