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How To Use Chickpea Flour
Besan, otherwise known as chickpea 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. It is the secret to making the famous Punjabi appetizer pakora (pictured below) and South Indian vegetable fritters. Besan is also used to make a fudge-like dessert known as barfi and to thicken curries, among other things.
What's great about this ingredient is that it doesn't contain any gluten can be adapted to any type of cuisine. The best place to purchase it wouuld 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.
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 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)
Have you cooked with chickpea flour? Share your tips, tricks and recipes in the comments below.