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Also Known as
Bengal gram flour / chana dal flour
Description Besan is gluten-free flour used in the preparation of several sweet and savoury snacks including the world-famous laddoo! The super-fine flour prepared from pure chana dal, has an earthy aroma and binding nature that makes it a key ingredient in the batter used for preparing onion pakodas, traditional potato and vegetable bhajiyas, and some sweet dishes. It is also used in many desserts and battered dishes all over the world.
It is prepared from pure chana dal and is blended only till it is coarse. This is used mainly in Indian cuisine especially in making sweets. It is readily available in all stores and looks just like besan but the texture is different.
How to Select
• Choose yellow-coloured flour that is clean and free from insects.
• Purchase coarsely or finely ground besan, as desired.
• Check the label and buy the freshest stock as it imbibes a rancid smell over time.
• It is a versatile, gluten-free flour that is rich in protein.
• It is used for making onion, potato or banana fritters, which are sliced vegetables, dipped in a besan-based batter and deep-fried to a beautiful golden brown. They are known by names like pakoda and bhajiya, and loved by almost all Indians. They are made at home too, but far more popular at street side vendors! These fritters are a great accompaniment to tea.
• It is the base for other savoury snacks like dhokla, bonda, and sev, and used in making sweets like laddoo and Mysore pak.
• It forms the base for vegetarian omelettes.
• Besan is also blended into koftas and it is an important ingredient in kadhi, a yogurt-based soup that is frequently made in north Indian homes.
• Besan pancake is a quick and easy snack, made with a batter of besan perked up with spices of your choice, and finely diced green chillies, onions, tomatoes and optionally ginger too.
• Besan is used as a thickener in soups and sauces of all types, and may be used as egg is used in western cuisine to bind ingredients together.
• In other cuisines, the versatile flour is sometimes used in batters, soups, desserts and some bread too.
How to Store
• Store in a clean, dry and airtight container away from moisture, sunlight and infestation.
• If you wish to store for more than a month, it is better to store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
• But it always advisable to buy small, fresh lots as and when required.
• When you compare besan with standard plain flour, you can see that nutritionally, besan is far superior, especially since it contains more protein.
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