Have you heard of chana dal?
When I first got my Trim Healthy Mama book back in August of 2014, I read about chana dal. I was particularly intrigued by how it is supposed to be a very good carb (yes, there really is such a thing!) for people with blood sugar issues. Since I couldn’t find it locally, I kind of put it on the Fancy THM Stuff To Try Some Day list.
Thanks to my affiliate account with Amazon (and most especially to my readers who click on those affiliate links and shop Amazon – thank you!) I had a small commission payment and decided to see if I could find chana dal.
Of course I could! Amazon has just about anything you’re looking for, right? I ordered organic chana dal and only had to wait two days thanks to my Prime membership to get them.
I don’t like to wait for stuff. Not gonna lie. If you don’t like to wait for stuff either, Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. If you’re a big holiday shopper, now is the time to take advantage of a free Prime trial!
Chana dal looks similar to yellow split peas or lentils, but they are actually split chickpeas. They are also called Bengal gram dal or split desi peas. Some disreputable businesses will package yellow split peas as chana dal, so be sure to research carefully to make sure you are getting actual chana dal.
Can I just say this about chana dal…
WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO TRY YOU?
Maybe because I was afraid to try you. Maybe because I couldn’t find you at my local grocery store. I’m so sorry for not making more of an effort sooner to search for you.
Seriously folks, this little legume is just amazing! Just one cup of cooked and seasoned chana dal is super filling AND satisfying (this is an E food, so keep that fat low THMs!). Unlike many E meals, this one doesn’t leave me ravenously hungry in an hour and a half.
That’s because the humble chana dal is a very slow burning carby guy.
It has a glycemic value of…are you sitting down…eight. EIGHT! For a starchy legume? Surely I have mistyped that, right? Nope. It is full of protein and fiber, which helps keep your blood sugar from spiking. If you are diabetic, you need to make friends with chana dal.
Since it is a dry legume, you do need to soak overnight first. You can probably do the “quick soak” method of boiling in water for a few minutes then letting it soak for an hour, but I haven’t tried that. Adding a bit of baking soda to the soaking water helps soften them as well.
Fall is a great season for warm, comforting soups.
Chana dal cooked long, low and slowly makes a wonderfully hearty, dreamy, creamy soup. You can add meat if you want, but with its high protein content, it’s not even necessary. It takes a variety of seasonings well, too…get creative! I like to add a little hot sauce or a spicy Creole Seasoning Blend to spice it up a bit.
Normally I would use a fat free broth to cook this but I didn’t have any on hand and just used water. It still turned out tasty and satisfying! And, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan it’s right up your alley, you could use vegetable broth with very flavorful results. Leave out the yogurt if you are vegan or have a dairy sensitivity.
I had one cup…ONE cup of this soup with about half a cup of homemade-nothing-added applesauce for lunch and was just starting to get hungry at around four hours after eating.
That NEVER happens with most E meals I eat! You don’t want to go that long between meals normally, though. I made sure to have a small snack while waiting for my delicious S supper to get done cooking. And, I never once felt a spike in my blood sugar. I am completely sold on the wonders of chana dal.
To make this soup super creamy, I used an immersion blender. You could use a normal blender as well. If you don’t have an appliance that blends, no worries…just eat it like it is or use a potato masher to mash up the chana dal. I just like it smooth and silky myself.
One note about cooking chana dal…it tends to get very FROTHY. Watch for that and skim off the froth as it appears. It will quit foaming up after a while.
How to Make Easy Chana Dal Soup
- 2 c dry chana dal, soaked overnight and drained
- Water to cover chana dal by about 2 inches, plus more if needed
- 1 tsp baking soda, for soaking
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ small onion, quartered
- 1-3 tsp yellow curry powder, or to taste
- High mineral sea salt to taste
- ¼ tsp or more black pepper
- 2 tsp high quality olive oil
- 2 Tbs fat free Greek yogurt
- Fresh snipped chives (optional)
- Sweet pepper rings (optional)
- The night before you want to make this, sort and rinse your chana dal. Put in a pot with 6 cups of water and 1 tsp of baking soda
- After soaking at least 7 hours, drain the soaking water. Add enough fresh water to cover the chana dal by 2 inches or so
- Add garlic and onion and bring just to a boil
- Simmer on low heat for several hours, until the chana dal is soft and mushy
- Add remaining seasonings, olive oil and yogurt
- Using an immersion blender, carefully blend until smooth
- Check for seasoning and adjust to your taste
- Serve garnished with a dollop of Greek yogurt, fresh chives and peppers if desired
Trim Healthy Mamas, this is an E recipe. Keep any added fat in your meal within plan guidelines.