This is an
edible bean of the family Faboideae and it is also known as Garanzo
bean, Channa, Indian pea and Gram. The oldest evidence of Chickpeas
comes from the Middle East about 5,500 BC and it is thought to be one of the
earliest cultivated vegetable plants.
Chickpeas have been found at sites in Turkey in the Neolithic and in France by the Mesolithic. By the Bronze Age, they had spread to Italy and Greece and the Romans have recorded recipes with at least 3 varieties of Chickpea.
The Desi is the small variety of chickpea cultivated
in India, North West Africa, Iran and North America.
The Kabuli is the larger and lighter coloured chickpea variety cultivated in Southern Europe, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South America.
The Romans also had a variety called the Punic Chickpea, but that now appears to be extinct.
Chickpea flour or Gram flour is used in Indian cookery and it is also used as an additive to white bread to encourage the crust to become crisp, as in French sticks.