Friday, February 26, 2010

Chickpeas by Any Other Name...

Chickpeas by any other name are called Garbanzo Beans (Spanish), Chana (Indian) or Ceci Beans (Italian).
Chick Peas are widely popular in the Middle Eastern diet and with good reason.
They originated about 7500 years ago! They were cultivated by Romans, Greeks & Egyptians in 3000 BC and brought to other parts of the world in the 16th century.
Today chick peas are a staple in many cuisines including Indian, North Africa & Spain.

Chick Peas come in 2 types desi - contains small dark seeds and have a rough coat and Kabuli - a light colored bean with a smooth coat.
Chick Peas also come in green, black, brown, red and most popularly beige.

Health Benefits - Abound!
They are high protein and high fiber. When combined with a whole grain (such as rice) they offer a fat free complete protein. They are a source of soluble & insoluble dietary fiber that snares cholesterol from the body and carries it out.
Chick Peas are a source of many minerals - including molybdenum, magnesium, maganese and iron.

Forms - Chick Peas can be purchased dried or canned. Unlike other canned vegetables, their nutritional content is not reduced by canning. Also, chick pea flour can be purchased, but be sure that it is made from cooked chickpeas, as flour made from raw chickpeas are hard to digest and can cause painful intestinal gas.

Taste - Chick Peas have a nutlike flavor and are considered buttery. They are starchy.

Hummus, Falafel & LaMeridiana Salad are 3 simple way to enjoy chickpeas. I had hummus for the first time at Damian & Laurie's wedding and have been hooked on it every since!

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