Rotis have been a staple food in many regions of the Indian subcontinent for decades. The basic raw material that is used to prepare chapatis or rotis is wheat. However, recent years have witnessed a rise in the number of gluten-intolerance cases, particularly in urban areas (1) and with it, the need to find a replacement for the beloved wheat roti.
Gluten is a family of proteins that is present in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. An intolerance to gluten includes different conditions like celiac disease, allergy to wheat and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. All of these conditions involve symptoms in varying intensities such as abdominal discomfort, bloating and diarrhoea. (1) Whether you would like to change up your staple diet or are looking for an agreeable substitute to wheat rotis, this is for you.
Besan is a healthy and versatile alternative to high carbohydrate wheat flour. It is made from ground Bengal gram or chana dal, is rich in nutrients and does not contain gluten.
Nutrition in Besan
● 20% protein content which is essential for growth and maintenance of cells. (2)
● 62% carbohydrate content to provide the body with the energy it requires for proper functioning. (2)
● Chickpeas are low GI foods with a GI of 6 and snacks made from chickpea flour may have a GI of 28–35.
● Low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium (3)
● Chickpeas are high in fibre, which may help improve blood lipid levels.
● Contains nutrients such as copper, folate, manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and calcium. (3)
● Chickpeas contain 8 of the 9 essential amino acids, the structural components of protein that must come from your diet.
Nutritious Besan and Rice Flour Dosa
Dosas are a popular south Indian delight and a quick alternative to rotis and chapatis. They are usually eaten with sambar dals, coconut chutney, potato sabzi or even curries. This besan and rice flour dosa is easy to prepare and involves 3 simple steps.
1. Mix besan or gram flour along with rice flour in a bowl. You could use brown rice flour if you’re watching your weight. Add a pinch of baking powder and some salt. Pour in some water and stir the mixture till smooth.
2. On a hot pan, pour a ladleful of the mixture and spread it in a spiral motion using the bottom of the ladle, from the centre moving outward. Make sure you do this quickly before the batter begins to set on the pan.
3. After it turns golden-brown on the bottom, you may flip over the dosa and cook it on the other side. Dosas are best enjoyed straight off the griddle.
You could change up the main ingredients but the process of preparing dosas remains the same. Moong flour dosa and ragi flour dosa are interesting variations to this dish that you could try.
Healthy Besan Chilla
Chillas are another substitute to the regular rotis and can be prepared with either a single base ingredient or a mix. Here’s a simple besan chilla recipe for you.
1. Add water, a bit of baking soda and salt to your gram flour or besan. Stir the mixture until smooth.
2. Season the batter with spices such as cumin, cardamom, turmeric powder and coriander, and add in fresh vegetables of your choice.
3. Spread a spoonful of the mixture onto a hot griddle or tava. Cook evenly on both sides and serve hot.
4. To make this healthier, you could also add ground oats to the batter and increase the fiber content of the chilla.
In case you are using whole grains, soak them in water for 2 hours. Drain the water and grind them in a mixer until smooth. You might have to add in some more water while grinding. Some delicious chilla varieties you could try are whole moong or moong flour chilla, besan-doodhi chilla and ragi flour chilla.
While it’s always a good idea to prepare a meal from scratch, we often do not have the time to do so. Try Tata Sampann’s Multigrain Chilla Mix or Moong Dal Chilla Mix. They are made from authentic ingredients subject to the highest quality checks. The flavours, texture and nutrition in these mixes are the closest you can get to a scrumptious home-cooked meal. Enjoy!
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