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Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, bengal gram, or channa,[1] are pulses used in the cuisines of South Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

All chickpeas are overall rounded in shape, with a cleft at one end and a small point on the other. The two main types of chickpea are kabuli and desi. Kabuli are large, off-white chickpeas, while desi are smaller, darker, and more yellow.[2][3] Desi chickpeas may also be split and skinned to make channa dal.[1][3] When cooked, chickpeas are firmer than other pulses and have a mild flavor.[1][3]

Both main varieties of chickpea are ground to a flour, and the desi variety is referred to as besan.

Selection and storage[edit | edit source]

While fresh chickpeas can be eaten, the majority are available dried or canned.[3] As such, they are very shelf-stable at room temperature and easy to have on hand.[3] Both soaked and cooked chickpeas can be drained and frozen for several months.[3] If the specific variety of chickpea or flour is not specified in your recipe, try to get the specific variety common to the cuisine of the recipe.

Preparation[edit | edit source]

Dried chickpeas must be soaked and cooked before use. The easiest way to do this is by covering them in cold water and letting them rest overnight.[3] After soaking, whole chickpeas can be peeled by pinching and rolling between finger and thumb.[3] Cooking can be done at a regular boil or using a pressure cooker.

Use[edit | edit source]

Kabuli chickpeas are more common in Mediterranean and West Asian cuisines, while desi chickpeas are more common in South Asia. They are the major ingredient in hummus and falafel,[2] and they can also be included in stews, salads, curries, and more. Chickpea flour is used to make various fritters and flatbreads.[2]

Substitution[edit | edit source]

A variety of other pulses can be reasonably substituted for chickpeas, such as fava beans or cannellini beans.[3]

Recipes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b c Gisslen, Wayne (2015-03-12). Essentials of Professional Cooking, 2nd Edition. Wiley Global Education. ISBN 978-1-119-03072-0.
  2. a b c Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  3. a b c d e f g h i "Chickpeas Add a Worldly Influence to Dishes From Simple to Complex". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-03-08.