Using Chickpeas in Indian Cooking
Chickpeas are legumes that are high in protein and are the key ingredient in dishes such as hummus and falafel. They are also known as Garbanzo beans, gram, and chana in different parts of the world. You can buy chickpeas pre-cooked in cans or dried. When using them dried, they must be soaked overnight and then they can be cooked low and slow in a pan or slow cooker, or more quickly in a pressure cooker.
Most people don't realise that there are different types of chickpea. The most common is the white chickpea but there are also black and green chickpeas too.
The chickpea is very versatile and can be used in many different ways. They are used as pulses in stews and curries but they can also be fried to make snacks, roasted and ground to make flour and, in some countries, they grind chickpeas down to make desserts as well.
In Indian cooking, chickpeas are known as chole when whole or chana when split. They are cooked in a masala as a dry or saucy curry. When split, they are usually used as a lentil and can be mixed with other lentils.
Chickpeas can also be roasted then ground to produce a flour known as gram flour or besan. Gram flour is used across India for many different types of dishes such as pakora, bhajis and a North Indian yoghurt based curry called Kharee. This flour can also be used to make cakes known as Dhokla too. As a flour, it is also suitable for those who are intolerant to gluten.
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