Chickpea Flour: The Secret Ingredient for Healthy and Tasty Meals
Gram flour, also known as garbanzo bean flour, chickpea flour, or besan, is a pulse flour made from ground chickpeas. Used in many countries, it is a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Bangladeshi cuisines.
It’s high in protein and fiber, and contains vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your health. Let’s look at everything you need to know about this versatile ingredient.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Chickpea Flour: The Ultimate Guide
- 2 The Nutty and Versatile Taste of Chickpea Flour
- 3 Exploring the Different Types of Chickpea Flour
- 4 Get Creative in the Kitchen: How to Incorporate Chickpea Flour into Your Cooking
- 5 Why Chickpea Flour is a Healthy Alternative
- 6 Conclusion
Chickpea Flour: The Ultimate Guide
Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan, is a type of flour made from ground chickpeas. It is a staple in traditional Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines and is widely used in a variety of dishes.
Storing and Using Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. It can be stored for up to six months if kept in optimal conditions.
When using chickpea flour, it’s important to note that it absorbs more water than regular flour, so the amount of liquid in a recipe may need to be adjusted. Additionally, chickpea flour has a strong flavor, so it’s best to start with a small amount and work your way up.
Production and Brands of Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour is produced by grinding dried chickpeas into a fine powder. Some popular brands of chickpea flour include Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur Flour, and Anthony’s Goods.
When choosing a brand of chickpea flour, it’s important to read the label to make sure it is pure chickpea flour and does not contain any additives or preservatives.
Let’s Get Chickpea Flour in Your Kitchen
Chickpea flour is a versatile and easy-to-use ingredient that can add a healthy twist to your favorite recipes. Whether you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour or simply want to try something new, chickpea flour is a great option to add to your pantry.
The Nutty and Versatile Taste of Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour can be used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury. Here are some ways chickpea flour tastes in different dishes:
- In main dishes: Chickpea flour lends a rich and hearty flavor to main dishes, making it an excellent alternative to meat. It is commonly used in Indian cuisine to make dal, a thick lentil soup, and in the Middle East to make falafel, a deep-fried chickpea patty.
- In sweet dishes: Chickpea flour can be used to make a variety of sweet dishes, including pancakes, crepes, and cakes. It has a slightly sweet flavor that can help to control sugar levels and prevent sugar spikes.
- In simple dishes: Chickpea flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in many recipes, including bread, pizza dough, and pasta. It has a similar texture to wheat flour and can be used in a 1:1 ratio in most recipes.
What are the nutritional values of chickpea flour?
Chickpea flour is an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals that can help to improve overall health. Here are some nutritional values of chickpea flour:
- One cup of chickpea flour contains 356 calories, 20 grams of protein, 53 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of fiber.
- Chickpea flour is high in folate, iron, and magnesium, which are essential for heart health.
- It is also rich in compounds that can help to lower cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control.
How can chickpea flour be used in the kitchen?
Chickpea flour can be found in most health food stores and is also easy to make at home by grinding dried chickpeas into a fine powder. Here are some ways to use chickpea flour in the kitchen:
- As a thickener: Chickpea flour can be used as a thickener in soups, stews, and gravies. Simply whisk together chickpea flour and water to create a slurry, then add it to the dish.
- As a coating: Chickpea flour can be used as a coating for fried foods, such as chicken or fish. It provides a crispy texture and a nutty flavor.
- As a binder: Chickpea flour can be used as a binder in veggie burgers, meatballs, and meatloaf. It helps to hold the ingredients together and provides a rich flavor.
- As a nutritional boost: Chickpea flour can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods to provide a nutritional boost. It is an excellent source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
Exploring the Different Types of Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour, is available in two main varieties: Kabuli and Desi. Kabuli chickpeas are larger and lighter in color, while Desi chickpeas are smaller and darker. The difference in color is due to the higher tannin content in Desi chickpeas.
Choosing the Right Chickpea Flour
When buying chickpea flour, you can choose between canned, dried, or prepared flour. If you opt for dried chickpeas, you can grind them in a food processor or coffee grinder to make your own flour. Prepared chickpea flour is ideal for quick and easy cooking.
Adding Chickpea Flour to Your Dishes
Chickpea flour is a versatile ingredient that complements a variety of dishes. Here are some ways to add it to your meals:
- Use it as a lower calorie and higher protein alternative to wheat flour in baking.
- Add it to vegetarian dishes for a protein boost.
- Use it to thicken soups and stews.
- Make wraps and snacks with chickpea flour.
- Add it to brownies and cookies for a nutty flavor.
Familiar and Smaller Chickpea Flour Varieties
Apart from the common Kabuli and Desi varieties, there are other chickpea flour types that you may come across:
- Brown chickpea flour: Made from roasted chickpeas, this flour has a pleasant nutty flavor.
- Besan flour: This is a common chickpea flour used in Indian cuisine.
- Garbanzo bean flour: This is another name for chickpea flour and is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine.
- Rougher chickpea flour: This type of flour is made from chickpeas that are not ground as finely as regular chickpea flour.
Suitable Dishes for Different Chickpea Flour Varieties
Each type of chickpea flour has its own unique flavor and texture, making it suitable for different dishes:
- Kabuli chickpea flour is ideal for making bread and other baked goods.
- Desi chickpea flour is suitable for making traditional Indian dishes like pakoras and chilla.
- Brown chickpea flour complements roasted vegetables and meat dishes.
- Besan flour is commonly used in Indian sweets and snacks.
- Garbanzo bean flour is great for making falafel and hummus.
Spread the Chickpea Flour Love
Chickpea flour is a healthy and delicious food that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you’re a vegetarian looking for a protein boost or just looking to add some variety to your diet, chickpea flour is definitely worth trying out. With its lower calorie content and higher protein content, it’s a great alternative to traditional wheat flour. So go ahead and give it a try in your next recipe!
Get Creative in the Kitchen: How to Incorporate Chickpea Flour into Your Cooking
Chickpea flour, also known as garbanzo bean flour, cici flour, gram flour, or besan, is a versatile ingredient that has been used in Indian and Eastern cuisine for centuries. It’s a popular gluten-free substitute for wheat flour and has a wonderful nutty flavor. In this guide, we’ll explore the many ways you can use chickpea flour in your cooking.
Using Chickpea Flour as a Binding Agent
Chickpea flour is a great binding agent and can be used to make delicious veggie fritters or as a thickener for soups. Here are some tips:
- Combine chickpea flour with water to make a batter for veggie fritters.
- Use chickpea flour to thicken soups and stews. Simply mix the flour with water to form a paste and add it to your soup or stew.
Using Chickpea Flour in Baked Goods
Chickpea flour can also be used in baked goods like pizza crusts, flatbreads, and cookies. Here are some tips:
- Combine chickpea flour with other flours to make gluten-free pizza crusts or flatbreads.
- Use chickpea flour as a substitute for wheat flour in cookies. Just keep in mind that the resulting cookies may be a bit denser than those made with wheat flour.
Why Chickpea Flour is a Healthy Alternative
When it comes to choosing a flour for your recipes, there are many different types to consider. Here’s how chickpea flour compares to some of the most popular options:
- Chickpea flour contains more protein and fiber compared to white flour or rice flour.
- It is lower in carbohydrates compared to wheat flour.
- It is a great choice for those who are looking for a gluten-free or grain-free option.
How to Use Chickpea Flour in Your Recipes
Chickpea flour can be used in a variety of recipes, including:
- Baked goods like bread, muffins, and pancakes
- Savory dishes like falafel, socca, and pakoras
- As a thickener for soups and stews
When using chickpea flour in your recipes, keep the following tips in mind:
- Different brands of chickpea flour may require different amounts of liquid or eggs in your recipe, so it’s important to follow a guide or recipe given by the manufacturer.
- Chickpea flour has a slightly nutty flavor and a darker color compared to traditional white flour.
- It is important to store chickpea flour in an airtight container to prevent it from going rancid.
Chickpea flour is a great alternative to wheat flour for those with allergies or those looking for a healthier option. It’s a great addition to your kitchen and can be used in sweet and savory dishes.
I hope this guide has helped you learn more about it and I hope you’ll give it a try soon.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.