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Ingredient of the week: Chana dal


The English name for chana dal is split Bengal gram lentil, a legume. They come in three variants, desi chana: dark brown, split chana: yellow and flat and kabuli chana: light beige and large.

A staple in India, chana dal has found its way onto Kenyan tables. It is loaded with protein, calcium, folate, magnesium, Vitamin B and fibre. It is low in calories but filling. However, the high fibre content in dal can cause bloating.

Simple recipe:

Heat oil in a cooking pot, add cumin seeds, cook until they splinter. Add garlic, cook until golden brown, add chopped onion. Sauté then add chopped tomatoes, fry. Add ginger and green chillis. Mix then add chilli, garam masala, turmeric, coriander and mango powder. Cook for 5 minutes. Add fennel leaves, cook for two minutes. Add pre-boiled chana dal combine then add stock or water. Simmer for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Serve when cooked.

Chana dal is sold pre-packed in supermarkets and loose in shops that sell cereals and grains.

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