Are you confused about the difference between gram flour and besan? You’re not alone.
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but are they really the same thing? In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between these two types of flour.
Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, understanding the nuances of these ingredients can make all the difference in your recipes.
So, let’s dive in and uncover the truth about gram flour and besan.
Is Gram Flour And Besan Same?
The short answer is yes, gram flour and besan are the same thing. Both terms refer to a type of flour made from ground chickpeas, specifically Bengal gram or chana dal.
However, there is some confusion around the use of these terms. In some regions, gram flour is used to refer to a coarser version of the flour, while besan is used for a finer version. In other regions, the terms are used interchangeably.
Regardless of the terminology, gram flour/besan is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine and is used in a variety of dishes such as curries, fritters, and bread.
What Is Gram Flour?
Gram flour, also known as besan or chickpea flour, is a type of flour made from ground chickpeas. Specifically, it is made from Bengal gram or chana dal, which are split brown chickpeas. The process involves removing the outer layer of the chickpea and grinding the inner seed into a fine powder.
Gram flour has a distinct nutty flavor and is commonly used in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and other cuisines. It is often used as a gluten-free substitute for wheat or all-purpose flour in many recipes, and can also be used to thicken sauces or curries.
While gram flour and besan are often used interchangeably, some regions differentiate between the two based on the coarseness of the grind. However, in general, they refer to the same type of flour made from ground chickpeas.
What Is Besan?
Besan is a type of flour made from ground chana dal or split brown chickpeas. It is commonly used in Indian cooking and has a finer texture compared to other types of chickpea flour. Besan is used in a variety of dishes, including pakoras, curries, and sweets. It has a nutty flavor and is a popular gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. While gram flour and besan are often used interchangeably, it’s important to note that there may be slight variations in texture and flavor depending on the region and the specific type of chickpea used. Overall, besan is a versatile ingredient that adds a unique flavor and texture to a variety of dishes.
Uses Of Gram Flour And Besan In Cooking
Gram flour/besan is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of dishes in Indian cuisine. Here are some of the most common uses of gram flour/besan in cooking:
1. Pakoras and fritters: Gram flour/besan is a key ingredient in the batter used to coat vegetables, chicken, or seafood before deep-frying. The flour helps to create a crispy, golden-brown coating that is both flavorful and satisfying.
2. Chillas and pancakes: Gram flour/besan can be mixed with water and other ingredients like spices and vegetables to make savory pancakes or chillas. These are often served for breakfast or as a snack.
3. Curries and gravies: Gram flour/besan is often used as a thickener in curries and gravies. It helps to create a smooth, creamy texture and adds a nutty flavor to the dish.
4. Sweets and desserts: Gram flour/besan is used in many popular Indian sweets and desserts like laddoos, barfi, and halwa. It helps to bind the ingredients together and adds a unique flavor and texture.
5. Bread and flatbreads: Gram flour/besan can be used to make a variety of bread and flatbread recipes like missi roti, thepla, and besan toast. It adds a nutty flavor and helps to create a soft, fluffy texture.
6. Egg substitute: Gram flour/besan can be used as an egg substitute in vegan recipes like omelets, quiches, and baked goods. When mixed with water, it creates a thick batter that can be used in place of eggs.
Tips For Using Gram Flour And Besan In Recipes
1. Choose the right type of flour: As mentioned earlier, gram flour and besan are made from different types of chickpeas, which can affect the texture and consistency of your dish. Make sure to use the type of flour specified in your recipe or choose the one that suits your needs.
2. Use as a binding agent: Gram flour and besan are great binding agents and can be used to replace eggs in vegan recipes. They work well in dishes like veggie burgers, fritters, and meatballs.
3. Add water gradually: When using gram flour or besan in recipes, it’s important to add water gradually to achieve the right consistency. These flours tend to absorb more water than regular wheat flour, so start with a small amount and add more as needed.
4. Experiment with different dishes: Gram flour and besan can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Try using them in pancakes, pizza crusts, or even as a thickener for soups and stews.
5. Make your own flour: If you can’t find gram flour or besan at your local grocery store, you can easily make your own at home. Simply grind dried chickpeas in a food processor until you get a fine powder.
6. Store properly: Gram flour and besan should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture from affecting its texture and flavor.
By following these tips, you can use gram flour and besan effectively in your recipes and create delicious dishes that showcase the versatility of this ingredient.