Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan is a pulse flour made from a type of ground chickpea called the gram chickpea. It is a staple ingredient in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent, including in Indian, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Caribbean cuisines. Chickpea flour contains a high proportion of carbohydrates, higher fiber relative to other flours, no gluten, and a higher proportion of protein than other flours.
Source: “Chickpea flour”. Nutrition Data: Nutrition Facts and Calorie Counter, 2007
The name “chickpea”, earlier “chiche pease”, is modelled on Middle French pois chiche, where chiche comes from Latin cicer. “Chich” was used by itself in English from the 14th to the 18th centuries. The word garbanzo, from an alteration of Old Spanish arvanço, came first to English as “garvance” in the 17th century, being gradually anglicized to “calavance“, though that came to refer to a variety of other beans, including the hyacinth bean. The current form garbanzo comes directly from modern Spanish.
The plant grows to 20–50 cm (8–20 in) high and has small, feathery leaves on either side of the stem. Chickpeas are a type of pulse, with one seedpod containing two or three peas. It has white flowers with blue, violet, or pink veins.
Dozens of varieties of chickpea are cultivated throughout the world. In general, Canadian, American and Iranian chickpeas are sweeter than Indian chickpeas.
Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, providing rich content (20% or higher of the Daily Value, DV) of protein, dietary fiber, folate, and certain dietary minerals, such as iron and phosphorus in a 100 gram reference amount (see adjacent nutrition table). Thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc contents are moderate, providing 10–16% of the DV. Compared to reference levels established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization, proteins in cooked and germinated chickpeas are rich in essential amino acids such as lysine, isoleucine, tryptophan, and total aromatic amino acids.
A 100-gram (3+ 1⁄2-ounce) reference serving of cooked chickpeas provides 686 kilojoules (164 kilocalories) of food energy. Cooked chickpeas are 60% water, 27% carbohydrates, 9% protein and 3% fat (table), 75% of the fat content is unsaturated fatty acids for which linoleic acid comprises 43% of the total fat.