Kala chana is the Hindi name for black chickpeas. In Hindi “Black” refers to the “Kala” and “Chickpeas” refers to the “chana”, hence the name given “Black Chana”. They are similar to the traditional yellow chickpeas or garbanzo beans but are smaller in size and have a rough coat skin in brown or reddish dark color. When cooked, they are slightly nuttier, firmer, and rougher than regular garbanzo beans. They are mostly cultivated in India and its subcontinent, for this reason, it is also known as desi chickpeas or desi chana.
They are frequently consumed for their excellent nutritional profile and contain protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Every 100g of kala chana provides 19g of protein, 10g of fiber, 68g of total carbohydrates, and 6g of total fat. Besides, they are very low in calories and have a very low glycemic index.
They are very beneficial for growing children and people following a plant-based diet. So Indians across the world eat them often as salad, chaat, and curries.
Nutritional Value of Kala Chana (Serving Size – 100 g)
- Calories – 350
- Protein – 19 g
- Total Carbohydrates – 68 g
- Dietary Fiber – 10 g
- Total Fat – 6 g
- Calcium – 103 mg
- Iron – 6 mg
- Potassium – 840 mg
- Vitamin C – 3.4 mg
Nutritional Value of Roasted Kala Chana (Serving Size – 100 g)
- Calories – 440
- Protein – 20 g
- Total Carbohydrates – 64 g
- Dietary Fiber – 16 g
- Total Fat – 12 g
- Calcium – 200 mg
- Iron – 7 mg
- Potassium – 840 mg
Nutritional Value of Sprouted Kala Chana (Serving Size – 100 g)
- Calories – 165
- Protein – 10 g
- Total Carbohydrates – 22 g
- Dietary Fiber – 4 g
- Total Fat – 2.8 g
- Calcium – 76 mg
- Iron – 1.4 mg
- Potassium – 16.5 mg
Benefits of Kala Chana
These are the benefits of Kala Chana for adding to the diet:
Great Alternative for Animal or Meat Protein
Vegetarians often find it difficult to add enough protein to their diet. Kala chana is loaded with protein and fiber that can be easily added to their vegetarian diet. Each serving of Kala chana provides a significant amount of protein that is almost comparable to meat protein.
Eating kala chana provides cardiovascular benefits. They are rich in antioxidants and bioactive compounds such as anthocyanins, and carotenoids which help to prevent oxidative damage and regulate different signaling pathways involved in the development of cardiovascular disease. These are also beneficial in reducing the build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
Aids in Weight Loss
Protein and fibers are known to reduce appetite and increase the sense of fullness. They can make you eat fewer calories automatically. Protein is also effective in increasing metabolism, which means it can help you to burn calories.
Thus, eating Kala chana will help you to reduce your appetite and boost your metabolism, ultimately resulting in weight loss.
Helpful for Women
Black chana are a good source of bioactive compounds called isoflavones which have antioxidant and antiproliferative activity. Isoflavones are components that help to reduce the risk of breast cancer, prevent osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
As black chana are rich in protein and have a low glycemic index, they are useful in managing diabetes. Proteins have a neutral effect on glucose and lipid metabolism, and they preserve muscle and bone mass which are crucial components of people suffering from diabetes. Being low in glycemic index, they help to release glucose slowly in the body resulting in reduced blood sugar levels. This contributes to insulin resistance and thereby can help to prevent or manage diabetes.
Rich in Iron, Calcium and Potassium
Being rich in iron, calcium, and potassium, black chana can prevent anemia, reduce the risk of getting kidney stones, boost energy levels, help regulate fluid balance, and build and maintain strong bones.
Kala Chana Recipes
1. Kala Chana Curry
- 1 cup kala chana
- 2 tbsp oil or ghee
- ½ tbsp cumin (jeera) seeds
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- ¾ finely chopped ginger
- ¼ tbsp turmeric powder
- 1 green chili chopped
- ½ tbsp red chili powder
- 3 cups water
- 1 – 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- ½ tbsp garam masala powder
- Salt to taste
How to Prepare Kala Chana Curry?
- Rinse kala chana a couple of times in water and then soak them in 3 – 4 cups of water overnight or for 8 – 9 hours.
- Drain the water and rinse them well.
- Now, heat the oil in a pressure cooker on a low flame.
- Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
- Add finely chopped onions and sauté them until they turn lightly golden on a medium-low to medium heat.
- Reduce the heat and add finely chopped garlic, green chili, ginger, and sauté for 10 to 12 seconds or until a nice aroma comes out.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes and sauté them on medium-low heat until it turns thick.
- Add turmeric powder, garam masala, and red chili powder, and sauté for a minute on low heat.
- Then add the soaked black chickpeas, water, and salt and mix well.
- Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and cook on medium heat for 10 to 11 minutes or 10 to 12 whistles.
- Take the kala chana curry in a bowl and garnish it with chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve the kala chana curry with steamed rice, and roti.
2. Sprouted Kala Chana Chaat
- 1 cup sprouted kala chana (Boiled)
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1 finely chopped tomato
- 2 finely chopped green chilies
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves
- ½ tsp lemon
- ¼ tsp kala namak
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- 2 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
How to Prepare Sprouted Kala Chana Chaat?
- Take boiled sprouted kala chana in a bowl and add onion, chilies, and tomato and mix well.
- Add salt, kala namak, and chaat masala to the salad and mix thoroughly.
- Squeeze the lemon on top and sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves on the salad and toss well to combine.
- Serve the sprouted kala chana chaat with tea/coffee.