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Besan, otherwise known as chickpea flour or gram flour is one of the hidden gems of Indian cooking. It is used in countless preparations - both savory and sweet - and is valued for its protein content.
Made from pulverized dried garbanzo beans this flour is 100% gluten free and a great option for foodies looking for new ingredients to cook with.
Traditional Uses for Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour is the secret to making the famous Punjabi appetizer pakora (pictured below) and South Indian vegetable fritters known as bonda. Besan is also used to make a fudge-like dessert known as barfi and to thicken curries, among other things.
Benefits of Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour is incredibly rich in protein: one cup contains 21grams, the equivalent of 42% of the recommended daily value).
Unlike wheat flour, chickpea flour boasts high amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. This makes besan an ideal for vegetarians and vegans alike.
Where To Buy Chickpea Flour
The best place to purchase chickpea flour would be an Indian shop but check the bulk section of your local health food store. Keep in an airtight container and store in a cool dark place such as a cupboard.
How To Use Chickpea Flour: Ideas for Everyday Cooking
Here are some great ways to use chickpea flour in everyday cooking:
- For making a gluten-free roux
- To make vegan omelettes (use a blend of chickpea flour and water instead of egg)
- Swap it for regular flour when making tempura batters (keeping in mind it will thicken as it stands)
- As a thickener for soups or curries. Make a paste with water and add it to the pot while whisking vigorously
- Use it in baked goods such as quick breads or cookies (chickpea flour will impart an earthy flavor)
- Substitute it for corn flour to make a polenta-like steamed dish called dhokla
- To make quick puddings for dessert (prepare a roux then whisk in milk and sugar)
How To Use Chickpea Flour: Tasty Recipes
When you blend chickpea flour and water you obtain a thick paste that bakes nicely. That is the base of this vegan quiche with Brussels sprouts. You'll love this earthy dish.
Have you cooked with chickpea flour? Share your tips, tricks and recipes in the comments below.
You'll find these crispy onion fritters hard to resist, especially when they are served with homemade mango chutney. Yum!
Cauliflower, asparagus and spinach get covered in a flavorful chickpea batter and are deep fried until golden.
Chickpea flour makes a great base for savory pancakes. Try this version made with parsley and extra virgin olive oil.
They are served with a creamy carrot chutney. Find the recipe here.