Besan, or chickpea flour, would have to be one of my all-time favourite gluten-free flours. I've been using it for as long as I can remember - even before I knew what gluten was!
It is traditionally used in Indian and Middle-Eastern recipes and I adore it. It has a lovely nutty flavour, and adds depth and body to your recipes when you use it. I wouldn't bake a cake entirely from besan as it would come out a bit heavy, but I do use when I make pancakes and waffles for my kids, at about a 1:2 ratio with regular gluten free flour (ie I use besan for 1/3 of the total amount that the recipe calls for, and regular gluten-free flour for the remainder).
Where it really excels though, is as a coating. Whenever I make chicken nuggets or fish fingers, besan is my go-to. Rather than messing about with the whole process of dusting with flour, and egg wash, and then coating in breadcrumbs, I simply dust the chicken or fish pieces in the besan and I'm good to go. It gives a lovely crust whether you fry them in a pan, or bake them in the oven.
Nutrition-wise, chickpeas are an absolute powerhouse! Not only are they high in protein, but they contain more iron than beef and more folate than spinach! They are also a fantastic source of Magnesium (one of my favourite minerals), Manganese, Potassium and are one of the few food sources of the trace mineral Molybdenum which is important for maintaining bone density. They also contain a fair amount of Calcium and Phosphorus. What more could you ask for??
Besan is getting easier to find now. Both of the major Supermarkets here carry it, although it seems to move around the store. Sometimes it's in the health food aisle, sometimes in the Asian groceries with the Indian foods, and other times it's in the flour aisle!
I used to buy it from a wonderful Indian Grocer up in Brisbane where I could buy it in bulk at a fantastic price, as I'm bit of a frugal shopper, and baulk at the supermarket prices. Now that I don't go to Brisbane as often, I've had to buy it locally, which is why I started making it myself. As you'll see in the video below, it literally takes only 1 minute - yep, just 60 seconds to make a batch, and it costs less than half of what you pay it in the Supermaket! All you need is a good quality blender or food processor (and possibly some ear plugs).
So check out the video, and give it a go. You'll have a nutritious, delicious tasting and affordable gluten-free flour to add to your pantry!
Cindy Kennedy is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner & Clinical Herbalist who lives and breathes Hashimoto’s on a personal and professional level. Her true passion lies in turning gluten and dairy-free living from a restricted diet into a delicious and abundant family-friendly lifestyle.