There are two types of chickpea distinguished by their seed size, shape and colour. Desi chickpeas, the smaller variety are wrinkled in appearance and may be brown, yellow, orange, black or green. These are usually sold dehulled or split. Kabuli chickpeas, known for their nutty flavour are round and white to cream in colour. Australia is the world’s leading chickpea exporter, principally of the desi chickpea to India. Production in Australia has grown in recent years as has demand for this product from India.
Main culinary uses of chickpeas
- Fresh green (immature) chickpeas can be eaten as a vegetable.
- Chickpeas are easily added to salads, soups and casseroles or can be roasted to produce a crunchy nut-like snack.
- Desi chickpeas are common ingredients in dishes of India and are mostly consumed in the form of whole seed or dhal.
- Traditionally desi chickpeas are also ground into flour (besan) and used in various ethnic dishes such as Indian snack mix, onion bhajji or vegetable pakoras (similar to fritters), Frech socca (chickpea crepe), Italian farinata (thin, crip, piazza-like pancake).
- Kabuli chickpeas are generally eaten whole and are typically found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.
A table comparing the nutrient content of different types of legumes can be downloaded here.