The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is an edible legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. The plant grows to between 20 and 50 cm high and has small feathery leaves on either side of the stem. Chickpeas are a type of pulse, with one seedpod containing two or three peas. Chickpeas are grown in the Mediterranean, western Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Australia.
Domesticated chickpeas have been found in the aceramic levels of Jericho along with Cayönü in Turkey and in Neolithic pottery at Hacilar, Turkey. They are found in the late Neolithic (about 3500 BCE) at Thessaly, Kastanas, Lerna and Dimini.
Mature chickpeas can be cooked and eaten cold in salads, cooked in stews, ground into a flour called gram flour, ground and shaped in balls and fried as falafel, fermented to make an alcoholic drink ,stirred into a batter and baked to make farinata, cooked and ground into a paste called hummus or roasted, spiced and eaten as a snack (such as leblebi ).
Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated.
There are two main kinds of chickpea:
Chana dal is produced by removing the outer layer of the black Desi chickpea and then splitting the kernel. Although machines can do this, it can be done at home by soaking the whole chickpeas and removing the loose skins by placing the chickpeas between two towels and rubbing with a rolling pin. The dal is made of this split and skinned chickpea.
Other names :