19 May 2016
Also called gram flour, chickpea flour is naturally gluten free, and it’s also high in protein, iron and fibre. It has also gone through very little processing being that it is just ground-up chickpeas that are either raw or roasted.
This flour is not very well known in South African cuisine but beyond the health benefits, chickpea flour is remarkably versatile and has a subtle flavor, which makes it great for cooking savory dishes as well as for baking sweet desserts. Cuisines from all over the world use chickpea flour as a staple, and its one flour that we feel is here to stay!
From fabulous dumplings, to fritters, flatbreads, biscuits and bakes it can even be used to thicken sauces and soups. You may have encountered chickpea flour unknowingly in a delicious “pakhora” an Indian vegetable fritter served in most indian restaurants. And if you are looking to avoid Soy then chickpea flour also makes a kind of tofu that is popular in Myanmar and quite easy to make. One universal way to use it — which you’ll also find in Indian cuisine — is to form it into thin crepes and top them with savoury toppings from veggies to lentils and tomatoes. You’ll find the flour in foods such as falafel and it also makes a great vegan fudge!
Here are a few delicious recipes for you to try:
Chickpea Flour Tofu
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric (optional)
3 cups water, divided
Place the chickpea flour in a bowl along with the salt and turmeric (if using). Whisk to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and whisk until smooth.
Lightly oil 20cm (8 inch) x 20cm (8 inch) square baking dish or cake tin.
Bring the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the chickpea flour and water mixture. Whisk over the heat until the mixture becomes really thick and glossy. This should take about 8 minutes.
Pour immediately into the prepared baking dish and leave to cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour. The longer it sits, the more water will drain out of the tofu and the firmer it will get.
Cut into whatever size and shape you like. This will depend on how you are going to use it. Store in an airtight container and use within 3 days.
Corn Pakhoras (fritters)
ingredients (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
1.5 cups corn kernels
1 and ½ cups chickpea flour
2 to 3 spring onions with greens or 1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 green chili, chopped (optional)
½ inch ginger, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder
salt as required
water as required
oil for deep or shallow frying
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients listed above with the corn kernels, except for the oil.
Add water and make a smooth flowing batter of medium consistency.
Heat oil in pan and drop spoonfuls of the batter in medium hot oil and fry the pakoras till golden and crisp.
drain on paper towels.
serve the corn pakoras hot with green chutney, mango chutney or tomato sauce.
Baked herby Chickpea crackers
1 cup chickpea flour
2 tbs olive oil
3-4 tbs water
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup dukkah or other sesame seed/herb seasoning of your choice
Preheat the oven to 180 celsius and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Place flour, salt, baking powder and the oil in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water 3 tbs at first and the 4th if necessary, and process until the mixture forms a ball.
Remove the dough from the food processor and place on a piece of baking paper and gently knead until smooth.
Flatten the dough and place another piece of baking paper on top and roll out the dough using a rolling pin to a thickness of 5mm (1/5 of an inch).
Use a cookie 5cm (2 inch) diameter cookie cutter to cut out the cookies and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle each cracker with dukkah/herbs and use your fingers to spread it out over the cracker. Run the rolling pin gently over the top of the crackers so that the dukkah/herbs gets slightly embedded in the dough.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely before placing in an air tight container, if not serving immediately.