9766-77-35-95 | swayampaak@gmail.com

chana dal vs toor dal

Chana Dal vs Toor Dal | 10 Super Differences Between Them

When it comes to traditional Indian cooking, lentils play a significant role. Chana dal and toor dal are two popular lentil varieties that are widely used in Indian cuisine. They not only provide a rich source of protein and nutrients but also add a distinct flavour to the dishes.

In this article Chana Dal vs Toor Dal, we will explore the differences between chana dal and toor dal, their nutritional value, health benefits, cooking methods, and delicious recipes to try. Any Indian meal is incomplete without Dal.

A typical Indian household consumes legumes/lentils in every meal. So, the debate of Chana Dal vs Toor dal continues with various states and dishes. Dal tadka, Dal Aamti, Rassam, Sambar, Gatte Ki Dal, Dal Dhokli and many recipes predominanlty utilize these two lentils. So, let us understand the Chana Dal vs Toor Dal complementing rivalry.

Chana Dal vs Toor Dal! What’s the difference?

toor dal vs chana dal
chana dal vs toor dal

Chana dal and toor dal are both staples in Indian cuisine, but they have some key differences:

  • Type of Legume:
    • Chana dal: Split chickpeas (comes from the Kabuli chana)
    • Toor dal: Split pigeon peas
  • Appearance:
    • Chana dal: Slightly bigger, thicker, and has a round shape with a lighter yellow or cream colour.
    • Toor dal: Smaller, rounder, and a brighter yellow colour.
  • Cooking Time:
    • Chana dal: Takes longer to cook due to its thickness. Soaking beforehand is recommended.
    • Toor dal: Cooks faster than chana dal and may not require soaking.
  • Texture and Use:
    • Chana dal: Holds its shape well after cooking and has a slightly nutty flavour. Used in dishes like dal tadka, samosas, and Cheela. Can also be ground into besan flour for savoury pancakes or fritters.
    • Toor dal: Breaks down more easily, creating a smoother and creamier texture in dals. Commonly used in sambar, khichdi, and panchmel dal.

In some cases, they can be substituted for each other, but their slight variations in texture and taste might affect the final dish.

Nutritional Comparison: Chana Dal vs Toor Dal

Nutrient Chana Dal Toor Dal
Protein 17.1 g 22.3 g
Fat 5.3 g 1.7 g
Carbs 64.4 g 63.8 g
Fiber 10.3 g 15.0 g
Calories 360 kcal 335 kcal

Chana dal and toor dal, both hailing from the legume family and boasting the title of “dal” in Indian cuisine, are nutritional powerhouses offering a delightful dilemma – which one to choose? Chana dal, the split Bengal gram, throws its weight around with a higher fibre content, aiding digestion and keeping you regular.

Toor dal, the split pigeon pea, counters with a rich army of potassium soldiers, regulating blood pressure and supporting your heart’s health. Both warriors are well-equipped with protein, making them ideal allies for vegetarians and vegans seeking to build muscle. While they share the battlefield of similar nutritional benefits, their specialities lie in slightly different areas.

So, if you need a digestive champion, chana dal might be your hero. But if your heart craves a potassium knight, toor dal is your valiant choice. Ultimately, the best strategy is to enjoy them both, rotating them in your meals to reap the full spectrum of health benefits they offer!

Health Benefits of Chana Dal

  • Rich source of plant-based protein: Chana dal is a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, as well as for making enzymes and hormones.
  • High in fibre: Chana dal is a good source of fiber, which helps to promote digestive health and regularity. Fibre can also help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • May help to control blood sugar levels: Chana dal has a low glycemic index, which means that it is slowly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. This can help to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes.
  • Good for heart health: Chana dal is a good source of potassium and magnesium, which are minerals that are essential for heart health. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, while magnesium helps to relax blood vessels.
  • May aid in weight loss: Chana dal is a low-calorie food that is high in fibre and protein. This can help you feel full for longer and may help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Source of iron: Chana dal is a good source of iron, which is a mineral that is essential for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency can cause anaemia, which can lead to fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
  • Folic acid: Chana dal is a good source of folic acid, an important vitamin for pregnant women. Folic acid can help to prevent birth defects in the brain and spinal cord of the baby.
  • May help to improve mood: Chana dal contains complex carbohydrates, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels and improve mood.
  • Source of antioxidants: Chana dal contains antioxidants, which can help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases.

Health Benefits of Toor Dal

  • Powerhouse of Protein: Compared to chana dal, toor dal boasts a higher content of protein, making it excellent for building and repairing tissues, and supporting enzyme and hormone production. This is especially beneficial for vegetarians and vegans seeking plant-based protein sources.
  • Dietary Fiber Champion: Toor dal excels in dietary fibre content compared to chana dal. This fibre promotes gut health, regulates digestion, and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. It might also contribute to lower cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Blood Sugar Management: Similar to chana dal, toor dal has a low glycemic index. This means it’s digested and absorbed slowly, preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes, making it a good choice for those managing blood sugar levels.
  • Heart Health Hero: Toor dal, like chana dal, is a good source of potassium and magnesium, essential minerals for heart health. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, while magnesium relaxes blood vessels, contributing to overall cardiovascular well-being.
  • Weight Management Aid: Due to its high protein and fibre content, toor dal can promote feelings of satiety, potentially aiding in weight loss or weight management efforts.
  • Bone Health Booster: Toor dal is a good source of phosphorus, a key mineral involved in bone and teeth formation. This can be beneficial for maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Immunity Booster: Toor dal contains essential vitamins and minerals, including folate and iron, which can contribute to a healthy immune system and help your body fight off infections.
  • Antioxidant Advantage: Toor dal contains antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. This can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Potential Benefits for Diabetes and Cholesterol: Studies suggest toor dal might play a role in managing diabetes and cholesterol. The fibre and antioxidant content might contribute to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.

Cooking and Culinary Uses of Chana Dal

Chana dal, also known as split Bengal gram, is a versatile ingredient that shines in both savoury and sweet dishes. Here’s a breakdown of its culinary uses:

Classic Dals:

  • Tadka Dal: The most famous use of chana dal. It’s a simple lentil soup flavoured with spices and often finished with a tempering (tadka) of ghee, cumin seeds, and curry leaves.
  • Regional Variations: Chana dal forms the base for various regional dals across India. Explore Bengali chana dal with mustard seeds tempering, Maharashtrian amti dal with a tangy tamarind base, or Gujarati sheng dal with roasted peanuts for added texture.

Beyond Dals:

  • Vadas: Chana dal paste can be used to make crispy fritters like masala vadas or Medu vadas, popular South Indian breakfast items.
  • Rice Dishes: Chana dal adds protein and texture to rice dishes like khichdi, a comforting lentil and rice porridge, or pulao, a flavorful rice pilaf.
  • Parathas and Pancakes: Ground chana dal, also known as besan flour, is used to make savoury flatbreads like chana dal parathas or savoury pancakes like chilla to be enjoyed with simple homemade pickles or chutneys.
  • Snacks and Street Food: Chana dal finds its way into a variety of snacks like crunchy Chivda (mixture), steamed dhokla, or even sweet and savoury laddoos.

Thickeners and Condiments:

  • Besan: Chana dal flour (besan) acts as a natural thickener in curries and gravies. It’s also used in batters for pakoras (fritters) and onion rings.
  • Chutneys: South Indian cuisine utilizes chana dal in chutneys like Mysore chutney or lentil coconut chutney, adding a unique depth of flavour.
  • Sweet Treats: Believe it or not, chana dal can be used in sweet dishes! Try making besan laddoo, a dense and nutty fudge-like sweet made with besan flour, ghee, and sugar.

Tips for Cooking Chana Dal:

  • Soaking: While not always necessary, soaking chana dal for a few hours reduces cooking time and improves digestibility.
  • Spices: Chana dal pairs well with a variety of spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chilli powder, and garam masala.
  • Flavour Enhancers: Aromatic vegetables like onions, tomatoes, and ginger-garlic paste add depth of flavour to chana dal dishes.
  • Texture Variations: Depending on your preference, you can cook chana dal until it’s soft and creamy or with a slight bite.

With its versatility, nutritional value, and affordability, chana dal is a staple ingredient that can be incorporated into your kitchen repertoire in countless ways. Explore different recipes and discover the culinary magic of this humble lentil!

Cooking and Culinary Uses of Toor Dal

Toor dal is a culinary workhorse in Indian cuisine. Here’s a glimpse into its delicious versatility:

Dals – The Heart of Toor Dal’s Appeal:

  • Sambar: Arguably the most famous toor dal dish. Sambar is a South Indian lentil stew with a unique blend of vegetables, tamarind for tang, and aromatic spices.
  • Dal Tadka: Similar to chana dal, toor dal shines in this comforting lentil soup flavoured with spices and finished with a flavorful tempering (tadka) for an extra punch.
  • Panchmel Dal: A delightful five-lentil soup (panch = five, mel = mix) featuring toor dal alongside other dals like moong dal and urad dal. Each lentil contributes a unique texture and flavour to the dish.
  • Regional Variations: Explore regional specialities like Maharashtrian tur dal with a rich coconut base or Gujarati tuvar nu shaak, a stir-fried version with vegetables.

Beyond Dals – Expanding Toor Dal’s Horizons:

  • Khichdi: This comforting one-pot meal combines toor dal with rice for a protein and fibre-packed dish. Variations can include vegetables, spices, and even seafood.
  • Purans: Toor dal paste sweetened with jaggery or sugar forms the base for delicious puran poli, a flatbread stuffed with this sweet lentil filling.
  • Snacks and Street Food: Toor dal finds its way into various savoury treats. It can be used in savoury pancakes like uttapam, lentil fritters like pakoras, or even lentil samosas.
  • Thickeners: Mashed toor dal can act as a natural thickener in curries and stews, adding body and texture without compromising flavour.

Tips for Cooking Toor Dal:

  • Soaking: While sometimes optional, soaking toor dal for a few hours can reduce cooking time and improve digestibility.
  • Spices: Toor dal pairs well with a variety of spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chilli powder, and garam masala. Explore regional spice blends for unique flavour profiles.
  • Flavour Enhancers: Aromatic vegetables like onions, tomatoes, and ginger-garlic paste add depth of flavour to toor dal dishes. Don’t forget the magic of curry leaves for a touch of citrusy aroma.
  • Texture Variations: Similar to chana dal, you can cook toor dal until it’s creamy or with a slight bite depending on your preference.

With its mild flavour, ability to absorb spices well, and budget-friendly nature, toor dal is a culinary gem waiting to be explored. Incorporate it into your meals and discover the vast culinary canvas it offers!

Popular Recipes Using Chana Dal

  1. Chana Dal Curry: Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, onions, and tomatoes. Cook until the onions turn golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and coriander powder. Mix well and add soaked and boiled chana dal. Cook for a few minutes and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  2. Chana Dal Paratha: Take soaked chana dal and grind it into a coarse paste. Add chopped onions, green chillies, coriander leaves, and spices like cumin powder, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well and use the mixture as a stuffing for parathas. Cook the parathas on a hot griddle until golden brown.
  3. Chana Dal Salad: Boil chana dal until tender and let it cool. In a bowl, combine the cooked dal with chopped cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and fresh coriander leaves. Squeeze some lemon juice, sprinkle salt and pepper, and mix well. Serve as a healthy and nutritious salad.
  4. Puran Poli: Puran Poli is a delightful Maharashtrian sweet flatbread. A soft wheat flour dough encases a rich, flavorful stuffing called puran. This puran is typically made with cooked toor dal (split pigeon peas), jaggery for sweetness, and a touch of cardamom and nutmeg for warmth. The stuffed poli is then cooked on a griddle with ghee, resulting in a satisfying sweet treat enjoyed during festivals, special occasions, or simply as a delicious snack.

Popular Recipes Using Toor Dal

  1. Sambar: Pressure-cook toor dal until soft and set aside. In a separate pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, onions, tomatoes, and vegetables of your choice. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add tamarind pulp, sambar powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well and add the cooked toor dal. Simmer for a few minutes and serve hot with rice or idli.
  2. Dal Tadka: Pressure-cook toor dal until soft and set aside. In a pan, heat ghee or oil and add cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, and green chillies. Cook until the garlic turns golden brown. Add chopped onions and tomatoes and cook until they become soft. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well and add the cooked toor dal. Simmer for a few minutes and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  3. Toor Dal Soup: Boil toor dal until soft and set aside. In a separate pan, heat oil and add chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add vegetable broth, cooked toor dal, bay leaves, thyme, and salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the flavours are well combined. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and blend the soup until smooth. Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil.

Chana Dal vs Toor Dal | Diet Incorporation

Boost your meals with the power duo of chana dal and toor dal! These versatile lentils are bursting with health benefits and are effortless to incorporate into your daily routine. Craving a comforting and nourishing soup?

Chana dal vs toor dal: Anyone simmered with your favourite vegetables creates a protein-packed and fibre-rich masterpiece. In the mood for something bolder? Look no further than flavourful curries. These lentils soak up the aromatic spices beautifully, making them a hearty and delicious centrepiece for your dish.

But the magic of chana dal and toor dal extends far beyond soups and curries. Looking for a lighter option? Toss cooked lentils into a salad for a delightful burst of protein and texture. They can even be a healthy and protein-rich addition to your breakfast routine!

Grind them into flour and whip up pancakes, crepes, or savoury fritters for a unique and satisfying way to start your day. The possibilities are endless! Don’t be afraid to experiment and discover your favourite ways to enjoy these nutritional powerhouses.

Whether you incorporate them into traditional dishes or explore creative culinary adventures, chana dal and toor dal offer a delicious and easy way to add a significant dose of protein, fibre, and essential nutrients to your diet. So go forth, explore, and unlock the culinary potential of these amazing lentils!

Chana Dal Recipes

  • Chana Dal Tadka (recipe already provided)
  • Chana Masala: A flavorful curry made with chana dal, tomatoes, and a blend of spices.
  • Samosas:Crispy fried pastries filled with a spiced potato and chana dal mixture.
  • Aloo Chana Chaat: A tangy and spicy street food dish made with chana dal, potatoes, onions, and chutneys.
  • Besan Cheela: Savory pancakes made with chickpea flour (besan) derived from chana dal.
  • Chana Dal Paratha: Flatbreads stuffed with a spiced chana dal mixture.

Toor Dal Recipes

  • Toor Dal Sambar (recipe already provided)
  • Dal Makhani: Creamy black lentil dish, but toor dal can be a substitute.
  • Panchmel Dal: A five- lentil soup featuring toor dal alongside other lentils.
  • Tur Dal Fry: A dry and stir-fried version of toor dal with vegetables.
  • Toor Dal Khichdi: A comforting one-pot meal combining toor dal with rice and spices.
  • Uttapam: Savory lentil pancakes made with a batter containing toor dal.


Dive into the delightful world of dals! Chana dal and toor dal are not just pantry staples, they’re nutritional champions. These lentil powerhouses are bursting with protein, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and supporting muscle health.

But that’s not all! They’re brimming with fibre, promoting healthy digestion and gut function. And let’s not forget the essential minerals! Iron for energy, potassium for heart health, and folate for cell growth – these lentils have it all.

Beyond the impressive health benefits, chana dal and toor dal bring a symphony of flavour to your plate. Chana dal boasts a slightly nutty taste, perfect for comforting soups and stews. Toor dal, on the other hand, has a more earthy flavour that shines in aromatic curries.

The beauty lies in their versatility. Whip up a hearty lentil soup for a quick and nourishing meal, or simmer them in a flavourful curry for a taste explosion. Feeling adventurous? Toss cooked lentils into salads for a protein boost or grind them into flour for unique pancakes or fritters.

The possibilities are endless! These wonder lentils seamlessly integrate into traditional Indian dishes, but their culinary potential extends far beyond. Explore new flavour combinations, experiment with textures, and discover your favourite ways to enjoy chana dal and toor dal.

Incorporating them into your diet is not only easy but also incredibly rewarding. So, embrace the world of lentils and unlock a treasure trove of taste, nutrition, and endless culinary possibilities!

Latest Posts