Learn about chickpeas and how to make fresh chickpea flour at home in just 10 minutes. This nutritious and gluten-free flour is a staple in many cuisines!
What is Chickpea Flour?
Chickpea flour is made from dry chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. A similar flour made from yellow gram lentils, which are split chickpeas is called gram flour. Split chickpea flour is called Besan in Hindi. You will find both of these commonly referred to as Chickpea flour.
Chickpea flour is popularly used in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other cuisines. It is used in the batter to make pakoras in India. In southern France, it is used to make Socca.
Chickpea flour is a great gluten-free substitute for wheat or all-purpose flour in many recipes, and can also be used to thicken sauces or curries.
Fresh flours are incredibly easy to make at home with a high-speed blender or a grain mill in just 10 minutes. They can also be very budget friendly, compared to buying organic flours from the store.
I understand that you might not be thrilled to go out and buy a high speed blender or a grain mill just to make flour. However if you already have one at home, make good use of it with also grinding some flours. We love our Nutrimill Harvest grain mill as we can make freshly milled whole wheat flour for baking breads, or fresh chickpea or lentil flour as we need them. Fresh always tastes so much better than store bought.
Let's talk about the difference between chickpeas and yellow gram lentils (chana dal). Then we will go over how to make chickpea flour.
What is the difference between Chickpeas and Chana Dal?
Chickpeas are a legume that come in several varieties. The one you commonly see are the white chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo Beans or Kabuli Chana. These chickpeas are popularly used to make Chana Masala or Chole. These white chickpeas when ground, form chickpea flour.
Now a days, this gluten-free flour is easily found in most supermarkets by the name of chickpea flour or garbanzo bean flour.
Another chickpea, most commonly used in India is called Kala Chana, which translates to Black Chickpeas. These have the same shape as garbanzo beans, but are smaller in color and have a dark brown or black skin. There are popularly used to make curry or salad.
When black chickpeas are hulled and split, we get Chana Dal. This yellow lentil is also called Bengal Gram Dal. The lentil soup made from this gram dal is also called as Chana Dal. When raw or roasted Chana Dal is ground to a flour, it is called Besan or Gram flour.
‘Chickpea flour’, though a misnomer, is the accepted English name for Besan. You will find this flour easily at international markets.
Chickpea Flour Nutrition
Chickpeas are high in protein and fiber as well as several minerals and B vitamins, chickpea flour has the same nutritious qualities.
Chickpea flour is gluten-free, and has lots of protein and fiber. This makes them a great choice for vegans and vegetarians. With 356 calories per cup of flour, there is 21g of protein, 10g of fiber, 53g of carbs and 6g of fat.
How to make Chickpea Flour?
Place the dried chickpeas in the grain mill and set it to a fine flour setting. Then start the grain mill, and see the magic of the perfectly milled flour.
If using a high-speed blender such as Vitamix, use the dry grains jar, cover and process on high speed for two or three minutes until a powdery flour forms. If you are making large quantity of flour, work in batches.
I use dry chickpeas to make the flour. You can roast your chickpeas lightly, and cool them completely before grinding. For most recipes where we cook or bake the flour anyway, this step is not required.
When I used the Nutrimill to make the flour, it had the perfect consistency and there were no large or hard bits. So I did not have to sift the flour. However if using another method, use a fine mesh sieve to sift the flour to separate the fine flour from the bits that did not process well.
Any large bits that did not process well, you can return them back into the blender and process again. You may need to repeat this step once or twice more to get all pieces finely ground.
The same process works to make flour from chickpeas or from bengal gram lentils.
As you can see below, you won't even notice much difference in color or texture in the flour. That said, the black chickpeas are nuttier in flavor, so the flour will have a more robust flavor to them.
And there it is – freshly made chickpea flour in just 10 minutes!
This flour can be used right away, or you can store it in an airtight container and keep in a cool dry place.
Where to buy Chickpea Flour?
If I have still not convinced you to make chickpea flour at home, you can buy it from the store.
You can easily find it in international markets such as Indian grocery stores by the name of besan or gram flour.
In major grocery chains, it is commonly found in the baking aisle for gluten-free flours. One of the popular brand is Bob's Red Mill garbanzo bean flour.
Recipes with Chickpea Flour
Here are a few recipes where I have used Chickpea flour (besan). Next on my list to try is Socca. We enjoyed it in Nice, France couple of years back 🙂
How to make Chickpea Flour (Besan)
- 1 cup Chickpeas (Chole/Garbanzo beans) or Chana Dal
- Add the dried chickpeas to a grain mill and set to fine setting. Turn on the machine to get the finely ground chickpea flour.
- If using a high-powered blender, add the chickpeas and turn on. Increase the speed to the machine's maximum. Blend until the chickpeas have ground as finely as possible.
- Using a fine mesh sieve, sift the flour into a bowl to separate any large bits. Return these hard bits back to the blender and process again. You may need to repeat this step to get all pieces finely ground.
- Use the freshly flour or store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.