The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) (also garbanzo bean, Indian pea, ceci bean, Bengal gram) is an edible legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Chickpeas are high in protein and one of the earliest cultivated vegetables; 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.
Food features: The 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.
Place of origin: Distributed in the Mediterranean, Asia, Africa, America and other places. Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Taiwan, Inner Mongolia, introduction and cultivation.
Nutrition: Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated. Nutrient profile of desi chana (the smaller variety) is different, especially the fibre content which is much higher than the light coloured variety. One hundred grams of mature boiled chickpeas contains 164 calories, 2.6 grams of fat (of which only 0.27 grams is saturated), 7.6 grams of dietary fiber and 8.9 grams of protein. Chickpeas also provide dietary calcium (49–53 mg/100 g), with some sources citing the garbanzo's calcium content as about the same as yogurt and close to milk.
Dietotherapy function: 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 considerably shortened by around 30 minutes.