What is the difference between Split Yellow Pea, Split Chickpea and Split Pigeon Pea?

Split pigeon peas or Toor Dal (Cajanus cajan) split-desi chickpea or Chana Dal (Cicer arietinum) and split yellow peas or Matar Dal (Pisum sativum) are commonly referred to as split yellow peas, although they belong to different species in the bean family leguminosae (Fabaceae).

Split Pigeon Pea (Cajanus Cajan) aka Toor Dal

Common Names: Toor dal,Togari bele, Congo pea, Angola Pea, Red gram, No-eye peatropical green pea, Gungo pea, Puerto Rico Pea; Pois cajanor or pois d’Angole (French)

Here is a photo of split and whole pigeon pea. The split pigeon peas are always yellow in colour and may be easily confused with split chickpeas (Chana Dal) or split yellow pea (Matar dal, Field Pea).

Pigeon pea is mainly grown for its dried mature seeds which can be sold whole or split.The whole pigeon pea seeds are round to ellipsoid to squarish in shape, 4-9 x 3-8 x 3-6mm in size and can be white, cream, brown, purplish to almost black in colour and plain or mottled.

Nutrition: Pigeon peas contain high levels of protein and the essential amino acids, methionine, lysine, and tryptophan, as well as dietary fibre.

Culinary Use: split pigeon pea is popular in India for making ‘dhal’ or ‘Dal’ and for making a spice blend called ‘Sambhars.’ In Africa, it’s used in sauces and stews. Pigeon peas may also be used instead of soya bean to make tempeh or tofu and the seeds can also be sprouted.

The main producer of pigeon pea is India, where it originated, and has been grown and eaten for thousands of years. Other major producers in Africa are, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It’s also grown in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa and Central America.

Split-Desi Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) aka Chana Dal 

Common Names: Split-Desi Chickpea, Yellow Gram, Chana Dal, Bengal Gram, Kala Chana, Chala boot

Here is a photo of whole and split Desi chickpea. The dark seed coat of the Desi-type of chickpea  is removed and the cotyledon is split to produce Split Yellow Gram or Chana Dahl. 

There are several processing plants in Saskatchewan, Canada, which dehull and split Desi chick peas (North American Grain Corporation)

Split Desi-chickpea resembles the split yellow pea (Pisum sativum, Matar Dal), it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. It’s used to make dal, (daal, dhal) in India but is also popular in Middle Eastern Cuisine.

Split Desi chickpea is also ground into chickpea flour also called Besan or Yellow Gram Flour.

Split Yellow Pea (Pisum sativum) aka Matar Dal

Below is a photo of whole yellow peas and Split yellow Peas with the testa (seed coat) removed. The whole  yellow peas are husked and split in half.

Yellow Split pea, also known as the Field Pea, Soup Pea, dry pea or Matar Dal, belongs to the species Pisum sativum, together with the fresh garden peasSno-Pea and Sugar Snap Pea.

The field pea (Pisum sativum) is a cool-season crop grown for its  mature dried edible seeds, which can be marketed whole or split or ground into flour. The dried whole peas can be yellow or green in colour.

Split yellow peas have a mild, earthy flavour and soft texture. Since the mature seeds are rich in protein they can be cooked as a vegetable or added to soups and stews

Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of yellow and green split field peas.

Both Split Yellow and Split Green Peas are used to make soup. The split green pea is used to make the famous Dutch Pea Soup called Erwtensoep (also called Snert).

Nutrition of Split Yellow Peas

Split yellow peas are high in protein and low in fat. They contain the highest amount of dietary fibre, with 27 grams fibre per 100 gram portion.

100g (3.5oz) split yellow pea has: calories 370; Fat: 0%; Carbohydrate: 67g (Fibre 27g, sugar 3g); Protein: 27g and provides 25% RDA of iron. (Bulk Barn)

Last Updated: August 04, 2018

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

6 thoughts

    1. Ha ha. I cook them all, so I know them. Canada grows a lot of pulses (lentils, beans and peas and is the worlds largest exporter of lentils and peas!
      Virtual Hugs
      Liz

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