I'm currently reading a South-Indian cookbook which is adamant that you only use split chickpeas in the recipes, but I can only find the unsplit variety. What does it actually mean to split chickpeas and what is the method?

The cookbook gives the following advice.

  1. Split Chickpeas--Chana Dal Similar to Moong dal and Urad dal, chana dal is obtained when Chickpeas are split and the skin removed. This dal is orange in color.

But the chickpeas I can get have no indication of being split.

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  • 4
    Could you post a quote? I assume the recipe expects you to obtain split dried chickpeas and then soak them. I've got an Indian/Bangladeshi supermarket near me where I've seen them, but I've never seen them in a typical UK supermarket.
    – Chris H
    Oct 1, 2018 at 8:07
  • @ChrisH Ok I have tried to improve the question.
    – Neil Meyer
    Oct 1, 2018 at 8:53
  • A little related information on pulses and dal here: cooking.stackexchange.com/a/90343/25059 Following the advice of a couple answers already posted, you're likely to have more luck searching for the actual term "chana dal" as this refers to a specific means of preparing chickpeas.
    – logophobe
    Oct 1, 2018 at 15:51

2 Answers 2


Chickpeas are whole legumes commonly known as garbanzo beans. When these beans are split and husked you get split chickpeas or Chana Dal. Not really orange in color, but more like yellowish. Considered a lentil, Chana dal(Split chickpeas) is commonly used in Indian cuisine and usually sold in Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi food stores. Most supermarkets located in areas with asian population often sell this, may also be available online for example here or here.


The recipe calls for chana dal or Split Desi Chickpeas.

Those are the ones you buy dry at every indiand/Asian food shop. They could be rather in section with flour and moong dal rather than with the whole grains like chickpeas or rice.

  • You can split the dry ones in a corn grinder, usually used to make Masa. You'll have to set the gap between plates to nearly the size of your beans, and take it easy. Dry garbanzos are hard enough that they can break your grinder plates if you set the gap too small, or push the beans through too quickly. Once cracked, the skins fall off easily. You can blow them out with air, or use an inclined plane: Even busted beans roll down better than papery sheets. Oct 2, 2018 at 3:41

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