For as long as I can remember, my Mum has always told us how great Chickpeas are for you. We would have them at least once a week. They are available in 2 varieties – black and white. She has always favoured the black ones saying they have a higher nutritional value than their white counterpart.
Chickpeas are very cheap and very good for you. For anyone on a low cost diet – especially with the current economic status, they are ideal.
An excellent source of fibre, vegetable protein, starch, vitamins especially ones in the B group and E, and minerals, in particular magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and iron.
They provide valuable protein(when combined with cereals, nuts, grains etc) for vegetarians. They contain insoluble fibre, which promotes regular bowel function and may protect against cancer. They also provide insoluble fibre, which helps to remove cholesterol from blood and hence may protect against heart and circulatory disease. Chickpeas provide slow-release energy, avoiding peaking of blood glucose levels, which is helpful in the prevention and control of diabetes. They contain vitamins and minerals essential for many metabolic functions and which protect against disorders and disease.
Be careful if you are buying tinned chickpeas – check the salt levels as they tend to be high. It’s actually much cheaper to buy a large packet that will last you ages. Plus if you soak them the night before, they will soften and be quicker to prepare. you can also steam cook them either in a pressure cooker or in a steamer. This is probably the best method as it keeps all of the nutrients in and is quite quick.
Chickpeas are great in salads, soups, curries etc but also great as hummus – one of my favourite things. Y0u can also buy ground chickpea flour (vesan/besan) which can be very versatile in cooking. I know in an Indian household, it is used very often in things like Pakoras (onion barji’s,) Indian Sweets, Indian Yellow curry, Indian Savouries like mattia, semia etc and so on. There are literally hundreds of bi-products of chickpeas.
My Mum also said if someone isn’t well, in India, they boil chickpea flour in water and give it to that person. It gives your strength and makes you better.