Chana dal is widely grown lentil in India. It is an important pulse crop of the country. its vegetable or dal, besan (flour), crushed of whole gram, boiled or parched, roasted or cooked, salted, unsalted , or sweatened, both green foliage and grain, are the forms in which it is consumed by the people.
How to select:
Matte and yellow, gram lentils resemble yellow lentils but are slightly bigger and coarser. They are stronger in the taste than most other lentils with a nutty sweet aroma and flavour.
Chana dal are cooked in a variety of ways with onions, spices, tamarind or garlic and are also used for binding kebabs and koftas. They are cooked with jaggery and ground to paste and used as stuffings in Maharashtrian pancakes called “Puranpoli”. In Kerala, a dish called “Chana Dal Payasam” is made during festivals. This consist of chana dal cooked with jaggery, coconut, cashew nuts, raisins and clarified butter (ghee).
How to store:
Chana dal should be stored in a airtight container for about 4 mouths.
Among other things, Chana dal are a good source of zinc, and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and thus are a healthy food source, especially as a source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. They are low in fat, and most of the fat content is monounsaturated.
The pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan, syn. Cajanus indicus) is a member of the family Fabaceae. Other common names are arhar (Bengali), red gram, toovar/toor (Hindi/Gujarati/Marathi/Punjabi), toovaram paruppu ( Tamil),togari (Kannada), Kandi (Telugu), gandul, guandul, Congo pea, Gungo pea, Gunga pea, and no-eye pea.
The cultivation of the pigeon pea goes back at least 3000 years. The centre of origin is most likely Asia, from where it travelled to East Africa and by means of the slave trade to the American continent. Today pigeon peas are widely cultivated in all tropical and semi-tropical regions of both the Old and the New World.
Species: C. cajan
Pigeon pea is an important grain legume crop of rainfed agriculture in the semi-arid tropics. The Indian subcontinent, Eastern Africa and Central America, in that order, are the world’s three main pigeon pea producing regions. Pigeon pea is cultivated in more than 25 tropical and sub-tropical countries, either as a sole crop or intermixed with such cereals as sorghum (Sorchum bicolor), pearl millet (Pennisetium glaucum), or maize (Zea mays), or with legumes, e.g. peanut (Arachis hypogaea). Being a legume, pigeon pea enriches soil through symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
Pigeon peas are both a food crop (dried peas, flour, or green vegetable peas) and a forage/cover crop. The dried peas may be sprouted briefly, then cooked, for a flavor different from the green or dried peas. Sprouting also enhances the digestability of dried pigeon peas via the reduction of indigestible sugars that would otherwise remain in the cooked dried peas.
In India, split pigeon peas (toor dal) are one of the most popular pulses—along with chickpeas (chana), urad and mung. It is also called ‘tuvara parippu’ in Kerala. In south India a popular dish sambhar is made with this. Dal is also made with pigeon peas.
Pigeon peas are nutritionally important, as they contain high levels of protein and the important amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan . In combination with cereals, pigeon peas make a well-balanced human food.
In some places, such as the Dominican Republic and Hawaii, pigeon peas are grown for canning. On the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico, rice and green pigeon peas are together considered the main traditional food, served as a representative Puerto Rican cuisine in many food festivals around the world. For example, it garnered great reviews in The Taste of Chicago 2007, an annual food festival.
The woody stems of pigeon peas are used as firewood, fencing and thatch. In Thailand, pigeon peas are grown as a host for scale insects which produce lac.
Pigeon peas are in some areas an important crop for green manure. They can after incorporation provide up to 40 kg nitrogen per hectare.