If you request Jai to shell some green chickpeas (hara chana), he is likely to digitally document the process. So here goes.

Most of the useless factoids below have been gleaned from Wikipedia.

Chickpeas are called chana in India, garbanzo in Mexico, cece or ceci in Italy, kichererbse in Germany, and revithia in Greece.

They are one of the earliest cultivated vegetables. 7,500-year-old remains have been found in Palestine and Turkey. India is the world leader in chickpea production followed by Pakistan and Turkey.

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.

There are two types of domesticated chickpeas (cicer reticulatum) –

**Desi (kadala), which has small, dark seeds (brown or green) and a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia, Mexico and Iran. It’s skinned and split to make chana dal.

**Kabuli, which has lighter coloured, larger seeds and a smoother coat, mainly grown in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, Afghanistan and Chile. This variety was introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 18th century.

Inside the pod are these fuzzy seeds.

Peel them to get to the green goodness.

Ever wondered why they are called chickpeas?

Now you know.

Desi chickpeas have a markedly higher fiber content than Kabulis and hence a very low glycemic index which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems.

They are high in managanese, iron, calcum and protein. ( See Nutritional Data)

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The leaves of the chickpea plant are edible and used raw in salads.


If Jai’s shelling the pods, this question is irrelevant. The shelled chickpeas (most of them) get transported straight to his mouth. Very energy efficient, ‘cos you don’t need to turn on the stove.

Else, boil them a bit and use them just as you would use green peas in any recipe. They are a tad less sweet and hold their shape better.

You could make

a Sundal (stir-fried snack with Mustard and Curry Leaves),
Risi e Ceci like Risi e Bisi (Peas Risotto),
stuff them in shells and make Ghugra,
or simply toss them in a salad.

You could also make a
Pulao (Flavoured Rice),
Halwa (Sweet Pudding),
a Spicy Stir Fry,
a Coconutty Curry
or Soup, substituting the green split peas with green chickpeas.

This is our entry for My Legume Love Affair: Eighth Helping hosted by the wonderful Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook.

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  1. Madhu says:

    Pictures are awesome ! We just eat them like that..very best way to enjoy green chana.

  2. Kitt says:

    Interesting! Lots of learning in this post. So where do you find green chickpeas? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in a market here. (Then again, I wasn’t looking.)

    we found them in the regular grocery store (winco).

  3. Happy Cook says:

    Wow that is a lot of info. About the coffee that is totally new to me.
    I have never seen fresh chickpeas.

  4. Raaga says:

    I eat them as they are… or in a salad. I did experiment with these once: http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2007/07/chhollia-ghasshi.html

    And yes, I put them in cutlets too :-)

  5. Raaga says:

    I forgot to add, great pics :)

  6. Nirmala says:

    Lovely pictures! I find it difficult to read the dark letters in this dak grey background. Am I getting older?

    your page is not loading fast enough. the background is supposed to be white.

  7. blinkandmiss says:

    lovely pictures! i never knew you could make so much out of green chanas. on bombay chowpatty, they make awesome green chana thing with some masalas and lots of butter. some what like the cups of corn you get these days in malls in India, but very very tasty.

    in Gujarati, we call them popta and ‘sekko’(roast? broil?) them. while helping out elders in peeling them, as kids we used to hog half of them raw. the elders always warned us saying our stomachs are going to pain, but it never did!!!

  8. Madhumathi says:

    Hi,This is my first time to comment on your blog.I just love this space..Everything in your site looks soo b’ful n perfect like Karan Johar’s film ..The pictures are stunning and creative.Nice post on ‘Chick’peas :)

  9. BlueMist says:

    What lovely pictures !! I love these chickpeas. We call them “Dahale”. Try roasting them on tawa along with the shell until there are black spots on the cover. Then munch them when hot. Heaven !!

  10. aquadaze says:

    Oh I love eating green chanas, been ages since I even saw these. Awesome pictures!

  11. Arundathi says:

    love the pictures – esp the “chick”peas eating the little seeds… :-)

  12. Asha says:

    I used eat bunches of them when in school, haven’t seen this in more than 20yrs now. Photos are fab, yeah they look like chicks! ;D

  13. Soma says:

    Wonderfulful pics! I think jai’s way is the best way to eat them:-)

  14. deeba says:

    You can even get together with Jai & make cholia look so good. I’ve got to go to the market & look at them again! This is the season for them, & I used to love eating them as a kid. Now when I see them, all I can think of is the shelling!! LOL!!

  15. A&N says:

    Gorgeous pics! :)

  16. Poornima says:

    Beautiful pics…I have the roasted variety as a snack…

  17. Ashwini says:

    Lovely pictures..and nice information..Love to eat them anytime of the day…

  18. Anjali says:

    beautiful camera play!

  19. shammi says:

    Aarrrgh! Dammit! What GORGEOUS photos! Tried SO HARD for so long not to leave a comment that merely points out the obvious, but I cant stop myself now! GORGEOUS photos!

  20. jaya says:

    pics are just beautiful and I just love them eating just like Jai does hehe…
    hugs and smiles

  21. Rachna says:

    lovely pics, im missing my mum’s cholia aaloo sabzi after seeing this….

  22. Cham says:

    We get a lot especially in Mexican/Indian store, I heard Mexican eat a lot just by steaming the pod or even roasting! I am like Jai for eating this beauty only the rest goes to my little family!

  23. Madhuram says:

    The second picture, with the grey shell and green peas is awesome Jai.

  24. SuperChef says:

    loved the pictures! so far, I have not been able to find them anywhere, but if i do, Im sure they will go straight into my mouth too without bothering to cook them! :D

  25. Manggy says:

    Wonderful macros :) I like the unshelled seeds, they look like they’re crossing their arms! Never seen one (never even seen a raw regular yellow chickpea) but I’ll keep my eyes open for them.

  26. PG says:

    Beautiful! I love the one where the green chickpea is highlighted with the grey background. Lovely!
    I love green chickpeas. Yes, they taste good the leaves and the chickpeas like that, we use them during ‘choti’ holi to roast them in the fire and eat. Yum yum! But my mom could make a lovely curry, simple but delicious with it.

  27. Maninas says:

    That is absolutely beautiful. I love that first photo in particular.

    hey, i had no idea that chickpeas were substitute for – coffee?! :)

  28. Margie says:

    I’ve never had a fresh batch of chickpeas. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen any. I know I would absolutely LOVE them; dried chickpeas simmered over the stove for several hours with: onion, garlic, olive oil and seasonings are heavenly.

  29. Alex says:

    This is great, I never knew.

  30. Susan says:

    Ah hah! Now I know what to look for when I linger among the produce bins at the Indian grocer. Maybe if I walk round with a handful of fennel seeds they will come out of hiding. ; }

    Thanks for the grand photos and eating options for MLLA8!

  31. Deb says:

    I’d never noticed the resemblance to chicks – thanks for clearing up the mystery. It is good to know Jai charges a “chickpea toll” for his work. I do the same with snow peas. one for the worker…two for the pot…

  32. Bharti says:

    Gorgeous pictures..as usual :-)

  33. Paz says:

    wonderful, wonderful photos.

    i like chickpeas, too.


  34. pelicano says:

    Woweee…..I ain’t never seen ‘em green ‘n on a plant b’fore! Way cool; I just may follow suit this year.

    The greens are also used (along with mustard greens and spinach)in Bihari chokha… :-D

  35. kalva says:

    lovely pics… i was lucky one day to find these in local farmers market

  36. mandira says:

    fabulous pics Jai! it’s been so long since I had these hara chana fresh. All I get are frozen or dried ones…

  37. Alka says:

    Just few moons back,i posted some recipe,and as usual ranted about the nostalgic food,those were simple on pockets and easy to reach,but yet made our childhood memories so cherishable !
    While mentioning other foods i wanted to write about PHOTA ,which we used to grab from those THELAS outside school gate.The whole bunch with some PHOTAS and too many leaves+stems was a nice pass time for us,searching the pods in nook and corners of the bunch,which costs us well ummm 50 ps(Half of 1INR)Cant figure out how much that means in cents or paiso(I am mathematically challenged gleeeee)
    I googled really hard to know wht it is called in Hindi or English but my bad luck ,cudnt figure out….So it goes without saying that i am so much thrilled to know it now….Fresh green chickpeas…well apart frm eating raw,mom use to boil them(pressure cook with skin)with some salt and then add coat these with some generous amount of turmeric powder,red chilly pwdr,and coriander pwdr,amchoor powder…it tasted awesome
    well by now u guys might be sick of not getting innovatively different comments apart frm…marvellous click,b’utiful pics etc…so wont talk abt that ;-) (coz its just so obviously splendid capture)

  38. Cynthia says:

    I like the new look of the blog cover. Thanks for the education on green chick peas.

  39. Navita Hakim says:

    he he he…love the fuel efficiency thing with Jai.

    I love grams…horse grams, kabuli ot cholia…m waiting to go back to India to get them…not readily available here.

    ur ideas sound interesting..halwa..?!! good ones Bee.

  40. Lakshmi says:

    I am crazy fan of these…one of my winter favorite! Lovely pictures as usual..

  41. Namratha says:

    We usually eat this raw, with grated coconut, lemon juice, red chilli powder and salt. Thanks for all the info! :)

  42. Srivalli says:

    wow..this is such a beautiful post!..loved that picture on why they are called chickpea…:)

  43. Rupa says:

    WOW ! awesome pics ! Thanks for the wonderful list of recipes and all the information !

  44. Aparna says:

    I’m coming back here after a while. And am seeing some changes. I like them.:)
    These pictures are gorgeous.
    Chickpeas are my favourite of all dried beans and I can eat them cooked, just plain the way Jai ate these. But a coffee substitute?!! :(

  45. reema says:

    we call them HOLAY or BOOTH

  46. Chetan Jani says:

    We call it POPTA in north gujarat and it is JINJARA” in Saurashtra(Kathiavyad). May be some people comment on it.

  47. Andy says:

    We have just managed to grow our own in our garden in North West France. They need a long growing period, so I stuck some shop bought chickpeas in the ground in late April. I found your lovely page when I was looking for what to do with our lovely crop in July. And now I know! Thanks!

  48. stevenukas says:

    green chickpeas have lots of name on the planet. Nice pictures and great material.

  49. rakebackinn says:

    Peas Risotto that should be really good. Nice job and great pictures

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