Gram flour, not to be confused with Graham flour, also known as chana flour, besan or chickpea flour, is an ingredient used in Indian cuisine. It consists of ground chickpeas, and it is used in various foods such as curries and bombay mix. Vegetables deep-fried in Gram flour batter are known as pakoras. When onions are so fried they are known as onion bhajis. Gram flour contains carbohydrates and hence may not be suitable for low-carbohydrate diets, but it is suitable for gluten-free diets. It is also used as a facial exfoliant, something that is very popular in India and Pakistan, by making a paste out of it by mixing it with water and sometimes plain yogurt as well.
Chickpea flour is full of healthy nutrients. It’s a great alternative to refined wheat flour, as it’s lower in carbs and calories yet richer in protein and fiber. Research suggests that it may have antioxidant potential and could decrease levels of the harmful compound acrylamide in processed foods.
Chickpea flour is loaded with important nutrients.
One cup (92 grams) of chickpea flour contains::
- Calories: 356
- Protein: 20 grams
- Fat: 6 grams
- Carbs: 53 grams
- Fiber: 10 grams
- Thiamine: 30% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Folate: 101% of the RDI
- Iron: 25% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 29% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 38% of the RDI
- Copper: 42% of the RDI
- Manganese: 74% of the RDI
Chickpea flour is packed with fiber, as chickpeas themselves are naturally high in this nutrient.
One cup (92 grams) of chick pea flour provides about 10 grams of fiber — triple the amount of fiber in white flour. Fiber offers numerous health benefits, and chickpea fiber, in particular, has been associated with improved blood fat levels.
Further, chick peas are an excellent protein source for vegetarians/vegans, as they contain 8 of the 9 essential amino acids, the structural components of protein that must come from your diet.
Chickpea flour is an excellent substitute for wheat flour.
It has a better nutrient profile than refined flour, as it provides more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein but fewer calories and carbs.
Because it doesn’t contain wheat, chick pea flour is also appropriate for people with celiac, gluten intolerance, or wheat allergy. Furthermore, it behaves similarly to refined flours in fried and baked foods.
It is also beneficial as a substitute for other flours as the dense nature of flour can somewhat mimics the action of gluten in wheat flour when cooked by adding structure and chewiness.
To Substitute Chickpea Flour for All-Purpose Flour:
You can substitute up to half the amount of all-purpose flour called for in a recipe with chickpea flour. This works best for quick breads and yeast breads.