When it comes to pulses, it doesn’t get any more versatile than our own Bengal gram, otherwise known as chickpea or Kabuli chana. Kabuli chana is extremely nutritious with a protein content of about 21%. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A and B group vitamins, and contains important minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and iron. (1)
Health benefits of chickpeas range from weight management to bone health. They are a nutritious choice for vegans as well. Kabuli chana has moderate amount of calories and high amount of fibre and protein, which helps in weight management. And with its rich texture and delicious nutty flavour, it’s no surprise that it is used in a wide variety of global dishes. Here are a few recipes for you to try at home.
Spiced Chickpea Soup
There is something about Kabuli chana that makes it a perfect match for African spices. This hearty soup recipe comes from Morocco and makes a meal all by itself. Sauté garlic and onions till translucent. Add in cinnamon and cumin powder, sweet paprika and cayenne pepper, and sauté. Add chopped tomatoes, soaked chickpeas and vegetable broth. Simmer gently for about 45 minutes and then mash some of the chickpeas. Next, stir in baby spinach leaves until wilted. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
Spicy Roasted Chickpea Snack
Preparing snacks at home from scratch rather than purchasing them puts you in charge of the ingredients that go into them. Spiced groundnuts are a common packaged snack in our country. Try this easy, healthy spin made with chickpeas and make the most of the nutrient benefits of pulses. Deskin cooked chickpeas and stir together with olive oil, salt, pepper, jeera powder, chilli powder and smoked paprika. Transfer the chana onto a baking sheet and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until properly browned, giving the pan a shake every 15 minutes or so. Allow them to cool before serving or storing.
Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
This nutritious salad is inspired by the Lebanese tabbouleh which is made primarily from bulgur, tomatoes and parsley. Quinoa is gluten-free and high in protein. It is a plant food that contains sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Combination of chana and quinoa increases the protein content of the salad substantially.
Start by boiling quinoa and chana separately. Next, finely chop cucumber, onion, capsicum and parsley. Mix these ingredients together with the cooked and cooled quinoa and chana. For the dressing, combine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Pour over the salad and serve.
Another middle eastern specialty, hummus is a seasoned chickpea paste that can be enjoyed as a spread, dip or a savoury dish. Combine ¼ cup tahini with ¼ cup lemon juice in a processor until creamy. Incorporate olive oil, finely chopped garlic, jeera powder and salt to taste, and blend. Add in 1½ cups of cooked chana and process until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary and voila! You can spread your hummus on a slice of toast, use it as a healthy salad dressing, serve as a side with steamed fish or as a dip for pita and fresh vegetables. If you want to give a new twist to the classic hummus, you can add beetroot, spinach or basil to make it healthier and tastier.
Chickpea Blondies with Chocolate Chips
This is your healthy gluten-free answer to peanut butter and choco chip cookies, and tastes just as good. In a food processor, add 1½ cup cooked chickpeas, ½ cup peanut butter, ⅓ cup honey (maple syrup is a vegan option), 1 tsp vanilla, ½ tsp baking powder and ½ tsp salt. Blend until smooth and fold in ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips. Evenly spread out the dough on a tray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow it to cool, sprinkle on a bit of coarse sea salt, cut into squares and serve.
Choose the right gram for your dishes and make the most of the health benefits this pulse has to offer. Try Tata Sampann Kabuli Chana, it is unpolished to offer you the maximum nutritional value. Happy cooking!
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