Different types of Chickpea and Chickpea Flour


This article helps you understand the different types of chickpea and the chickpea flour available in the market.

Have you also found yourself confused when buying chickpea or chickpea flour?

I was always confused when buying chickpeas or flour as the packet states chickpea flour? However, the ingredient list states gram or split Bengal gram?

“Chana” in India is “chickpea,” Chickpea is just a common word used interchangeably for different types of chickpeas; hence, it becomes vital to check the ingredient list while buying any chickpea flour.

Different Types of Chickpea and Chickpea Flour.

1. White Chickpea-  

Types Of Chickpea Slices Of Lime
  • Also popularly known as garbanzo beans/ Kabuli chana/ Cici bean.
  •  They are originally from the middle east, commonly and readily available in the middle east and the united states.
  • It’s a large, beige color legume used to make popular Indian dishes such as chole and chana masala.
  • Internationally it is used to cook popular recipes such as Hummus and falafels.
  • Chickpea flour made from these white chickpea or garbanzo beans will be labeled as chickpea flour or garbanzo flour.
  • Garbanzo flour is widely used to make vegan and gluten-free cakes and various dishes that call for gluten-free flour.
  • Chickpea is more calorie-dense and has a good amount of healthy fats.
  • Besan, the most common flour in India and Indian recipes, is not made from this flour.

2. Indian black chickpea-

Benefits of Black Chickpea
  • Also popularly known as Black chana/ Kala chana/ whole Bengal gram/ desi chana/ Indian chana or Indian black chickpea.
  • It is smaller than the garbanzo beans and appears rusty brown/black.
  • This chickpea is indigenous to India and is widely consumed in popular recipes such as missi roti and gatte ki sabzi.
  • Indian black chickpea is an excellent source of protein and is known to promote muscle mass and regulate diabetes.
  • Flour made out of this Indian black chickpea is dark brownish and used to make chapattis (Indian flatbread), but wait, this is not “besan.”
  • Indian black chickpea, when hulled and split, results in a new variant called “yellow split lentil” or chana dal.

3. Chana dal-

  • Popularly known by the names split Bengal gram, chana dal, and yellow split lentils.
  • It is a yellow color split lentil.
  • Indian black chickpea, when hulled and split, results in this new form called “yellow split lentil” or chana dal.
  • Finally, the ground chana dal is called “Besan,” the most common ingredient in Indian cooking.
  • Another lentil looks similar to yellow spilled lentils known as arhar dal or tur dal (pigeon pea). Make sure to read the ingredient list before buying these similar-looking lentils.
  • Because even though the two look similar, there is a massive difference in the taste.

4. Green Chana or Green Garbanzo Beans-

  • Also popularly known as hara chana/ green chana/ chholia. It is a distant cousin of the Indian black chickpea.
  • Green chana is rusty green in color and almost the same size as the Indian black chickpea.
  • Green chana is seasonal and hence only available during winters.
  • It is excellent in folate or vitamin B9, and a great source of vitamin A and C needed to boost immunity and skin health during the winters.