We feel that it is very important–and also find it extremely interesting–to know and understand a little bit about the spices and ingredients that make up the food we eat. It’s all part of the experience!
Click around to explore the commonly used spices and ingredients used in our products.
Besan/Gram (Chickpea) Flour
Gram flour is also known as Besan flour or Chickpea flour as it is made from ground, hulled chickpeas. It has a slightly nutty flavor and earthy aroma. The high-protein content makes it ideal for the large vegetarian population in India. Used widely as a thickener in curries, it also is used to make fritters called pakoras. This is also a popular flour substitute for people who have gluten allergies. Apparently, it is also used in Italian cooking (to make farinata) and in French cooking (to make socca). It is the base of our savory “Spinach & Potato Pakora Mix” and sweet “Besan Almond Shortbread”.
Chana dal (also known as Bengal gram dal) is essentially split chickpeas without their seed coat. It is however, much more specific than that. Chana dal is produced by removing the outer layer of, kala chana (which are small brown chickpeas also known as desi chickpeas within the U.S.) and then splitting the kernel. It is the kala chana, that makes this special as it is known for having one of the lowest glycemic indexes of any food on the glycemic index (which apparently it is an 8), something that is very important to those who are diabetic and something to generally be aware of. However, it looks just like yellow split peas, which are completely different. You can find chana dal to be one of the three beans found in our, “Kali Daal”.
Basmati rice is a variety of long grain rice that is primarily grown through paddy field farming in the Punjab region of India. India is the largest cultivator, consumer and exporter of this rice. Basmati rice is known for its fragrance and delicate, nuanced flavor. Its name actually means "the fragrant one" in Sanskrit, but it can also mean "the soft rice". The grains of basmati rice are longer than most other types of rice. Cooked grains of basmati rice are characteristically fragrant and free flowing rather than sticky, as with most long-grain rice. Basmati rice has a "medium" glycemic index (between 56 and 69), thus making it more suitable for diabetics as compared to other grains and products made from white flour. Basmati rice can be found in our, "Rice Palau" and in our, "Vijay's Masala Chicken & Rice Palau Mix".
Dark Red Kidney Beans
Kidney beans, one on the three beans found in our, "Kali Daal", are named for their visual resemblance in shape and color to a kidney. Red kidney beans are an integral part of the cuisine in Northern India, and when combined with whole grains such as rice, kidney beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein (think, our "Kali Daal" served on top of our, "Rice Palau"). Kidney beans are also an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Kidney beans' high fiber content also prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal. Kidney beans are also an excellent source of folate and magnesium, which are good for your heart and help your energy production and metabolism. Kidney beans are also a good source of the trace mineral, manganese, which is important in energy production and antioxidant defenses.
Whole Urad Dal
(Pronounced: OOH-rahd DAHL)
Urad dal is a bean that is also referred to as “black gram”. It originates in India where it has been cultivated since ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India. It is very nutritious and is also recommended for diabetics. The product sold as “black lentil” is also the same, usually the whole urad bean or urad dal. The product sold as “white lentil” is the same lentil but with the black skin removed. Urad dal is the key ingredient in our, “Kali Daal”.