Chick Pea is a popular legume scientifically called Cicer arietinum and belongs to the Fabaceae family. Chick Peas are calledby several different names including Garbanzo Beans, Kabuli Chana, Ceci Bean, and Bengal Gram. They are grown abundantly in western parts of India, Mexico, Jordan, The United States, Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Algeria, and Sri Lanka. India is the highest producer of Chick Peas in the world followed by Pakistan and Turkey. Chick Pea plants reaches a height of 20-50 cm. Each pod of Chick Pea contain two to three peas. They are classified into two types: Desi Chana and Kabuli Chana. Desi Chana, Bengal Gram or Kala Chana has darker seed, smaller in size with a rough coat. It is commonly grown in the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Iran. Kabuli Chana (assumed to be native of Afghanisthan) has lighter colour, larger in size with a smooth coat. Chick Peas thrive well in subtropical or tropical climate with moderate rainfall. Roasted Chick Peas is mostly consumed as snacks. Raw Chick Peas are made into broths, curries and stews.
What is the History behind Chick Peas?
It is assumed that the Chick Peas have originated before 10000 B.C. and was consumed by the ‘hunter-gatherer societies’. Approximately in 7500 B.C. Chick Peas were cultivated by the natives of Turkey. It was abundantly grown in the ancient city of Jericho. During the Bronze Age, Chick Peas were introduced to the Italian and Greek cuisines. In the 16th century, Spanish and Portuguese explorers carried Chick Peas to the subtropical parts of the world. Later Chick Peas were grown in many parts of Asia and Australia. During the World War I, Germany brewed Chick Peas as a coffee substitute.
What are the different ways to serve Chick Peas?
Green Chick Peas can be eaten directly from the pods or used in cold salads.
Curries made from Chick Peas is served with rice or handmade flatbreads in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and the United Kingdom.
In India, Chick Peas flour called besan is used to make batter for frying a variety of deep-fried snacks. Theflour is used by Burmese to make tofu.
In Philippines, Chick Peas preserved in sugar syrup are served as sweets or consumed with desserts such as halo-halo.
In India, split Chick Peas are used to make a thick and nutritious staple soup called 'Daal'.
Orthodox Jews serve whole Chick Peas at a Shalom Zachar (celebration for birth of baby boys).
Chick Peas is mixed with garlic, tahini, olive oil, salt and lemon juice to make a Mediterranean delicacy called ' Hummus'.
Chick Peas mixed with fava beans are shaped in balls and deep fried as 'falafel'.
Fermented Chick Peas are used to make alcoholic beverage alike sake.
Chick Peas batter is baked to make 'farinata'.
Chick Peas' leaves are often served in green salads.
In Italy, Chick Peas fritter 'panelle', is served as finger food.
In Chile, Chick Peas mixed with milk is fed to the infants suffering from diarrhea.
Chick Peas leaves are used to make a dye alike indigo.
What are the Nutrients in Chick Peas?
Chick Peas are rich in saponins. These potent phytoantioxidants prevent breast cancer, hot flushes in post menopausal women and osteoporosis.
Being rich in molybendum(an essential mineral), Chick Peas eliminate sulfites which can cause severe headaches, anxiety attacks and arrhythmia.
Chick Peas contain significant amount of calcium, responsible for strong teeth and bone. Those with lactose intolerance can safely consume Chick Peas to meet their calcium requirement.
Garbanzos' insoluble fiber keeps the colon cells optimally active and healthy. Dietary fiber prevents colon and abdominal cancer.
Chick Peas are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble Fiber lowers the bad cholesterol and eliminates it out of the body. Insoluble Fiber prevents chronic digestive disorders.
Protein provides energy necessary for metabolic functions.
Being rich in manganese, Garbanzos play pivotal role in energy production and antioxidant defenses.
High iron content is utilized for energy production, nutrient metabolism, hemoglobin synthesis, and transportation of oxygen from the lungs to individual cells. Regular consumption of Chick Peas prevents anemia, hair loss, and fatigue.
Soluble fiber stabilizes blood glucose levels in hypoglycemic or diabetic patients. Dietary fiber controls appetite and aids in weight loss.
Folate decreases amino acid & homocysteine levels, and strengthens the blood vessels. Studies have found Chick Peas decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
What are the Side-effects of Chick Peas?
People suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, or hyperacidity must avoid Chick Peas as they have high levels of oxalic acid.
Over consumption of Chick Peas may cause flatulence problem.