Gram flour, also known as chickpea flour or besan in Hindi, is a popular ingredient in many cuisines worldwide for its versatility and unique taste. It is made from ground chickpeas, a legume high in protein, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals. Gram flour is a staple in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines, where it is used to make everything from savoury snacks to sweet desserts.
Uses of Gram Flour
Here are a few gram flour uses:
Gram flour is widely used in savoury dishes, especially in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines. It makes a wide range of dishes, from snacks to main courses. Here are some popular savoury dishes made using gram flour:
- Pakoras: Pakoras are a popular Indian snack made by deep-frying vegetables in a batter made from gram flour and spices. The batter is made by mixing gram flour with water, spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder, and sometimes rice flour. The vegetables are then dipped in the batter and deep-fried until crispy. Pakoras are easy to make and can be served as a starter or as a snack with tea.
- Dhokla: Dhokla is a steamed savoury cake made from a fermented batter of gram flour and yoghurt. It is a popular snack in Gujarat, India, and is often served with green chutney. The batter is made by mixing gram flour with yoghurt, water, and a little sugar and leaving it to ferment overnight. The fermented batter is then steamed in a particular dhokla cooker or steamer and served with a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilli.
- Besan Cheela: Besan Cheela is a savoury pancake made from gram flour, spices, and vegetables. It is a quick and easy breakfast dish and can be served with chutney or ketchup. The batter is made by mixing gram flour with water, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder, and finely chopped vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, and green chilies. The batter is then poured onto a hot griddle and cooked until crispy.
- Falafel: Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish made from ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices. It is often served as a street food and can be eaten as a snack or as a main course. The chickpeas are soaked overnight, ground into a paste, mixed with herbs and spices such as cumin, coriander, and parsley, and shaped into balls or patties. The falafel is then deep-fried until crispy and served with tahini sauce, salad, and pita bread.
Gram flour is also used to make sweet dishes in many cuisines. It is used to make a variety of desserts and sweets. Here are some popular sweet dishes made using gram flour:
- Besan Ladoo: Besan Ladoo is a famous Indian sweet made from roasted gram flour, sugar, and ghee. It is often served during festivals and special occasions. The gram flour is roasted in ghee until it turns golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma. The roasted flour is then mixed with sugar, ghee, and cardamom powder and shaped into small balls.
- Burfi: Burfi is a sweet made from condensed milk and gram flour. It is flavoured with cardamom and saffron and is a popular dessert in India. The gram flour is roasted in ghee until it turns golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma. The roasted flour is then mixed with condensed milk, cardamom powder, and saffron and cooked until it thickens. The mixture is then cooled and cut into pieces.
- Khaman: Khaman is a sweet and sour steamed cake made from gram flour. It is a popular snack in Gujarat, India, and is often served with tamarind chutney. The batter is made by mixing gram flour with water, yoghurt, and spices such as ginger, green chilli, and turmeric. The batter is then steamed until it rises and becomes spongy. The steamed cake is then cut into pieces and tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilli.
Health Benefits of Gram Flour
Gram flour is a healthy ingredient that is high in protein, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals. Here are some health benefits of gram flour:
- High in Protein: Gram flour is high in protein and an excellent plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans. It contains 22 grams of protein per 100 grams, which is higher than wheat flour, rice flour, and cornmeal.
- Gluten-Free: Gram flour is gluten-free, which makes it an excellent alternative to wheat flour for people with gluten intolerance. It is a great substitute for wheat flour in recipes such as pancakes, cakes, and bread.
- Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Gram flour is rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and vitamin B6. It also contains folate, which is essential for pregnant women.
- Low in Fat: Gram flour is low in fat and calories and is an excellent ingredient for people trying to lose weight. It is also high in fibre, which helps to keep you feeling full for longer.
In conclusion, gram flour is a versatile ingredient that is used in many cuisines around the world. It is used to make a wide range of dishes, from savoury to sweet, and is an essential ingredient in many traditional cuisines. Gram flour is also a healthy ingredient that is high in protein, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals. Whether you are a fan of Indian cuisine or looking for a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour, gram flour is an excellent ingredient to have in your pantry.
Gram flour is available in most health food stores and supermarkets. It is also easy to make at home by grinding dried chickpeas in a food processor. Once you have tried using gram flour, you will discover its versatility and unique taste. So, go ahead and add this healthy and tasty ingredient to your pantry today!