|Left: Bengal variety; right: European variety|
|Cicer arietinum |
- Not to be confused with chickling pea.
EtymologyThe name "chickpea" traces back through the French chiche to Latin cicer (from which the Roman cognomen Cicero was taken). The Oxford English Dictionary 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 was chich, found in print in English in 1388, and taken directly from French.
The word garbanzo came to English as "calavance" in the 17th century, from Old Spanish (perhaps influenced by Old Spanish garroba or algarroba), though it came to refer to a variety of other beans (cf. Calavance). The Portuguese arvançu has suggested to some that the origin of the word garbanzo is in the Greek erebinthos.[b] But the Oxford English Dictionary notes that some scholars doubt this; it also mentions a possible origination in the word garbantzu, from Basque — a non-Indo-European tongue — in which it is a compound of garau, seed + antzu, dry.
HistoryDomesticated chickpeas have been found in the aceramic levels of Jericho (PPNB) 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. In southern France Mesolithic layers in a cave at L'Abeurador, Aude have yielded wild chickpeas carbon dated to 6790±90 BCE.[c]
By the Bronze Age, chickpeas were known in Italy and Greece. In classical Greece, they were called erébinthos 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 and roasted as a snack. The Roman gourmet Apicius gives several recipes for chickpeas. Carbonized chickpeas have been found at the Roman legion fort at Neuss (Novaesium), Germany in layers from the first century CE, along with rice.
Chickpeas are mentioned in Charlemagne's Capitulare de villis (about 800 CE) as cicer italicum, as grown in each imperial demesne. Albertus Magnus mentions red, white and black varieties. Nicholas Culpeper noted "chick-pease or cicers" are less "windy" than peas and more nourishing. Ancient people also associated chickpeas with Venus because they were said to offer medical uses such as increasing sperm and milk, provoking menstruation and urine and helping to treat kidney stones. Wild cicers were thought to be especially strong and helpful.
In 1793, ground-roast chickpeas were noted by a German writer as a coffee substitute in Europe and in the First World War, they were grown for this in some areas of Germany. Chickpeas are still sometimes brewed instead of coffee.[d][e]
DescriptionThe 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. It has white flowers with blue, violet or pink veins. Chickpeas need a subtropical or tropical climate with more than 400 millimetres (16 in) of annual rain. They can be grown in a temperate climate but yields will be much lower.
TypesThere are two main kinds of chickpea:
- Desi, which has small, darker seeds and a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Iran.
- Kabuli, which has lighter coloured, larger seeds and a smoother coat, mainly grown in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Chile, also introduced during the 18th century to the Indian subcontinent.[f]
Cultivation and useChickpeas are grown in the Mediterranean, western Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Australia. Domestically they can be sprouted within a few days all year round with a sprouter on a windowsill.
salads, cooked in stews, ground into a flour called gram flour (also known as chickpea flour and besan and used primarily in Indian cuisine), ground and shaped in balls and fried as falafel, fermented to make an alcoholic drink similar to sake, 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). Chick peas and bengal grams are used to make curries and are one of the most popular vegetarian foods in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the UK. On the Indian subcontinent chickpeas are called Harbharaa in Marathi (the green variety, that is), kadale kaalu in Kannada, shanaga (శనగ) in Telugu, chana in Hindi and other Indic languages, Chhola in Bengali and konda kadalai in Tamil,[h] 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 outside homes as well as on celebrations, although it is not restricted to celebrations as a matter of home cuisine. The harder variety is rarely seen on celebrations in north or served outside homes.
Indian cuisine are made with chickpea flour, such as mirchi bajji and mirapakaya bajji telugu. In India, as well as in the Levant, 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" which was first known among the Shan people of Burma. The flour is used as a batter to coat various vegetables and meats before frying, such as with panelle, a chickpea fritter from Sicily.[i] Chickpea flour is also used to make the mediterranean flatbread socca.
halo-halo. Ashkenazi Jews traditionally serve whole chickpeas at a Shalom Zachar celebration for baby boys.[j]
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. Similarly named "chickling peas" (Lathyrus sativus) and other plants of the genus Lathyrus contain the toxins associated with lathyrism.
ProductionIndia is the world leader in chickpea (bengal gram) production followed by Pakistan and Turkey.
|Top ten chick peas producers — 11 June 2008|
|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
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||686 kJ (164 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||7.6 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||1 μg (0%)|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.116 mg (9%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.063 mg (4%)|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||0.526 mg (4%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.286 mg (6%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.139 mg (11%)|
|Folate (Vit. B9)||172 μg (43%)|
|Vitamin B12||0 μg (0%)|
|Vitamin C||1.3 mg (2%)|
|Vitamin E||0.35 mg (2%)|
|Vitamin K||4 μg (4%)|
|Iron||2.89 mg (23%)|
|Magnesium||48 mg (13%)|
|Phosphorus||168 mg (24%)|
|Potassium||291 mg (6%)|
|Sodium||7 mg (0%)|
|Zinc||1.53 mg (15%)|
|Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient database
- 23% protein
- 64% total carbohydrates (47% starch, 6% soluble sugar)
- 5% fat
- 6% crude fiber
- 3% ash
- phosphorus (340 mg/100 g)
- magnesium (140 mg/100g)
- iron (7 mg/100 g)
- zinc (3 mg/100 g)