Chana dal, also called baby chickpea is a split and dried lentil processed from chana scientifically known as ‘Cicer arietinum’ belonging to the botanical family ‘Leguminosae’. It is mainly used as a pulse for cooking and then to make certain byproducts like gram flour.
Chana dal is one of the most popular and consumed pulses around the world, especially in India where the same is used mainly to make various dishes like vada, paratha, pancakes, soups, salads and curries.
The origin and early uses of chana dal are unknown. However, it is supposed to have originated somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean regions like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Jordan where the pulse is reported to have been consumed more than 9500 years ago. Today, Chana dal is one of the most consumed pulses across the world.
Chana dal is processed by splitting and removing the outer layer of chana. It is a process which is normally done using machines for large scale production. However, the same is also processed through traditional methods at home using stone grinders. And it is available in the market throughout the year as the same can be stored for up to 12 months.
Chana dal is nutritious and can be easily digested. It contains carbohydrates, proteins, sugar, fats, sodium, potassium, zinc, selenium, magnesium and vitamins C, E and K. It is purported to build muscles, improve heart health and immunity, strengthen teeth and bones, reduce inflammation and lower bad cholesterol levels.
The largest producer of chana dal in the world is India, followed by Myanmar, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and Mexico. India is also the largest exporter of the same, followed by Australia, Myanmar and Mexico, while the top importer is Bangladesh, followed by Pakistan, Turkey and UAE.
In India, the largest producer of chana dal is Madhya Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Some of the major trading markets of chana dal in India:
Madhya Pradesh (Indore, Bhopal, Vidisha)
Maharashtra (Latur, Mumbai, Jalgaon, Akola)
Rajasthan (Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Hanumangarh)
Andhra Pradesh (Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Nellore)
Names of chana dal in different Indian languages:
Hindi Chana dal
Tamil Katalai paruppu
Malayalam Kadala parippu
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