Flour – chickpea flour used for?


I bought a bag of chickpea flour once thinking (erroneously) that I could use it to make hummus. I've since bought dried chickpeas and made hummus the "right" way… but now I have no idea what to do with my unopened bag of chickpea flour. What is it generally used for?

Now, I know it can be used as a substitute for eggs (in vegan baking) and flour (for gluten-free cooking), but I'd rather not use it as a substitute for something better if I don't have to, so I'm looking for recipes where chickpea flour is the preferred ingredient.

Best Answer

Chickpea flour (gram flour, besan) is very useful in Indian cookery.

The most common use in the West is probably for making bhajis and pakora. The most popular of which are Onion Bhajis, very popular in the UK. They are essentially an spiced onion fritter, shaped in either discs or balls. Any vegetables can be used to make pakora (which is essentially the same thing) or bhajis, but spinach (sag pakora), aubergine (us eggplant, brinjal bhaji), potato (aloo pakora) or cauliflower (gobi pakora) are the most common, sometimes in combination.

Onion Bhajis

Gram flour is also used for making poppadoms (also papad, papadum, a crisp fried pancake, served as an accompaniment to meals with chutney.

Poppadoms with Chutney

One of the more commonly seen uses is in chevda (sometimes chivda), or as we call it in the UK usually Bombay Mix (I believe it is called Punjabi Mix in the US). A mixture of dried savoury snacks, coated in spice. One of the primary ingredients is sev, a dried noodle made from gram flour. Mixtures predominantly composed of sev are called sev mamra.

Chevda - Bombay Mix

There are also a number of Indian sweets made with besan.

Besan Barfi (barfi is something akin to fudge, made with condensed milk):

Besan Barfi

Besan Ladoo (little sweet balls):

Besan Ladoo

NB. You can use it as an egg substitute in vegan cookery, but soya flour works better for the same purpose and, in my opinion, has less associated flavour.