Chickpea
Overview
 
The chickpea (also ceci bean, garbanzo bean, chana, sanagalu Indian pea, Bengal gram) is a legume of the family Fabaceae
Fabaceae
The Fabaceae or Leguminosae, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, is a large and economically important family of flowering plants. The group is the third largest land plant family, behind only the Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with 730 genera and over 19,400 species...

, subfamily Faboideae
Faboideae
Faboideae is a subfamily of the flowering plant family Fabaceae or Leguminosae. One acceptable alternative name for the subfamily is Papilionoideae....

. Its seeds are high in protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 and it is one of the earliest cultivated vegetables; 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.
The name "chickpea" traces back through the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

  to , Latin for ‘chickpea’ (from which the Roman cognomen
Cognomen
The cognomen nōmen "name") was the third name of a citizen of Ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. The cognomen started as a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became hereditary. Hereditary cognomina were used to augment the second name in order to identify a particular branch within...

 Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 was taken).
Encyclopedia
The chickpea (also ceci bean, garbanzo bean, chana, sanagalu Indian pea, Bengal gram) is a legume of the family Fabaceae
Fabaceae
The Fabaceae or Leguminosae, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, is a large and economically important family of flowering plants. The group is the third largest land plant family, behind only the Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with 730 genera and over 19,400 species...

, subfamily Faboideae
Faboideae
Faboideae is a subfamily of the flowering plant family Fabaceae or Leguminosae. One acceptable alternative name for the subfamily is Papilionoideae....

. Its seeds are high in protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 and it is one of the earliest cultivated vegetables; 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.

Etymology

The name "chickpea" traces back through the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

  to , Latin for ‘chickpea’ (from which the Roman cognomen
Cognomen
The cognomen nōmen "name") was the third name of a citizen of Ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. The cognomen started as a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became hereditary. Hereditary cognomina were used to augment the second name in order to identify a particular branch within...

 Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 was taken). The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

lists a 1548 citation that reads, "Cicer may be named in English Cich, or ciche pease, after the Frenche tonge." The dictionary cites "Chick-pea" in the mid-18th century; the original word in English taken directly from French was chich, found in print in English in 1388 and became obsolete in the 18th century.

The word came to English as "calavance" in the 17th century, from Old Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 (perhaps influenced by Old Spanish or ), though it came to refer to a variety of other beans (cf. Calavance
Calavance
Calavance may refer to several kinds of edible dry bean or foods made from them:* Hyacinth bean * Chickpea, probably connected etymologically* More generally, any bean...

). The Portuguese (?) has suggested to some that the origin of the word garbanzo is in the Greek . But the Oxford English Dictionary notes that some scholars doubt this; it also mentions a possible origination in the word , from Basque
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

 — a non-Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 tongue — in which it is a compound of , seed + , dry.

History

Domesticated
Neolithic founder crops
The Neolithic founder crops are the eight plant species that were domesticated by early Holocene farming communities in the Fertile Crescent region of southwest Asia, and which formed the basis of systematic agriculture in the Middle East, North Africa, India, Persia and Europe...

 chickpeas have been found in the aceramic levels of Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

 (PPNB
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B is a division of the Neolithic developed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the southern Levant region....

) along with Cayönü
Çayönü
Çayönü is a Neolithic settlement in southern Turkey inhabited around 7200 to 6600 BC. It is located forty kilometres north-west of Diyarbakır, at the foot of the Taurus mountains...

 in Turkey and in Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 pottery at Hacilar, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. They are found in the late Neolithic (about 3500 BCE) at Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

, Kastanas, Lerna
Lerna
In classical Greece, Lerna was a region of springs and a former lake near the east coast of the Peloponnesus, south of Argos. Its site near the village Mili at the Argolic Gulf is most famous as the lair of the Lernaean Hydra, the chthonic many-headed water snake, a creature of great antiquity...

 and Dimini
Dimini
Dimini is a village near the city of Volos, in Thessaly , in Magnesia. It was the seat of the municipality of Aisonia. The name Aisonia dates back to ancient times and it is the westernmost place in the Volos area. The Dimini area contains both a Mycenean settlement and a Neolithic settlement...

. In southern France Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 layers in a cave at L'Abeurador, Aude
Aude
Aude is a department in south-central France named after the river Aude. The local council also calls the department "Cathar Country".Aude is also a frequent feminine French given name in Francophone countries, deriving initially from Aude or Oda, a wife of Bertrand, Duke of Aquitaine, and mother...

 have yielded wild chickpeas carbon dated
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

 to 6790±90 BCE.

By the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, chickpeas were known in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. In classical Greece, they were called and eaten as a staple, a dessert, or consumed raw when young. The Romans knew several varieties such as venus, ram, and punic chickpeas. They were both cooked down into a broth
Broth
Broth is a liquid food preparation, typically consisting of either water or an already flavored stock, in which bones, meat, fish, cereal grains, or vegetables have been simmered. Broth is used as a basis for other edible liquids such as soup, gravy, or sauce. It can be eaten alone or with garnish...

 and roasted as a snack. The Roman gourmet Apicius
Apicius
Apicius is the title of a collection of Roman cookery recipes, usually thought to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century AD and written in a language that is in many ways closer to Vulgar than to Classical Latin....

 gives several recipes for chickpeas. Carbonized chickpeas have been found at the Roman legion fort at Neuss
Neuss
Neuss is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the west bank of the Rhine opposite Düsseldorf. Neuss is the largest city within the Rhein-Kreis Neuss district and owes its prosperity to its location at the crossing of historic and modern trade routes. It is primarily known...

 (Novaesium), Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in layers from the first century CE, along with rice.
Chickpeas are mentioned in Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

's (about 800 CE) as , as grown in each imperial demesne
Manorialism
Manorialism, an essential element of feudal society, was the organizing principle of rural economy that originated in the villa system of the Late Roman Empire, was widely practiced in medieval western and parts of central Europe, and was slowly replaced by the advent of a money-based market...

. Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus, O.P. , also known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, is a Catholic saint. He was a German Dominican friar and a bishop, who achieved fame for his comprehensive knowledge of and advocacy for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion. Those such as James A. Weisheipl...

 mentions red, white and black varieties. Nicholas Culpeper
Nicholas Culpeper
Nicholas Culpeper was an English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer. His published books include The English Physician and the Complete Herbal , which contain a rich store of pharmaceutical and herbal knowledge, and Astrological Judgement of Diseases from the Decumbiture of the Sick ,...

 noted "chick-pease or cicers" are less "windy
Flatulence
Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process of mammals and other animals. The medical term for the mixture of gases is flatus, informally known as a fart, or simply gas...

" than peas and more nourishing. Ancient people also associated chickpeas with Venus
Medical astrology
Medical astrology is an ancient medical system that associates various parts of the body, diseases, and drugs as under the influence of the sun, moon, and planets, along with the twelve astrological signs. Each of the astrological signs is associated with different parts of the human body...

 because they were said to offer medical uses such as increasing sperm and milk, provoking menstruation and urine and helping to treat kidney stone
Kidney stone
A kidney stone, also known as a renal calculus is a solid concretion or crystal aggregation formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine...

s. "White cicers" were thought to be especially strong and helpful.
In 1793, ground-roast chickpeas were noted by a German writer as a coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 substitute in Europe. In the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, they were grown for this use in some areas of Germany. They are still sometimes brewed instead of coffee.

Description

The plant grows to between 20–50 cm (8–20 inches) high and has small feathery leaves on either side of the stem. Chickpeas are a type of pulse
Pulse (legume)
A pulse is an annual leguminous crop yielding from one to twelve seeds of variable size, shape, and color within a pod. Pulses are used for food and animal feed. The term "pulse", as used by the Food and Agricultural Organization , is reserved for crops harvested solely for the dry seed...

, with one seedpod containing two or three peas. It has white flowers with blue, violet or pink veins. Chickpeas need a subtropical or tropical climate with more than 400 millimetres (15.7 in) of annual rain. They can be grown in a temperate climate but yields will be much lower.

Types

There are two main kinds of chickpea:
  • Desi, which has small, darker seeds and a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the Indian subcontinent
    Indian subcontinent
    The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

    , Ethiopia
    Ethiopia
    Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

    , Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

    , and Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

    .
  • Kabuli, which has lighter coloured, larger seeds and a smoother coat, mainly grown in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    , Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

     and Chile
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

    , also introduced during the 18th century to the Indian subcontinent.

The Desi (meaning 'country' or 'local' in Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

) is also known as Bengal gram or kala chana. Kabuli (meaning 'from Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

' in Hindi, since they were thought to have come from Afghanistan when first seen in India) or safed chana is the kind widely grown throughout the Mediterranean. Desi is likely the earliest form since it closely resembles seeds found both on archaeological sites and the wild plant ancestor of domesticated chickpeas (Cicer reticulatum) which only grows in southeast Turkey, where it is believed to have originated. Desi chickpeas have a markedly higher fiber content than Kabulis and hence a very low glycemic index
Glycemic index
The glycemic index, glycaemic index, or GI is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI; carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more...

 which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems. The desi type is used to make Chana Dal, which is a split chickpea with the skin removed.

Cultivation and use

Chickpeas are grown in the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

, western Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

.
Mature chickpeas can be cooked and eaten cold in salad
Salad
Salad is any of a wide variety of dishes, including vegetable salads; salads of pasta, legumes, eggs, or grains; mixed salads incorporating meat, poultry, or seafood; and fruit salads. They may include a mixture of cold and hot, often including raw vegetables or fruits.Green salads include leaf...

s, cooked in stew
Stew
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables , meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used...

s, ground into a flour called gram flour
Gram flour
Gram flour is a cereal flour made from ground chickpeas. It is also known as chickpea flour, garbanzo flour, or besan . Used in many countries, it is a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisines, and, in the form of a paste with water or yoghurt, a popular facial exfoliant in...

 (also known as chickpea flour and besan
Gram flour
Gram flour is a cereal flour made from ground chickpeas. It is also known as chickpea flour, garbanzo flour, or besan . Used in many countries, it is a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisines, and, in the form of a paste with water or yoghurt, a popular facial exfoliant in...

and used primarily in Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. The dishes of India are characterised by the extensive use of various Indian spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit. Indian cuisine is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society...

), ground and shaped in balls and fried as falafel
Falafel
Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans. Falafel is usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces...

, fermented
Fermentation (food)
Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol...

 to make an alcoholic drink similar to sake, stirred into a batter and baked to make farinata
Farinata
Farinata, socca, or cecina is a sort of thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe of chickpea flour originating in Genoa and later a typical food of the Ligurian Sea coast, from Nice to Pisa.-Names:...

, cooked and ground into a paste called hummus
Hummus
Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the...

 or roasted, spiced and eaten as a snack (such as leblebi
Leblebi
Leblebi is a kind of snack made from roasted chickpeas, very common and popular in Turkey. It is sometimes roasted with salt, hot spices or dried cloves. There is also a candy coated variety...

). Some varieties of chickpeas can even be popped and eaten like popcorn. Chick peas and Bengal grams are used to make curries and are one of the most popular vegetarian foods in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 and the UK. On the Indian subcontinent, green chickpeas are called Chana (ચણા) in Gujarati
Gujarati language
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages...

 Harbharaa in Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

, while other varieties are known as Kadale Kaalu in Kannada
Kannada language
Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

, Shanaga (శనగ) in Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

, chana in Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

 and other Indic languages, small brown peas are called Chhola and the whitish bigger variety is called Kabuli Chhola in Bengali
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

 and Konda Kadalai in Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

, where they are a major source of protein in a mostly vegetarian culture. Typically Chana in Hindi and Punjabi might refer to both varieties, as might chhole, but the former is more the green hard small variety while the latter is the large creamy softer one and also the more popular dish served around the region at home and at celebrations.

Many popular dishes in Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. The dishes of India are characterised by the extensive use of various Indian spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit. Indian cuisine is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society...

 are made with chickpea flour, such as Mirchi Bajji and Mirapakaya bajji Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

. In India, as well as in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, unripe chickpeas are often picked out of the pod and eaten as a raw snack and the leaves are eaten as a green vegetable in salads. Chickpea flour is also used to make "Burmese Tofu
Burmese tofu
Burmese tofu is a food of Shan origin and is different from Chinese tofu in that it is not made from soy milk and not set with a coagulant. Shan tofu is produced in a similar fashion to polenta, with its primary ingredient being water and flour ground from yellow split peas and the Burmese version...

" which was first known among the Shan people of Burma
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

. The flour is used as a batter to coat various vegetables and meats before frying, such as with panelle
Panelle
Panelle are Sicilian fritters made from gram flour and other ingredients. They are a popular street food in Palermo and are often eaten between bread or on a roll, like a sandwich....

, a chickpea fritter
Fritter
A fritter is any kind of food coated in batter and deep fried. Although very similar to a doughnut it differs in the fact that it requires some base ingredient beyond the dough it is cooked with.-Anglo-American fritters:...

 from Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. Chickpea flour is also used to make the mediterranean flatbread socca.
In the Philippines, garbanzo beans preserved in syrup are eaten as sweets and in desserts such as halo-halo
Halo-halo
Halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice and evaporated milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served in a tall glass or bowl....

. Ashkenazi Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 traditionally serve whole chickpeas at a Shalom Zachar
Shalom Zachar
A Shalom Zachar A Shalom Zachar A Shalom Zachar (also: Sholom Zochor, Shulem Zucher, , is a gathering which takes place in Ashkenazi Jewish circles on the first Friday night after a baby boy is born...

 celebration for baby boys.

Dried chickpeas need a long cooking time (1–2 hours) but will easily fall apart when cooked longer. If soaked for 12–24 hours before use, cooking time can be shortened by around 30 minutes.

Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum) do not cause lathyrism
Lathyrism
Lathyrism or Neurolathyrism is a neurological disease of humans and domestic animals, caused by eating certain legumes of the genus Lathyrus...

. Similarly named "chickling peas" (Lathyrus sativus
Lathyrus sativus
Lathyrus sativus, is a legume commonly grown for human consumption and livestock feed in Asia and East Africa. It is a particularly important crop in areas that are prone to drought and famine, and is thought of as an 'insurance crop' as it produces reliable yields when all other crops...

) and other plants of the genus Lathyrus
Lathyrus
Lathyrus is a genus of flowering plant species known as sweet peas and vetchlings. Lathyrus is in the legume family Fabaceae and contains approximately 160 species. They are native to temperate areas, with a breakdown of 52 species in Europe, 30 species in North America, 78 in Asia, 24 in...

 contain the toxins associated with lathyrism.

Production

India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 is the world leader in chickpea (Bengal gram) production followed by Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.
Top ten chick peas producers — 11 June 2008
Country Production (Tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s)
Footnote
5,970,000
842,000
523,000
313,000
310,000 F
225,000 F
215,000
190,000 F
165,000 F
85,000 F
World 9,000,000 A
No symbol = official figure, F = FAO estimate, * = Unofficial/Semi-official/mirror data,
C = Calculated figure, A = Aggregate (may include official, semi-official or estimates);

Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Division, faostat.fao.org

Nutrition

Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

, folate and protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

. They are also very high in dietary fiber
Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber, dietary fibre, or sometimes roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:* soluble fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and* insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it...

 and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin
Insulin
Insulin is a hormone central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle....

 sensitivity or diabetes. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated
Polyunsaturated fat
In nutrition, polyunsaturated fat, or polyunsaturated fatty acid, are fatty acids in which more than one carbon–carbon double bond exists within the representative molecule. That is, the molecule has two or more points on its structure capable of supporting hydrogen atoms not currently part of the...

.
Nutrient profile of desi chana (the smaller variety) is different, especially the fibre content which is much higher than the light coloured variety.
One hundred grams of mature boiled chickpeas contains 164 calories, 2.6 grams of fat (of which only 0.27 grams is saturated), 7.6 grams of dietary fiber and 8.9 grams of protein. Chickpeas also provide dietary phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

 (49–53 mg/100 g), with some sources citing the garbanzo's content as about the same as yogurt and close to milk. According to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics chickpea seeds contain on average:
  • 23% protein
  • 64% total carbohydrates (47% starch, 6% soluble sugar)
  • 5% fat
  • 6% crude fiber
  • 2% unknown


There is also a high reported mineral content:
  • phosphorus (340 mg/100 g)
  • magnesium (140 mg/100 g)
  • iron (7 mg/100 g)
  • zinc (3 mg/100 g)


Recent studies have also shown that they can assist in lowering of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK