Leblebi is a kind of snack made from roasted chickpeas, very common and popular in Turkey. It is sometimes roasted with salt, hot spices or dried cloves. There is also a candy coated variety. Particularly, leblebi of Corum and Elmali are famous.
Chickpeas that are used for leblebi processing must conform to some important quality criteria such as shape, size, color, and harvesting time. The shape, size, and color of chickpeas vary according to cultivars. Generally, large-seeded (8 9 mm in diameter and 30.0 50.0 g of 100 kernel weight), lighter-colored, round, and smooth- surface kabuli chickpeas are preferred and appropriate for leblebi processing. Also, the chickpea must have a thick seed coat and the hull must be easy to remove from kernels during leblebi processing. Furthermore, harvesting time affects the tempering process of chickpeas and quality of the final product. Eventually, cleaning and classification of chickpeas due to their size are important stages of leblebi processing. Foreign materials as well as undeveloped, damaged, shrunken, and broken chickpea seeds have to be removed during these processes to enhance quality and yield.
There are two different kinds of leblebi: dehulled leblebi (Sari Leblebi and Girit Leblebi) and nondehulled leblebi (Beyaz Leblebi and Sakiz Leblebi) in different parts of Anatolia. It was known in Anatolia for centuries, and from there it was introduced to North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and some Asian countries by Turkish people. In Turkey, a significant amount of leblebi is produced and exported. Also, some Middle Eastern countries produce small amounts of leblebi. The main leblebi-producing regions of Turkey are Denizli (Tavas), Kutahya (Tavanli), Corum, and Gaziantep, and the method of processing of leblebi shows considerable variations in the different regions. Furthermore, there are many more locally produced leblebi types that are produced and consumed in very small amounts in some regions of Turkey and called depending on local customers Agin Leblebi, Erzincan Leblebi, and Mardin Leblebi.
The origins of leblebi date back to 10001300 years A.D nearly 1000 years of
background history. It has been eaten since Ottoman Empire times in Turkey. Despite this, the literature related to the origin of leblebi, its processing characteristics, composition,and nutritive value is scarce. Although, leblebi mainly originated in Turkey, exact details of leblebi production are not well known.
The methods of leblebi production were handed down from father to son. Thus, the steps in leblebi production and the equipment used may be quite different. Processing equipments for leblebi production can be summarized as
cleaning and grading equipments and
Also, the steps for all different kinds of leblebi production can be summarized as
cleaning and grading,
tempering (preheating and resting),
Leblebi could have come from the word leblab [*] in Arabic, which is a kind of ivy with edible seeds, thus 'leblebi' is 'made from leblab'.
However, it could also come from Persian word leb, meaning lip, and Arabic suffix -i, thus making leblebi, 'made for lips and lips', a word grammatically correct for Ottoman Turkish language where mixture of Persian words and Arabic suffixes are not uncommon.
In Tunisia, leblebi is a popular dish that consists of boiled chickpeas and old bread. In the region in Bizert, it is also consumed as a sandwich. It is generally consumed in the morning, especially in cold times.
Roasted chickpeas is a popular snack also in India and Pakistan.
Armenian composer Dikran Tchouhadjian (1837-1898) has composed an operetta named Leblebidji Hor-Hor Agha (The Chickpea Vendor) in 1875.
Bilgir, B.(1976).Turk leblebilerinin yapilii ve bileimi uzerinde aratirmalar. Ege Universitesi Ziraat Fakultesi Yayinlari. No:232, Bornova Izmir:Ege Universitesi Matbaasi,106.
Leblebi: a Roasted Chickpea Product as a Traditional Turkish Snack Food, Food Reviews International, Vol 20, Number 3/2004, pages 257 - 274, (2004).
Comparison of physical properties of raw and roasted chickpeas (leblebi), Food Research International, Vol 31; Number 9, pages 659-665, (1999).