The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) (also garbanzo bean, Indian pea, ceci bean, bengal gram, Kabuli chana, konda kadalai, kadale kaalu, sanaga pappu, shimbra, Kadala) is an edible legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Chickpeas are high in protein and one of the earliest cultivated vegetables. 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East Chickpeas are grown in the Mediterranean, western Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Australia. Domestically they can be sprouted within a few days all year round with a sprouter on a windowsill. Flowering chickpea plant.Mature chickpeas can be cooked and eaten cold in salads, cooked in stews, ground into a flour called gram flour (also known as besan and used primarily in Indian cuisine), ground and shaped in balls and fried as falafel, fermented to make an alcoholic drink similar to sake, stirred into a batter and baked to make farinata, cooked and ground into a paste called hummus or roasted, spiced and eaten as a snack (such as leblebi). Chick peas and bengal grams are used to make curries and are one of the most popular vegetarian foods in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the UK. On the Indian subcontinent chickpeas are called kadale kaalu in Kannada, shanaga (???) in Telugu, chana in Hindi and other Indic languages, Chhola in Bengali and konda kadalai in Tamil, where they are a major source of protein in a mostly vegetarian culture. Chana masala, a popular dish from Delhi, India.Many popular dishes in Indian cuisine are made with chickpea flour, such as mirchi bajji and mirapakaya bajji telugu. In India, as well as in the Levant, unripe chickpeas are often picked out of the pod and eaten as a raw snack and the leaves are eaten as a green vegetable in salads. Chickpea flour is also used to make "Burmese tofu" which was first known among the Shan people of Burma. The flour is used as a batter to coat various vegetables and meats before frying, such as with panelle, a chickpea fritter from Sicily. Chickpea flour is also used to make the mediterranean flatbread socca. Halua of chickpeas, a popular sweet dish of Bangladesh.In the Philippines garbanzo beans preserved in syrup are eaten as sweets and in desserts such as halo-halo. Ashkenazi Jews traditionally serve whole chickpeas at a Shalom Zachar celebration for baby boys.  Dried chickpeas need a long cooking time (1â€“2 hours) but will not easily fall apart when cooked longer. If soaked for 12â€“24 hours before use, cooking time can be considerably shortened by 30 minutes. Raw chickpeas contain protease (enzyme that breaks down proteins) inhibitors which counteract the enzymes in our body that digest protein. Chickpeas should not be confused with the Chickling pea.