Health Benefits Of Kala Chana And 3 Ways To Cook It

In Indian cooking, chana, which refers to a variety of legumes, holds a special place. Whether it's kala chana, chole, or rajma these legumes are an integral part of many traditional Indian dishes. Chana is celebrated for its ability to absorb flavours, making it a versatile ingredient that can be prepared in various ways. From hearty curries and spicy chaats to crispy pakoras and comforting stews, chana takes centre stage, adding depth, texture, and a distinctive taste to countless recipes. Its versatility and nutritional benefits have made chana a cherished ingredient in Indian cuisine for generations, contributing to the rich tapestry of flavours that define the culinary heritage of the country.

When it comes to exploring the vibrant and diverse world of desi cuisine, one ingredient that stands out for its nutritional value and versatility is kala chana. Also known as black chickpeas or Bengal grams, kala chana is not only a staple in Indian households but also a powerhouse of health benefits.

Health Benefits of Kala Chana

Rich in Protein and Fibre

Kala chana is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it a fantastic choice for vegetarians and vegans. Just one cup of cooked kala chana provides a substantial amount of protein, contributing to muscle growth and repair. Additionally, its high fibre content aids in digestion promotes satiety and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Packed with Essential Nutrients

This legume is a nutritional powerhouse, offering a wide array of essential nutrients. It is an excellent source of folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Folate is crucial for cell growth and development, while iron supports healthy blood production. Magnesium and potassium play vital roles in maintaining proper muscle and nerve function.

Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Kala chana has a low glycemic index, which means it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slower rate, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. This property makes it a beneficial ingredient for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to manage their blood sugar levels effectively

Now that we understand the remarkable health benefits of kala chana, let's explore three mouthwatering recipes that highlight its versatility:

1. Curry:

This classic Indian dish showcases the rich flavours of kala chana. Begin by soaking the chickpeas overnight to soften them. In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds, chopped onions, ginger, and garlic. Sauté until the onions turn golden brown. Then, add tomatoes, turmeric, coriander powder, and chilli powder. Stir well before adding the soaked and drained kala chana. Add water, cover the pan, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender and the curry has thickened. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rice or chapati for a satisfying meal.

2. Chana Salad:

For a refreshing and nutritious twist, prepare a vibrant kala chana salad. Start by boiling the soaked chickpeas until they are tender but firm. Drain and let them cool. In a mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas with finely chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss gently and garnish with fresh mint leaves. This colourful salad makes for a delightful appetiser or a light and healthy lunch option.

3. Chana Chaat:

Chaat is a popular Indian street food known for its tantalising flavours. To prepare kala chana chaat, cook the soaked chickpeas until they are soft yet retain their shape. In a mixing bowl, add the cooked chickpeas, diced boiled potatoes, finely chopped onions, and tomatoes. Season with chaat masala, roasted cumin powder, black salt, and a squeeze of lime juice. Toss well and garnish with sev, fresh coriander leaves, and a drizzle of tangy tamarind chutney. This chaat offers a burst of flavours and textures that will leave your taste buds craving for more.