One of the staples of Indian cooking is chickpea flour, which is also called gram flour or besan. Because it is made of ground chickpeas, it is naturally gluten-free and high in protein. Chickpea flour is widely used in India and the rest of the Subcontinent, to make a variety of fried or baked foods. It is usually roasted first, to minimise its "beany" character and give it a pleasantly nutty flavour.
Pour 1 cup of chickpea flour into a heavy skillet, and bring it up to medium heat. Stir periodically with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula.
Monitor the colour and aroma of the flour. When the pan has come up to the correct temperature, the flour will begin to darken and develop toasty, nutty aromas.
Stir the flour continuously until it has all darkened to a rich medium brown, without any pale areas, and smells very aromatic. Pour the flour into a heatproof bowl, and repeat until you have roasted as much flour as you need.
Cool the roasted flour in its bowl until it reaches room temperature. Use immediately, or store the flour in an airtight container or zipper-seal bag.
A small amount of roasted chickpea flour works well in shortbread cookie recipes. Use equal parts roasted chickpea flour and rice flour for a gluten-free shortbread cookie.
Tips and warnings
- A small amount of roasted chickpea flour works well in shortbread cookie recipes. Use equal parts roasted chickpea flour and rice flour for a gluten-free shortbread cookie.