Unreacted-core model for reaction-controlled systems was tested on modeling of starch gelatinization in whole chickpea (in situ) during cooking. Experiments were conducted in deionized water at 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 degreesC. The process was followed through images of the flat sides of the chickpea cotyledons. During cooking between 60 and 100 degreesC, a white core in the original color of the cotyledons and a surrounding opaque yellow zone were observed on the cotyledons. According to bireftingence studies starch granules in the yellow zone were gelatinized, and in the white core they remained ungelatinized. The formation of the yellow color was connected to the gelatinization in the peripheral zone. During cooking at 50 degreesC the color change was not observed because of working below the gelatinization temperature of chickpea starch. The area of the gelatinized zone increased at the expense of the area of the ungelatinized core with the progress of the cooking. The unreacted-core model fitted the process very well, and the estimated gelatinization times were in good agreement with the experimental gelatinization times. The kinetic data for the gelatinization reaction estimated after verifying the unreacted-core model were in agreement with the literature. These findings indicated that the in situ gelatinization of chickpea starch can be modeled using the unreacted-core model, and the process is effectively gelatinization-con trolled under the given conditions. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.