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) –
**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.
HOW TO COOK THEM
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