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Chickpea for the Soul!

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We all rave about how beautiful women in the Middle-East look. Personally I’d credit it all to the food choices of these women. Perhaps a little secret unveiled would provide a clue to that shiny skin these lovely ladies possess. Traced to the Middle East 7500 years ago, the Chickpea or Garbanzo beans today are well known worldwide, commonly known as Kabuli Chana and Kala Chana in India and “Hummus” in Arabic. The bean is a staple diet and used for delicious dips and soups in almost all of the Middle Eastern countries.
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Chickpeas

Extremely rich in Saponins the bean acts as an amazing antioxidant, especially the darker beans – Kala Chana. Vegans splurge on Chickpeas as a good replacement for meat as they are rich in protein and fiber. The easily soluble fiber from Chick peas is known to reduce bad cholesterol levels. They are rich in Zinc & Magnesium as well and are a great food choice for diabetic and insulin resistant individuals. In parts of North India, chickpeas are consumed just about every day. Half a cup of these legumes can be maintained as a dietary guideline.

Studies have found that these legumes contain valuable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the body's omega-3 fatty acid which facilitate the making of all other omega-3 fats. Cardiovascular risks, specifically coronary heart disease risk are reduced by regular intake of garbanzo beans and similar legumes.

The term “Food Satiety” is the current rage in the area of feeling content with the food you consume. In a recent study, participants consuming Garbanzo beans felt more satisfied and consumed lesser or no snacks at all. For all those binging on food and adding up those extra calories this is good news! The consumption of the beans reduced appetite and gave greater food satisfaction, all in a healthy manner.

Like it is said “all that is consumed within limits is a blessing and if exceeded, can be a curse too”. It’s the same with chick peas too. They can cause severe allergic reactions to those who are sensitive to them. The beans known to have Purines contribute to the accumulation of uric acid which in turn results in problems like Gout and Kidney stones. So it would be best for those suffering with either/or both conditions to reduce the intake of the legume and not completely eliminate it.

Here’s an Indian twist to Chickpea dip to those wanting to try out something different from the regular Pudina (Mint) or tomato chutneys. Famous in the middle-east Hummus is one buttery batter that can be used up as a spread on your bread slices, chapattis or as a dip for your snacks without feeling guilty of being a glutton.

Hummus/ Chickpea dip Recipe

Ingredients:

Chick Peas – 500 Gms Soaked overnight or at least 5hrs and pressure cooked till soft)

Garlic- 5-6 cloves (small sized)

Olive Oil – generous drizzle

Tahini – 2 tsp (Sesame seed paste)

Coriander leaves

Cayenne pepper/ Red Chilly Powder- ˝ tsp

Jeera (Cumin) Powder – ˝ tsp

Dhania (Coriander) Powder – ˝ tsp

Chat Powder – ˝ tsp

Five Spice/ Garam Masala Powder – ˝ tsp

Salt for seasoning

Method

Add all the ingredients in a grinder and blend to a thick paste. Serve on a platter garnished with coriander leaves. (The dip can also be made without Tahini and it will still taste good). Spread it on a chapatti/bread slice, roll and munch on in case you can’t find pita bread.

To make Tahini, roast sesame seeds (2cups) without browning and grind to a paste along with 1 cup olive oil/ vegetable oil. Those conscious about the amount of oil going in can substitute it with thick curd and it would hardly make a difference to the taste. Tahini can be stored in the refrigerator up to three months. The result should be a thick yet pourable batter.
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