Gram Flour-Flour from Chickpea

In the U.S., quite a lot of people instantly think of wheat-based flour when a recipe requires this key ingredient. However, ground wheat is only one type of flour among many others. Gram flour is yet another type of popular flour. Chickpeas are the beans used to make gram flour. As such, it’s also known as besan, garbanzo flour, harina de garbanzo, channa flour, and chickpea flour. It’s quite the popular flour type, such that it’s used in quite many regions and countries. As an Indian pulse derivative, it’s a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine. It’s also extensively used in dishes from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Benefits of Gram Flour
This flour type contains a large amount of carbohydrates but has zero gluten. Regardless, in comparison to other flour types, the gram flour still has a large proportion of protein. Whenever you want to add a nutty taste to your sauces, soups, or baked goods, then gram flour is the flour type for you. Besides which, you can easily substitute it for wheat flour in quite a lot of recipes unless otherwise indicated. Because it’s gluten-free and wheat-free, gram flour is quite digestible when compared to other wheat-flour variants such as soy flour.

Indian Culinary Uses of Gram Flour
A popular Indian street food pancake, the chila (also known as chilla), also uses gram flour batter. The Indian Subcontinent even uses it as a form of facial exfoliant (just mix it in a form of paste with yoghurt or water). Furthermore, it can be used as an egg substitute in vegan cooking (hardcore vegetarians don’t eat both animals and animal-derived byproducts) when mixed with an equal proportion of water.

Besan (which is what gram flour is known in India) can also be used in besan halwa, besan ke ladoo (gram flour dumplings), pudla (a thicker version of chilla), karpooravalli bajji (a dish that uses karpooravalli leaves that can either use besan or rice flour as its base), masala sev (a North Indian vegetarian snack that’s basically gram flour noodles) sweet boondhi (a fried snack that uses sugar syrup and a boondhi batter with the gram flour), sev laddu (small, balled-up foodstuffs made of sev, jaggery, and ghee), and bandar laddu (another dough-based recipe that requires cashew nuts, cardamom powder, and milk or water).

International Culinary Uses of Gram Flour
Many old-world recipes make extensive use of gram flour. The French, Spaniards, Italians, Turks, and Indians have quite a lot of recipes that call for gram flour instead of wheat flour. Gram flour is a popular component of international cuisines. For example, Persian Jews blend it with ground chicken to make gundi dumplings. Provence French cooks make socca, a popular bread in that region, with gram flour that they bake in wood-fired ovens. It’s also used in Indian pakoras as batter as well.

Italian cuisine also makes use of gram flour in the form of farinata. You can also roll parboiled potatoes into this flour prior to roasting in order to give them a nuttier taste, a crisp texture, and a golden brown color. Meanwhile, in other parts of South and Southeast Asia, gram flour can be utilized to create the following dishes: jidou liangfen, Dhokla, Burmese Bhujia, onion bhajjis, papadums, pakoras, and bonda.

The Indian Way of Baking with Gram Flour
Bangladesh and India use besan or gram flour as a staple of their dishes. This is a type of flour that’s milled from roasted chickpeas and accounts for the healthy texture and nut-like favor of Indian cuisine. As for baking with gram flour, the Indians use besan as an all-purpose flour for foods such as breads, pizza dough, cookies, and cakes. Besides which, this high-fiber, high-calorie, high-calcium, and high-protein flour that’s even healthier than your average wheat flour. At any rate, here are the methods that Indians use in baking with gram flour.

• Thicker and Less Rising: When substituting wheat flour by using gram flour the Indian way, be aware that you’ll be substituting thickness in texture for rising dough (i.e., gram flour cakes and breads rise less but have more texture).

• Sifting Twice: Because gram flour tends to rise less than wheat flour, it’ll be a good idea to sift the flour twice before adding it to your bread in order to allow more air into the recipe and ensure that you’ll end up with lighter baked goods with that distinctive nutty flavor and unique texture.

• Increased Yeast: Indians typically increase yeast content in wheat flour recipes by an additional fifty percent in order to help the loft of the baked goods. As a rule of thumb, if the recipe requires two teaspoons of yeast, add one extra.

• Increased Baking Soda: If the recipe doesn’t call for yeast, substitute baking soda to aid with the rising of the bread. Add a teaspoon of baking soda every one and a half cup of gram flour, because the bubbling soda should help create a lighter baked good while cooking.

Availability of Gram Flour
To reiterate, gram flour is a wonderful wheat-flour substitute because of its lack of gluten and its easy digestibility. Gram flour is typically found in your grocery store’s international foods section, especially the extensive ones that feature an Indian foods section. It’s also known as chana flour, besan, or chickpea flour. Quite a lot of groceries that have Indian foods and ingredients sell gram flour, since it’s a key ingredient in quite a lot of Indian cuisine.

There are also many health food stores that carry a multitude of non-wheat and gluten-free flours, which often include gram flour. If you can’t gram flour in your neighborhood, you can find it through a health food supplier or co-op in the Internet too. If you’re in India, obviously the flour is a lot more accessible in your local supermarkets and groceries.

Make Gram Flour at Home
If you’re finding it difficult to buy your own and are unwilling to buy it online, you can easily make your own gram flour. A one pound chickpea package will yield over two cups of gram flour. This gram flour recipe typically requires two cups of dried chickpeas and a food processor and blender. You can also use a coffee grinder or any machine that can pulverize the chickpeas until they turn into a smooth powder. You can buy dried peas and beans at most any supermarket without much trouble. Before grinding, remember to rinse the chickpeas with clear water first.

From there, let them dry overnight or spread the across a cookie sheet and toast them from fifteen to twenty minutes in a 400-degrees Fahrenheit oven. You can remove the chickpeas as soon as they are light brown in color and give off a toasted aroma. You should grind your dried chickpeas until they have the same powdery consistency of flour in small batches to optimize the entire grinding process. Afterwards, run the flour through a sieve to remove any large particles. Store your gram flour in a closed container inside your freezer or refrigerator.

Wheat Flour versus Gram Flour
Gram flour and wheat flour are completely different from each other. Each of these flours has their own advantages and features. Gram flour is mainly renowned for its zero-gluten and high protein content. As for wheat flour, it’s rich in Vitamin B and dietary fibers. As such, diabetics will be better off getting both the benefits of these popular flour variants. A combination of gram flour (25%), whole wheat flour (50%) and even soya flour (25%) should be included in a typical diabetic’s diet. All three are renowned for their positive effect on your blood sugar levels.

Gram Flour Substitution
A cup of wheat flour can be substituted with 7/8 gram flour for the majority of baked goods. When it comes to yeast-raised breads, you’ll need 4 parts wheat or spelt flour and 1 part chickpea flour, says food and culinary expert Margaret Wittenberg. You can use a one-to-one ratio substitution for flour thickening, specifically recipes that call for cornstarch or wheat flour. You can also use untoasted gram flour for dips such as hummus, fritters, and soaps as well as toasted gram flour for baking purposes.

People with celiac disease will definitely benefit from substituting gluten-rich wheat or barley flour with gluten-free gram flour because of their inability to digest gluten. Gluten can be deadly for these individuals, because it triggers an immune system response that tends to damage small intestine villi. This disease can even cause fatigue, anemia, and weight loss because its sufferers won’t be able to absorb nutrients from gluten-filled foods. A gluten-free diet is also recommended to patients with some behavioral problems, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, autoimmune disorders, multiple sclerosis, dermatitis herpetiformis, and wheat allergy.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 100gm
Calories from Fat 56
Calories 387
Total Fat 10%
Saturated Fat 3%
Sodium 3%
Potassium 24%
Total Carbohydrate 19%
Dietary Fiber 43%
Vitamin A 1%
Calcium 4%
Iron 27%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


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