Are you a fan of Nigerian cuisine? Have you ever come across a recipe that calls for gram flour, but you’re not quite sure what it’s called in Nigeria?
Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore the various names for gram flour in Nigeria and its many uses in Nigerian cooking.
From facial exfoliants to vegan cooking, this versatile flour has a lot to offer. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of gram flour in Nigerian cuisine.
What Is Gram Flour Called In Nigeria?
In Nigeria, gram flour is commonly known as “chickpea flour” or “garbanzo bean flour”. It is also referred to as “besan” in some regions. This gluten-free flour is made from ground chickpeas and has a nutty flavor that adds a unique taste to Nigerian dishes.
What Is Gram Flour?
Gram flour, also known as chickpea flour, is a finely ground powder made from cooked and roasted chickpeas. It is a pale yellow flour with a silky texture and is commonly used as the main ingredient in Indian cuisine, as well as across some Asian, Middle Eastern, and European dishes. Gram flour is packed with health benefits and provides minerals and nutrients that are vital for the human body to grow and function properly. It contains more protein than other flours and is naturally gluten-free, making it a popular choice among those with food allergies or special dietary needs.
The process of making gram flour involves grinding dry chickpeas into a fine powder. This flour is widely used in Indian cuisine to make deep-fried dishes such as bonda, pakora, and bajji, which are coated with a batter made of this flour, egg, and water. It is also used to make crispy Indian flatbreads called papadum. In other international cuisines, gram flour is used to make an Italian flatbread called farinata, a crepe-like French-Provencial flatbread called socca, and Sicilian fritters called panelle.
In Nigeria, gram flour is commonly used in cooking and baking. It is often added to soups and stews to thicken them or used as a binding agent in batters. The nutty flavor of gram flour adds a unique taste to Nigerian dishes such as akara (bean cakes), moi moi (steamed bean pudding), and masa (rice cakes). Gram flour can easily be found in most convenience stores across Nigeria or made at home by grinding dry chickpeas into a fine powder.
The Many Names Of Gram Flour In Nigeria
Apart from the commonly used names, there are a few other names that gram flour goes by in Nigeria. In some parts of the country, it is known as “kulikuli flour”, which is named after a popular Nigerian snack made from roasted peanuts and spices. Another name for gram flour in Nigeria is “miyan wake”. This name is more commonly used in the northern regions of Nigeria and refers to a thick soup made from gram flour and meat.
Gram flour is a versatile ingredient that is used in many Nigerian dishes, including soups, stews, and snacks. It is an essential ingredient in making popular Nigerian snacks like akara (bean cakes) and mosa (plantain fritters). Additionally, gram flour is used to make a popular Nigerian soup called “miyan taushe”, which is made with pumpkin and meat.
Traditional Nigerian Dishes That Use Gram Flour
Gram flour, or chickpea flour, is a versatile ingredient that is widely used in traditional Nigerian cuisine. Here are some popular Nigerian dishes that use gram flour:
1. Akara: Akara is a popular Nigerian breakfast food made from black-eyed peas and gram flour. The mixture is blended together and deep-fried until golden brown. It is typically served with pap (cornmeal porridge) or bread.
2. Moi Moi: Moi Moi is a steamed bean pudding that is a staple in Nigerian cuisine. It is made from black-eyed peas, onions, peppers, and spices, along with gram flour. The mixture is steamed in banana leaves or foil until it becomes a soft, flavorful pudding.
3. Gbegiri: Gbegiri is a popular Nigerian soup made from brown beans and gram flour. The beans are cooked until they are soft, then blended with onions, peppers, and spices. The mixture is then simmered with palm oil and served with Amala (yam flour) or Eba (cassava flour).
4. Masa: Masa is a traditional northern Nigerian snack made from rice and gram flour. The mixture is fermented overnight and then fried until golden brown. It is typically served with a spicy tomato sauce.
5. Kuli Kuli: Kuli Kuli is a popular snack made from ground peanuts and gram flour. The mixture is seasoned with spices and deep-fried until crispy. It is often eaten as a snack or used as a garnish for soups and stews.
These are just a few examples of the many traditional Nigerian dishes that use gram flour. Whether you’re making Akara for breakfast or Gbegiri for dinner, this versatile ingredient adds a unique flavor and texture to any dish.
Health Benefits Of Gram Flour
Gram flour, also known as chickpea flour or besan, is a nutritious ingredient that offers several health benefits. Here are some of the key benefits of incorporating gram flour into your diet:
1. Rich in Folate: Gram flour is an excellent source of folate, a B-vitamin that plays a crucial role in preventing spinal cord defects during pregnancy. One cup of chickpea flour provides 101% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for folate.
2. Lowers Cholesterol: Regular consumption of gram flour can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body. The soluble fiber in gram flour helps keep cholesterol levels under control, promoting healthy blood circulation and proper functioning of the heart.
3. High in Protein: Gram flour is a plant-based protein source, making it an excellent choice for vegans or anyone on a plant-based diet. One cup of chickpea flour contains approximately 22 grams of protein, which is more than one-fifth of its own weight.
4. Rich in Minerals: Gram flour is packed with several essential minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. These minerals play important roles in various bodily functions, such as bone health, energy production, and immune system function.
5. Gluten-Free: Gram flour is naturally gluten-free, making it a safe alternative for people with gluten allergies or sensitivities.
Incorporating gram flour into your diet can offer several health benefits and add a unique flavor to your dishes. Try using chickpea flour to make pancakes, bread, or even as a coating for fried foods.
Non-Culinary Uses Of Gram Flour In Nigeria
Aside from its culinary uses, gram flour has a variety of non-culinary uses in Nigeria. One common use is as a natural beauty ingredient. Gram flour can be combined with other natural ingredients like turmeric, milk, and honey to create face masks that help brighten and even out skin tone. It is also used as a natural exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.
In addition, gram flour is used as a hair care ingredient in Nigeria. It can be mixed with water or other natural ingredients like yogurt and lemon juice to create hair masks that help strengthen and nourish hair. The high protein content in gram flour helps repair damaged hair and promote healthy hair growth.
Gram flour is also used in traditional medicine practices in Nigeria. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used topically to reduce swelling and inflammation. It is also used as a natural remedy for acne and other skin conditions.