Healthy Indian Besan Snacks

This article is authored by Bonny Shah. Bonny is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator.

A versatile and extremely healthy staple, besan holds an important place in every Indian kitchen. It is a good source of protein, carbohydrates and dietary fibre. Whether you’d like to make yourself a wholesome breakfast or a delicious snack, besan has got you covered.

Nutrition in Besan


Besan or gram flour is prepared from ground Bengal gram or chana dal and is a rich source of protein and carbohydrates. It contains 22 grams of protein and 58 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams. (1) Proteins play a major role in the growth and maintenance of cells while carbohydrates provide your body with the energy it requires to function properly.

Besan is a good source of vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and manganese. Along with having lesser calories, it is also a low-GI food that doesn’t impact blood sugar levels drastically. Besan contains fibre, protein and essential amino acids as well. As it is higher in protein than wheat flour, it may help decrease hunger. It is, however, important to pick besan which is free of contaminants. Try Tata Sampann Besan which is prepared from 100% unpolished chana dal.

In addition to being healthy, besan is the main ingredient in a number of delicious Indian snacks, dhoklas and idlis being the most common. Here we have put together a few ideas to help you whip up some healthy and wholesome snacks.

A Healthier Pakora

Eat Breakfast

India welcomes the monsoon with its celebratory 'garma garam pakoras'. There's nothing more welcoming than a plate of hot pakoras with ketchup or a mint chutney on the side. And you can choose to steam them instead of deep-frying them. Mix besan with chillies, salt, pepper and coriander and turmeric for the batter. Add water as required. You can dip potatoes, onions or even chopped prawns into the batter and then steam or fry them. If you do choose to fry them, Tata Sampann's besan is known to absorb more water resulting in lesser oil absorption.

Besan Oats Chilla

If you're looking for a twist to your regular besan chilla, try adding some oats to it. Oats is a well-known source of fibre, especially beta glucan. It is also high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants such as manganese, phosphorus, copper, B vitamins, iron, selenium, magnesium, and zinc. Some of the health benefits of oats include lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Not only is it healthy but it keeps you feeling full for longer.

Mix water into equal portions of ground oats and besan along with some onions, garlic, tomatoes, turmeric powder, coriander and cumin to create a smooth batter. Spread this out into a thin layer on a pan and fry. Serve hot with either chutney or ketchup on the side.

Besan ka Sheera

Besan ka sheera is an age-old Indian recipe believed to relieve common colds. It is made by roasting the besan and then simmering it with milk, turmeric and black pepper. Turmeric and black pepper are known to have anti-inflammatory properties which are useful to treat every day ailments. It is also full of delightful flavours that could help lift your spirits when you feel below the weather. Yum!

Can’t wait to try these snacks? Have a way to spruce up these recipes? Leave a comment below if you enjoyed exploring any of these ideas.


The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus [NCBI]


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