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Mar 19, 2008 09:27 AM

Bob's Red Mill chickpea flour--can it be used in any recipe calling for chickpea flour, gram or besan?

On a whim, I bought a bag of Bob's Red Mill chickpea flour. I've never used any type of chickpea flour before and have done a bit of googling for information and recipes. One recipe for chickpea flour pancakes I came across in a blog cautioned that the Bob's Red Mill product is not interchangeable with products labelled gram flour or besan, because it's made with a different type of chickpea. Is this correct?

I would also appreciate any suggestions for using the flour. I found a farinata recipe I would like to try, assuming that this flour will work. I should say that I'm not especially interested in recipes that use bean flour as a lower-carb or gluten-free replacement for all-purpose flour, unless that's the only thing that this type of chickpea flour is suitable for. Thanks.

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  1. I'd stick with the instructions. I find that gram flour tastes different from the European-style chickpea flour found in health food shops.

    I make a thin, crispy version of farinata, from the River Cafe Green cookbook. Basically 300g chickpea flour whisked with 1 litre room temp water, seasoned and left to stand for 2 hours. Then stir in 110ml olive oil. Take an overnproof skillet or paella pan, pour in 1 TBS olive oil, put in preheated 230C/450F oven until barely smoking. Pour in the batter to depth of 1cm, return to oven, bake 10 min until edges are crispy.

    They put rosemary or sliced artichokes in with the batter; I enjoy it with caramelized onions and garlic. It's a rich but yummy start to a meal.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Gooseberry

      Garbanzo flour is different from besan. Can't recall right off what it is, but will find out and post asap.

      Also, Gooseberry, is your recipe for farinata similar to the socca they serve in Nice, France? Sounds like it.

      1. re: oakjoan

        may be helpful about variety of chickpeas used in besan (smaller, different variety than the larger, european or mediterranean chick peas we are familiar with eating here):

        slight variation in info:

        i think also in besan, the chickpeas are toasted first, iirc. that doesn't seem to be the case with bob's, but i don't know.

        i can't imagine there would be a huge difference in using it.

        1. re: oakjoan

          I've made socca several times. However I've cooked them like crepes, making them smaller, and much thinner, than Gooseberry's description.


          1. re: paulj

            I make them in between sized, and often use them like pizza crusts.

          2. re: oakjoan

            Hi Oakjohn, It's been several years since I was last in Nice (though my memories of midnight beach promenades and the Marc Chagall gallery are still strong!). I did eat socca, but I remember it as almost a chickpea version of grilled polenta squares.

            Although the recipe in River Cafe Green gives a maximum thickness of 1cm (1 inch=2.5cm for those working in inches), the picture of it looks much crisper. I use the picture as my guide when making it, and pour it quite thin, slightly thicker than a crepe. It puffs a tiny but in the oil, and the cooked farinata is about 2-3 mm thick.

            Since it's just the two of us at home, and we usually make the farinata as a starter nibble, I make half the amount of the batter given above, and I make it in a small, seasoned blue steel frying pan. I wipe it out and reoil between batches. Half the amount given above makes about three IIRC.
            They should be eaten directly after leaving the oven; I put them on a cupcake cooling rack to keep them going soft while we eat them, which keeps them crisper than putting them on a plate, where the underside steams.

            So the short answer is, you could do it thicker, more like socca, but I love the crispiness of a thinner 'cake.

        2. I don't really like th Bob's Red Mill chickpea flour, but I love besan from my Indian grocery. It is sweeter I think - made from the smaller garbonzos - although I don't know the real difference or if I just have gotten older bags of Bob's red mill. I use besan for all my needs - I have made farinata with both, but much prefer it with besan. But it will work with the Bob's red mill flour too. I think you can make things that call for besan, they may just taste a bit more beany.

          1. Thanks all. I'm not at all adverse to beaniness, but I wonder if toasting the flour would help.

            Gooseberry's farinata sounds fabulous. I love the idea of a crepe-like version as well, or using it as a pizza base.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Double Gloucester

              let us know if you toast and taste test. (say that fast 3X).

            2. Tonight, I made a vegetable pakora recipe - the batter was chickpea flour - bought it at Indian grocer for cheap. :)

              Anyway, it really had a cornmeal batter consistency. Some pakora recipes called for a rice & besan flour..I did only besan. (on a weird diet.).
              Chopped onion & zucchini and fried it in the dutch oven.

              I would use Chickpea flour for frying anything now...esp. some fried green tomatoes.
              The key is getting the oil hot enough..a challenge for any home cook sometimes..