Mature embryonic axes were used for chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) regeneration via somatic embryogenesis. Qualitative and quantitative estimation of protein profile during somatic embryogenesis by SDS-PAGE and densitometric analysis showed differential expression of various storage proteins at different stages of somatic embryo development, which was compared with the profile of developing seeds. Total protein content in somatic embryos of chickpea increased from globular stage [2.9 μg mg−1(f.m.)] to cotyledonary stage [4.8 μg mg−1(f.m.)] and then started decreasing during onset of maturation and germination [up to 1.5 μg mg−1(f.m.)]. Differential expression of seed storage proteins, late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins and proteins related with stress response were documented at different stages of somatic embryogenesis. Germinating somatic embryos showed degradation products of several seed storage proteins and the appearance of new polypeptides (76.8, 67.6, 49.9 and 34.2 kDa), which were absent during differentiation of somatic embryos. A low molecular mass (17.7 kDa) polypeptide was uniformly present during all stages of somatic embryogenesis and it may belong to a group of stress-related proteins. This study describes the expression of true seed storage proteins like legumin, vicilin, convicilin and their subunits at different stages of somatic embryogenesis, which may serve as excellent markers for embryogenic pathway of regeneration in chickpea.