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Mar 30, 2008 02:24 PM

Chickpeas and ummm...gas

Here's an odd question: Does anyone know what it is about Indian methods of cooking chickpeas that seems to lessen, or eliminate, their tendency to cause, shall we say, gastric discomfort? When I eat them usually, even after various attempts to lessen their potency, I'm not so pleasant to be around, but after an Indian meal, no problems. Any clues?

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  1. I don't think there is a specific Indian cooking method that reduces gas in chickpeas. The only thing I can think of is that Indian cuisine uses a lot of spices like ginger, fennel seeds and cardamom -- all things that improve your digestion.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      Miss Needle, I think you're spot on. In my limited understanding, I believe Ayurvedic medicine looks at spices in cooking as, for lack of a real term, a way to balance our physical bodies. To add to you list of seasonings, I think turmeric and fenugreek are also valuable in the balancing of the gassiness of legume-heavy foods. Are these called the "warming" spices?

      PapaHarley, try experimenting with the various spices you use with chickpeas - you may hit on one that works for your palate and your tummy!


      1. re: cayjohan

        My knowledge of Ayurvedic is also limited (more of an Eastern nutrition person). But you're right that Auyrvedic does look at spices and food to balance our bodies. Tumeric and fenugreek are indeed warming spices, as well as ginger, fennel and cardamom. In the Eastern nutrition perspective, you generally want to eat foods that are energetically "warm" to help digestion. A lot of people with digestive issues like heartburn have problems drinking cold fluids. That's why a lot of authentic Chinese restaurants don't offer ice water with meals but offer hot tea. And I think that Indian restaurants also offer concoction (don't know what it's called) instead of after-dinner mints that contains warming spices to enhance digestion.

    2. funny you mention this now, i just read the other day that in indian cooking asofetiada (sp?) is used to reduce gas - I'll try to find the link so you can read for yourself - asofetiada (sp?) is a spice of some sort.

      1. Thanks for the information and advice, I'm off to experiment, and eat too much.