Chickpea flour, also know as garbanzo flour, gram flour or besan is simply a flour made from ground dried chickpeas. It’s one of my favourite store cupboard essentials and something I use very regularly. Whenever I post a picture on Instagram and mention chickpea flour I find I get a lot of questions about how to use it so hopefully this “All About Chickpea Flour” post will be helpful for those of you new to the ingredient and perhaps give a few more recipe ideas to those already familiar with it. My love affair with chickpea flour began a few years ago when I first tried “socca”, a traditional French flatbread recipe. Since then, I’ve discovered its versatility. It’s high protein, gluten-free and supposed to be more digestible than other legume flours (like soy flour), so suitable for pretty much everyone.
It’s widely available these days, in Indian, Italian and French stores as well as health food stores and even some supermarkets. I tend to buy the Dove’s Farm brand as I can buy it locally but you can also make your own! I haven’t tried doing so yet as it is pretty cheap to just buy the flour readymade but if you’re into making things from scratch all you need is a high-powered blender, spice blender or food processor, and dried chickpeas. Process/blend on high for a few minutes then sift the fine flour to remove any unground chickpea pieces. This is definitely not an exhausted list as there are so many ways to use chickpea flour and I’m discovering more all the time.
Chickpea Flour Veggie Scramble
1. Vegan Omelettes and Scrambles I add chickpea flour to tofu omelettes to make them a little sturdier and easier to flip. You can also make vegan omelettes exclusively with chickpea flour like this one from the Fat Free Vegan. Newer to me, but even easier to make is the chickpea flour scramble which is essentially the same batter as for a chickpea flour omelette but scrambled up in a pan with any vegetables you like thrown in the mix. I’ve made a few variations on this including Mexican and Mediterranean style scrambles. Here’s a base recipe you can adjust to your tastes and what you have to hand.
2. Veggie Burgers. It works wonderfully as a gluten-free/ grain-free binder for veggie burgers. Just add a few tablespoons to your mix of beans, grains, veggies, etc.
Chickpea-Cauliflower Crustless Quiche
4. Pakora and Bhaji. Chickpea flour is used a lot in Indian cooking, often as a batter for pakora and bhaji. I’m a little wary of deep-frying so these Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras from Tess Challis’s “Radiant Health, Inner Wealth” via the taste space, were perfect for me.
5. Indian desserts. Chickpea flour isn’t just for savoury dishes. Try these vegan Besan Ladoo (sweet chickpea flour balls with cashews and raisins) from Vegan Richa.
5. Crackers. One of the easiest options for using chickpea flour as you don’t have to worry about raising agents or how “rustic” they look. When cooked, chickpea flour is pretty mild in taste so you can play around with different cracker flavours and add-ins.
Chunky Black Bean Dip and veggies on Simple Chickpea Flour Flatbreads
6. Socca/Savoury Pancakes. I mentioned that I discovered chickpea flour when making socca. This Italian flatbread is one of those tasty recipes which goes well with so many things. You can adjust the amount of water to make it thinner or thicker to your liking. Eat it all on its own, with various dips, use it for scooping up curries and wrapping around fillings or even for a gluten-free pizza base. This is the basic “recipe” I use. It can be made as a large pancake or several small ones.
- 1/2 C Chickpea Flour
- 1/4 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Pinch of chili flakes
- 1/2 C Water
- (Fresh herbs, other spices, etc.)
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Whisk in the water until you have a smooth batter.
- Pour desired amount of batter onto a lightly oiled pan over medium heat and cook until dry around the edges. Flip and cook through.
- Cook time will vary depending on the size of your flatbreads/pancakes
- Warning: RAW chickpea flour tastes awful so I don't advise taste-tasting your batter!
Simple Chickpea Flour Pancake topped with Roasted Peppers, Red Onions & Dukkah
7. Gluten-free Baking. Chickpea flour is often one of the flours in commercial all-purpose gluten-free flour mixes and you can combine it with your own favourite flours to make your own mix too. A good blog to check out for chickpea flour breads is The Edible Perspective. A couple of Ashley’s chickpea flour recipes I’ve made and enjoyed are the hearty Cinnamon-Coconut Raisin Bake and Socca Bake. These Chocolate Cupcakes also look incredible and are made entirely from chickpea flour!
8. Pancakes. You can make sweet pancakes with chickpea flour as well as savoury ones. I just use the same recipe as above, omitting the spices, using non-dairy milk instead of water and normally adding a little vanilla, cinnamon and sweetener. You can also simply combine chickpea flour with another flour for a higher-protein pancake, such as in this recipe from Choosing Raw.
9. Soup. This Leek and Chickpea soup uses chickpea flour to thicken it as well as whole cooked chickpeas.
10. Hummus! When you have no chickpeas cooked nor even a lonely can hanging out in your cupboards you can still get your hummus fix with a hummus made from chickpea flour instead of whole chickpeas.
Have you tried any of these ideas? How do you like to use Chickpea flour? If you’re new to Coconut and Berries, Please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (@coconutandberries), Google + and Twitter!