The popularity of chickpeas and its lentil has earned it an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary. Yes, chana and chana dal are now officially accepted names. Whatever the moniker may be - chickpeas, chana or garbanzo beans - this nutrient-dense seed has a worldwide popularity.
Though chickpeas come in green, yellow, red and black, there are two known varieties: the light coloured Kabuli chana and the darker desi version. India tops the list both in cultivation and consumption of chickpeas. Our love for it takes several forms: Kabuli chana is more popular in dishes like chole, while the smaller, brown variety often finds the form of usal or sundal in the southern states during the festive season. Moreover, how can we ignore the mouth-watering variety of deep-fried fritters made from chana flour?
In the West, people like to open a can of boiled Kabuli chana, while the contribution of Middle Eastern nations is a delicious dip made from a paste of cooked chickpeas, olive oil, salt and garlic called hummus.
Human tryst with chickpeas is dated way back to 7,000 BC, where archaeological remains indicate that it was one of the first beans to be cultivated. Turkey first grew these golden yellow seeds, but Mesolithic remains have also been found as far as France around
the same era. People valued these beans and associated it with Venus, goddess of love, as it was considered to boost sperm count and milk production.
So whichever form of the pea you are crazy about, it is sure to be a hit.