Explore Using Chickpea Flour (Besan) in Indian Cooking

Chickpea flour or commonly called Besan is one of the most common ingredient found in our pantry. Depending on the frequency of use, a jar of chickpea flour is either tucked behind other jars on the shelf or it graces the front row of your kitchen cabinet.

Chickpea flour is used in making a variety of dishes from savoury snacks to sweet delights. Let us take a quick look at some of the most popular Indian cuisines that use chickpea flour.

Uses of Chickpea Flour in Indian Cuisines

Chickpea Flour

The first thing that hits my mind and teases my taste buds is besan ki chilla or what we lovingly call besaner gola ruti in Bengal.

Chickpea flour with some finely chopped vegetables, flavoured with known spices and herbs, spreads a delicious and nutritious dish that you can enjoy in your breakfast, snacktime and even lunch.

This Rajasthani dish has got pan-India popularity for its taste and nutrition profile. It is a kind of vegetable omelette and those, who are egg-allergic or vegetarians, may find it a good alternative to egg omelette.

Chickpea flour is a great binding agent. It makes fried stuff crispier. Hence, it is used in making aloor chop, pyanji and many other fried items that we love to have a crunchy bite off.

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Gujratis use chickpea flour to make savoury crepes spangled with chillies and turmeric, famously known as pudla.

It is the key ingredient in jhunka, a spice-loaded porridge popular in both Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Andhra Pradesh also has something delicious to offer and it is called senaga pindi kura. It is an onion-based heavy stew and chickpea flour works as a thickening agent.

In a few meat dishes, chickpea flour is roasted in ghee in a separate pan and then added to the curry. It thickens the gravy and also flavours it up.

How can one forget the taste of besan ke laddu or besan ki barfi? So easy to make and so delicious to taste!

It is a must-have dish during Deepawali festival. Chickpea flour, flavoured with cardamom powder, nuts and a generous amount of ghee, is slow cooked with sugar.

It is then spread on a ghee-greased plate and when it gets cool, cut in barfi or used to make fudge-like balls. .

How Does Chickpea Flour Taste?

Chickpea flour has a distinctive taste that is nutty, slightly bitter, and earthy. It has a mildly sweet flavor and a slightly grainy texture.

The taste of chickpea flour can vary depending on how it is processed and what other ingredients are used in a recipe.

In general, it is fairly neutral in taste, which makes it versatile and suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.

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It is commonly used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines to make dishes such as falafel, pakoras, and socca.

How Do You Make Chickpea Flour?

To make chickpea flour at home, start by selecting good quality dried chickpeas.

Rinse and drain the chickpeas thoroughly, then spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet to air dry completely.

Once the chickpeas are dry, transfer them to a high-speed blender or food processor and pulse until they turn into a fine powder.

Make sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the container as needed to ensure that all the chickpeas are evenly ground.

For a finer texture, sift the chickpea flour through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any larger particles.

The homemade chickpea flour can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months.

Questions & Answers:

What is Chickpea Flour Used For?

Chickpea flour is mostly used for two purposes – as a main ingredient or as a thickening agent.

Will Chickpea Flour Make Food Crispy?

Yes, chickpea flour makes things crispy good.

Can You Use Chickpea Flour in Place of Regular Flour?

Yes, chickpea flour can be used as a substitute for regular flour in some recipes. However, it is important to note that chickpea flour has a distinctive taste and texture that may not be suitable for all recipes.

It is best to experiment with small amounts of chickpea flour first to see how it works in a particular recipe before substituting it completely for regular flour.

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What is Chickpea Flour Called in Different Languages?

Chickpea flour is called by different names in different languages and regions. In India, it is commonly called 'besan' in both Bengali and Hindi, 'daliche peeth' in Marathi, 'kadalamaavu' in Tamil, 'senaga pindu' in Telugu, 'kadala hittu' in Kannada, 'kadala mavu' in Malayalam, and 'chana no lot' in Gujarati.

In Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, it is known as 'gram flour' or 'garbanzo flour'.

Conclusion

Chickpea flour is a versatile ingredient used in a variety of Indian cuisines for both sweet and savory dishes.

It has a distinctive taste that is nutty, slightly bitter, and earthy with a mildly sweet flavor and slightly grainy texture.

Homemade chickpea flour can be easily made by grinding dried chickpeas and can be stored for up to six months.

Chickpea flour is also known to make food crispy and can be used as a thickening agent. It can even replace regular flour in some recipes.

Known as “besan” in Hindi and Bengali, chickpea flour has different names in various Indian languages, but it is a popular ingredient across the country.

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