Besan Flour

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

besan flour a principal product of the chickpea. Because the chickpea is known in S. India as Bengal gram, besan flour is also known as gram flour or Bengal gram flour. Whichever name is used, it is a basic ingredient in Indian cookery. It is made by milling very finely what is called channa (or channa dal), the small Indian chickpea, husked and split. Its protein content is very high, its texture fine, and its colour pale yellow.

Besan flour mixed with water provides batter coatings for fritters such as pakora. It is the most common basis of the poppadom. It is used for various savoury noodles, and plays a part in certain sweetmeats. Among these are bundia (or boondi, bonde), tiny confections made from a sweetened batter incorporating besan flour (or other pulse meal) dribbled through a perforated ladle into hot oil. The mixture forms pea-sized balls which are coated in syrup.