Also known as Besan flour, Chana Flour, Gram Flour, Farina de Ceci, farine de pois chiches’,
Chickpea flour is finely milled flour made from the Desi-type of chickpea (also known as Bengal gram or Kala Chana. ). Desi-type of chickpea is also used to produce Chana Dal (Bengal Gram (Split yellow chickpea)
There are two main types of chickpeas, the Kabuli type and the Desi type. Kabuli type is also known as Garbanzo bean or Ceci Bean. Kabuli type has larger rounded seeds with a cream-coloured coat and Desi type has smaller, angular seeds with light to dark brown seed coats.
Although chickpea flour can also be milled from the Kabuli type of chickpea, the demand of desi-type of flour far outweighs the kabuli type. (Future market Insights).
Chickpea flour has been a staple in India for years. It’s also a staple ingredient in Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Nepalese and Sri-lankan cuisines.
Nutrition of Chickpea Flour
100g (3.5oz) chickpea flour provides the following: Calories (390); Fat 6g; Cholesterol (0g); Sodium 24mg; Carbohydrate 58g (of which fibre 11g & Sugar 11g); Protein 22g. It also provides the following RDA for Calcium 15%; Iron (60%) and Fibre (44%). (Bulk Barn)
Is Chickpea flour Gluten Free?
Chickpea flour is naturally gluten free but you have to read the product label because the one I bought, said “May contain wheat” It depends on whether the milling plant processes other grains or pulses, which may cause some contamination.
Culinary Use of Chickpea Flour (Besan Flour)
Chickpea flour is used extensively in Indian cooking, to make Pakora (bhajiya), Bhonda, Chakii, Laddu, Pappadum just to mention a few.
It’s also a staple ingredient in Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Nepalese and Sri-lankan cuisines.
In Indian cooking it’s mixed with water or egg to make batter used to coat and deep fry foods. A vast variety of ingredients can be used: eggplant, paneer, potato, cauliflower, onion, spinach, groundnut (peanut), whole chickpea, corn, bananas, moong dal, chicken, fish.
It can be used to thicken soups and gravies
It can be used to make a pie crust as a gluten-free flour.
Parboiled potatoes can be rolled in the flour prior to roasting to give them a golden colour and a crisp texture.
It can also be combined with other flours, such as sweet rice flour, to make cookies or crackers in gluten-free recipes.
In Italian cuisine the flour is used to make farinata while in French cuisine it is used to make socca.