What Is the Chickpea Flour Used for Breads and Batters for Fried Foods in Pakistan Called?
Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan, is a versatile ingredient widely used in Pakistani cuisine, particularly for making breads and batters for fried foods. It is made by grinding dried chickpeas into a fine powder, which lends a unique flavor and texture to various dishes. In Pakistan, chickpea flour is an essential component in many traditional recipes and is highly valued for its nutritional benefits. Let’s explore more about this popular ingredient and its applications in Pakistani cuisine.
Chickpea flour plays a significant role in Pakistani bread-making traditions. It is commonly used to prepare a variety of breads, such as roti, paratha, and naan. When combined with wheat flour, chickpea flour adds a distinct nutty flavor and a slightly crumbly texture to the bread. This combination provides a delightful twist to the traditional bread recipes, making them more flavorful and nutritious.
In addition to bread, chickpea flour is extensively used as a batter for frying various foods in Pakistan. The most famous example of this is “pakora,” a popular snack made by dipping vegetables or meat into a chickpea flour batter and deep-frying until crisp. Pakoras are often enjoyed with chutneys or served as appetizers during festive occasions and tea time gatherings. The chickpea flour batter gives pakoras a light and crispy texture, while also enhancing their taste.
Moreover, chickpea flour is a key ingredient in making “besan ki roti,” a traditional flatbread that is gluten-free and highly nutritious. This bread is prepared by combining chickpea flour with spices, vegetables, and herbs, and then rolling it into thin rotis. Besan ki roti is commonly enjoyed with yogurt, pickles, or curries, and is a popular choice among individuals with gluten sensitivities.
Furthermore, chickpea flour is used for making “cheela” or “puda,” which are savory pancakes. These pancakes are prepared by mixing chickpea flour with water, spices, and vegetables, and then cooking them on a griddle. Cheela is a quick and nutritious breakfast or snack option, often served with chutneys or yogurt.
Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions about chickpea flour:
1. Is chickpea flour the same as regular flour?
No, chickpea flour is not the same as regular flour. Regular flour is made from wheat, while chickpea flour is made from dried chickpeas. They have different textures, flavors, and nutritional profiles.
2. Can chickpea flour be used as a substitute for regular flour?
Chickpea flour can be used as a substitute for regular flour in some recipes, especially in gluten-free baking. However, it may change the texture and taste of the final product, so it’s important to experiment and adjust the recipe accordingly.
3. Is chickpea flour healthy?
Yes, chickpea flour is highly nutritious. It is a good source of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. It is also gluten-free, making it suitable for individuals with gluten intolerances or celiac disease.
4. Where can I buy chickpea flour?
Chickpea flour is readily available in most grocery stores, health food stores, and online retailers. It is often sold in the baking aisle or ethnic food section.
5. Can chickpea flour be used for sweet recipes?
While chickpea flour is commonly used in savory dishes, it can also be used in sweet recipes like pancakes, cookies, and desserts. However, it may impart a slightly nutty flavor to the final product.
6. How long does chickpea flour last?
If stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, chickpea flour can last for several months. It is recommended to check for any signs of spoilage before use.
7. Can chickpea flour be used for deep frying?
Yes, chickpea flour is excellent for deep frying. Its high protein content helps create a crispy and golden exterior while retaining the moisture of the food being fried.
In conclusion, chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan, is widely used in Pakistan for making breads and batters for fried foods. It adds a unique flavor and texture to various dishes and is highly valued for its nutritional benefits. Whether used in bread-making or as a batter for frying, chickpea flour is a versatile ingredient that enhances the taste and quality of Pakistani cuisine.