Besan or gram flour is one of the most versatile and healthy ingredients in the Indian kitchen. It can be used to prepare a variety of dishes for breakfast, snacks and main meals.
Besan is naturally gluten free, high protein and high fibre. 100 grams of besan provides nearly 44% of the daily protein requirement, 39% of dietary fibre and 27% of iron.
Traditionally in Indian cuisine, besan is the main ingredient used to make chillas, pakodas (bajjis), sweets like Mysore pak, missi roti, zhunka (an accompaniment to rotis in Marathi cuisine), delectable Gujarati snacks such as khaman dhokla and khandvi, just to name a few.
Here are some innovative recipes using besan. For best flavour and nutritional benefits, use Tata Sampann Besan.
Tomato Chilli Pancakes
Savoury and spicy pancakes, delicious on their own or served between two slices of bread. A similar dish is served in Udupi restaurants by the name of ‘tomato omelette’. Make a thick batter of besan with a mix of yogurt and water, pinch of baking soda, chillies, chopped tomatoes, onions, coriander and salt. Use this to make 3” thick pancakes. Serve with coriander and mint chutney.
Baked capsicum pakoras
Chop two large green capsicums into strips. Discard seeds. Toss this in a mix of 1/2 cup besan, salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder and 2 tsp oil. Toss well to coat the capsicum with the besan mixture. Lay on a baking tray in a single layer and bake at 190°C for 15 minutes until golden and crisp on the outside. This can also be done in an air-fryer. It makes a healthy snack that can be eaten as it is or with a yogurt-based dip.
Besan Gud Chillas
Take 1 cup besan in a bowl. Add ½ cup grated jaggery (gud) to this along with enough water to make a semi thick batter. Lightly toast fennel seeds in a pan. Crush to make a coarse powder and mix it in the batter. Allow this to sit for an hour. Prepare thin chillas using this batter. Serve with a spoonful of ghee.
This is inspired by a Rajasthani besan preparation called pitod. In a pan, whisk together 1 cup besan with ¼ cup yogurt and some water. Add salt, grated ginger, turmeric, red chilli powder and whisk well to get a thick smooth paste. Start cooking this on a low heat until the paste thickens. Pour into a lightly greased thali and allow to set. Cut into cubes on setting. Eat as it is with a tempering of mustard seeds or add to a curry.
Mix 1 cup besan, ½ cup Ragi flour and ¼ cup atta in a bowl. Add sesame seeds, ajwain, 1 -2 tbsp oil, salt and make a smooth firm dough. Allow this to rest for 30 minutes. Roll out into a thin sheet on the counter top. Cut into desired shapes. Lay out in a single layer on a baking tray. Poke a few holes on each cracker using a fork or toothpick. Bake in preheated oven at 190°C for 7-8 minutes. The baking time depends on the thickness of the crackers. Store in airtight container. Serve with hummus for a healthy snack.
Tried one of these recipes? Leave a comment below and share your feedback!
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