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Chick Peas

Facts on Chick Peas

The humble little chickpea is a pretty special legume. Eaten for centuries, there’s very good reason these guys have been on the menu for so long. Here are some interesting chickpea facts you may not know about.

  • There is strong evidence that chickpeas were first cultivated in the Middle East a staggering 7500 years BC. The popularity of the chickpea quickly spread all over the world, and they were soon grown and consumed in many ancient civilisations such as Egypt, Greece and Rome.
  • Chickpeas are known by many different names all over the world. Other names include garbanzo beans, a popular term in the US, bengal grams, egyptian peas, ceci beans and kabuli chana. Chickpeas come in a variety of different types and colours, not just the beige variety we are used to seeing in cans. Chickpeas can also be black, green, red and brown.
  • Chickpeas are an agricultural wonder. Not only do chickpeas produce a valuable crop but at the same time they also provide a natural organic method of breaking the disease cycle in wheat and barley crops. This means less fungicide and less insecticide, resulting in a cleaner, greener environment. Pretty amazing.
  • Legumes are included in the Australian Government recommended eating plan for a balanced diet in two categories! Legumes and beans are categorised with both vegetables and meat, making legumes an important part of a healthy balanced diet.
  • These clever little plants actually restore depleted soils and are powerful nitrogen fixing legumes. Their deep root system plays an important role in stabilising soils and preventing erosion, they may use little or no fertiliser while enhancing the fertility of the soil, and, they are a dry land agricultural crop, using no agricultural water. To add to their incredible talents, the chickpea plant even has a natural insecticide in its leaves, which keeps the bugs away. Incredible stuff!
  • Chickpeas are a great source of both soluble and dietary fibre, important for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Soluble fibre may assist with reducing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream and helps maintain blood sugar levels, which may help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and also aid in managing diabetes. The dietary fibre in chickpeas and their low glycemic index (GI) may also assist with weight loss by making you feel fuller for longer.
  • Chickpeas are an incredibly versatile ingredient to cook with. You can eat them canned, dried or roasted, hot or cold and they are inexpensive. Chickpeas can be used for making much, much more than just good old hummus. Try adding to soups instead of croutons, salads and stir frys for extra crunch, make delicious meat free patties or make a tomato chickpea stew to have with your Sunday bacon and eggs. There’s a plethora of chickpea recipes out there just waiting for you to discover.
  • Ground chickpeas have been used as a coffee substitute since the 18th century and are still commonly used as a caffeine-free alternative today. Widely available, the taste is said to be delicious – why not give it a go!
  • Chickpeas contain a huge number of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including folate, magnesium, vitamin b6, vitamin c, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. They are also high in protein so are a fantastic alternative to meat for vegetarians.
  • India is the world’s number one leader in chickpea production, with a staggering 8,832,500 metric tons reportedly produced in 2013. Interestingly, the country coming in second place was Australia! With 813,300 tons produced in the same year. “Production of chickpea by countries” UN Food & Agriculture Organisation 2014.
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The chickpea or chick pea (Cicer arietinum) is a legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Its different types are variously known as gram, or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean, Egyptian pea. Its seeds are high in protein. It is one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.

Types Of Chick Peas

Kabuli : Kabuli Chick peas sizes are 7, 8, 9 and 10mm and hence a very low glycemic index which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems. Kabuli Chick peas, which has lighter colored, 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. Kabuli (meaning ‘from Kabul’ in Hindi, since they were thought to have come from Afghanistan when first seen in India) or safed chana is the kind widely grown throughout the Mediterranean. The Kabuli variety has a thin, white seed coat and it is relatively bigger in size than other variety. It is grown in temperate and sub-tropical regions. The Kabuli variety has a thin, white seed coat and it is relatively bigger in size than other variety. It is grown in temperate and sub-tropical regions. Kabuli have large, rounder seeds, weighing about 400mg. They are white to cream colored and are almost exclusively used whole. They are preferred through the Mediterranean region. Kabuli Chick peas is used mainly in salad bars, soups, snack food, vegetable mixes, or ground into hummus. It is widely used in Spain, Algeria, Pakistan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Kingdom and Italy, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines.

Specification of Kabuli Chick Peas
Properties Values / Limits
Moisture (V/W) Max. 12%
Broken /Split / Insect Infested Max 2.0-2.5%
Aborted / Green / Brown Seeds Max. 1.0-6.5%
Stained Seeds Max. 0.5-6.5%
Smooth Seeds Max. 0.5 – 6.5%
Extra. Foreign matter (by weight) Max. 0.2%

Desi Chick peas: The Desi type is smaller in size, has a thick, dark colored seed coat and is either de-hulled and split or de-hulled and ground into flour. It can also be roasted and puffed after splitting. Desi Chick peas has high fiber content compared to the Kabuli variety, which has small, darker seeds and a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the Australia, Indian subcontinent, Iran, Mexico & Ethiopia. The Desi (meaning ‘country’ or ‘local’ in Hindi) is also known as Bengal gram or kala chana. The Desi type is used to make Chana Dal, which is a split chickpea with the skin removed. Desi Chick peas are used mainly in dhal, sauces, puffed or ground into flour. It is widely used in Asian and African cuisines. Desi is likely the earliest form since it closely resembles seeds found both on archaeological sites and the wild plant ancestor (Cicero reticulate) of domesticated chick peas, which only grows in southeast Turkey, where it is believed to have originated. Desi chick peas have a markedly higher fiber content than Desi types have small angular seeds weighing about 120 mg, are wrinkled at the beak and range in color from brown, light brown, fawn, yellow, orange, black or green. They are normally dehulled and split to obtain dhal and are favored in India. It is mainly produced in Australia, Canada, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Malawi in Africa & exported to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan & Sri Lanka.

Specification of Desi Chick Peas
Properties Values / Limits
Foreign Matter Max. 1%
Green (Cotyledon color), Immature, shrunken, shriveled seeds Max. 3%
Broken and Splits Max. 2%
Damaged and Weeviled 3% (Weeviled 2% max.)
Moisture 10%
Varietals Admixture Max. 3%
Processing The grades are Machine Cleaned, HPS (hand-picked and selected) Sortexed
Storage Chick peas can be stored for 6-12 months, without exposure to heat, light and moisture.

Health Benefits

  • Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
  • Increases Satiety and Helps with Weight Loss
  • Improves Digestion Thanks to a High Fiber Content.
  • Helps Protect Against Heart Disease and Cancer.
  • Provides Essential Vitamins and Minerals
  • Great Source of Plant-Based Protein
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