Chick peas also known as Bengal Gram, is a pulse cultivated in India. There are 2 main types
• Desi, which has small, darker seeds and a rough coat,
• Kabuli, which has lighter coloured, larger seeds and a smoother coat.
The Desi is also known as Bengal gram or kala chana. 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.
Bengal gram is one of the most important pulses in India. It is consumed in the form of whole dried seeds and in the form of dhal, prepared by splitting the seeds in a mill and separating the husk. Seeds are angular with pointed beak and small helium. All parts of the plant are covered with glandular hairs. Bengal gram is believed to have originated in western Asia. It spread at a very early date to India and Europe. The crop was known was the ancient Egyptians. Hebrews and Greeks. Its areas of cultivation are India, Burma. Pakistan. Egypt and other Mediterranean countries. Ethiopia. South America and tropical Australia.
Bengal gram has many medicinal properties. Soaked i water overnight and chewed in the morning with honey, the whole gram seed acts as a general tonic. The liquid, obtained by soaking the seeds and then macerating them, also serves as tonic. Sprouted Bengal gram supplies plenty of B-complex and vitamins. Cooked germinated gram is a wholesome food for children and invalids. However excessive use of Bengal gram causes indigestion and may precipitate urinary calcium due to high concentration of oxalic acid and form urinary stone of calculi. It is good for Diabetes and Bengal gram extract, have shown considerable improvement in their fasting blood sugar levels, glucose tolerance, urinary excretion of sugar and general condition. It cures Anemia ,Digestive System Disorder , valuable astringent for use in dyspepsia, vomiting, indigestion, costiveness, diarrhea and dysentery.
The whole dried Bengal gram seeds are cooked or boiled. They are also consumed raw after soaking them in water. For preparation of dhal, the seeds are sprinkled with water and heaped overnight to soften the husk and are then dried before milling. Flour is made by grinding seeds. This flour is one of the main ingredients of many forms of Indian confectionary made with ghee and sugar. It is also used for preparing many tasty snacks like sev, chila and pakoras and curries like koftas. Green pods and tender shoots are used as a vegetable.