Food - Drink
The 2 Main Types Of Chickpeas And Their Differences
Generally speaking, you’ll find only one variety of chickpea in American grocery stores: the kabuli chickpea, also called garbanzo beans. However, venture outside the U.S. and you may come across desi chickpeas, an extremely popular ingredient in Indian cuisine that are similar to kabuli chickpeas, but with a few key differences.
Kabuli chickpeas are larger and lighter-colored than the desi variety, and have a smooth texture with a nutty, buttery flavor. They are harvested mainly in Mediterranean and South American regions and are commonly eaten whole, made into falafel, stewed in soups, or dried and ground into a flour to make pasta and more.
Desi chickpeas are smaller and have a dark brown coat that has earned them the nickname "kala chanas," or black chickpeas. Desi chickpeas have fewer uses than Kabuli chickpeas; they’re typically used to make chana dal (split chickpeas), which are then cooked in soups and stews, or ground up to make besan, or gram flour.
If you want to try chana dal for yourself, or just want to branch out in the chickpea realm, desi chickpeas are available online through retailers like Walmart. If you're curious about the high-protein, fiber-rich besan flour made from desi chickpeas, look in the international aisles of grocery stores or visit an international market.