Know your Ingredient – Chickpea

This week in Know your Ingredient Series is Chickpea. Chickpea is called by many names. Its called Senagalu in Telugu, Sundal in Tamil. Other names are garbanzo bean, ceci bean, bengal gram, hummus, chana or channa.


* Desi – “with small, dark seeds and a rough coat (prevailing in the Indian Subcontinent, Ethiopia, Mexico, Iran)”
* Kabuli – “with light-coloured, larger seeds and a smoother coat (mainly grown in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, Afghanistan, Chile, and introduced in the 18th century to the Indian Subcontinent)”[1]

The Desi form is also known as Bengal gram or kala chana. The Kabuli form is the kind grown, for example, in the Mediterranean today. The Desi-type closely resembles those seeds found on archaeological sites and the wild ancestor, so it is probably the earlier form. Desi-type chickpeas are said to have a very low glycemic index[2] making them suitable for many people with blood sugar problems.

Mature chickpeas can be cooked and eaten cold in salads, cooked in stews, ground into a flour called gram flour.


Chickpeas are a good source of zinc[5], folate and protein.[6] They are also very high in dietary fiber and thus are a healthy food source, especially as a source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. They are low in fat, and most of the fat content is polyunsaturated.

One hundred grams of mature boiled chickpeas contains 164 calories, 2.6 grams of fat (of which only 0.27 gram is saturated), 7.6 grams of dietary fiber, and 8.9 grams of protein.

Chickpeas are also a significant source of calcium (190 mg/100 g). Some sources quote it as equal to yogurt and close to milk. According to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, on an average, chickpea seed contains:

* 23% protein
* 64% total carbohydrates (of which: * 47% starch * 6% soluble sugar)
* 5% fat
* 6% crude fiber
* 3% ash

They also report high mineral content:

* phosphorus (340 mg/100 g)
* calcium (190 mg/100 g)
* magnesium (140 mg/100g)
* iron (7 mg/100 g)
* zinc (3 mg/100 g)

In addition, chick peas and bengal grams make excellent curries and are one of the most popular vegetarian foods in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and UK.

*Sourced from wikipedia

Other forms this is available

Dried split form called as Bengal Gram
Powdered form called as Gram Flour
Roasted split form called as Dalia or Roasted Gram Dal

In Indian cuisine, this is so widely used. Dried form is used for seasoning. Flour used for making delicious stuffed items. Roasted Dal is used for making chutneys.

Indira has given more information in her blog about the different varieties and the process used for making Dalia.

Soaked Channa makes an excellent gravy dish. Boiled and seasoned Sundal is offered to God on festivals and very famous.

For updated details on Black-eye Pea, visit Know your Ingredient Allasandallu

Other interesting info and facts are welcome on ChickPea.

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  1. Asha, thanks for the comment

    Happy cook, thanks even I knew something about this, I was exposed to new information by researching on this

    Viji, thanks

    Lathaamma, thanks for the information

    Coffee, thanks for the info

    Suganya, thanks for the info

    Cynthia, mine too!

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