Chickpea flour is super versatile and is used commonly in cooking. In this post, I share chickpea flour substitutes in case you run out of this staple.
In Indian cuisine, chickpea flour or besan is regularly used. From fritters or pakora to savoury curries like kadhi, from pancakes or cheelas to sweets and in baking, we use it commonly and regularly.
It is also used for coating vegetarian foods and meats before pan frying or tawa frying.
But there are times when you are making something and suddenly run out of chickpea flour.
In such times, it helps to know about these handy substitutes.
What is Chickpea Flour?
Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan, is a gluten-free flour made from ground chickpeas or black chickpeas.
It has a nutty flavor and fine texture. It is a staple in South Asian cuisines like India and in Middle Eastern cooking.
I cook with chickpea flour regularly, and you will always find it in my pantry.
Uses of Chickpea Flour
Before we talk about the substitutes, let us see how chickpea flour is used
1. Savory treats like onion pakodas or fritters, savoury pancakes like vegan omelette or besan cheela, as batter for coating paneer, tofu and vegetables for snacks. Even bread is coated with chickpea flour in this bread pakora.
2. Baking: Chickpea flour has a nice nutty flavour and is great in cookies, breads, muffins and cakes.
3. Crispy Coating: Besan or chickpea flour is used for breading or coating meat, fish and veggies before frying or shallow frying for a tasty outer coating.
4. Thickening: Chickpea flour is perfect to thicken curries, soups and stews. It is often mixed with yogurt for a tasty curry.
Here are 10 Best Alternatives for Chickpea Flour
1. Lentil/Dal Flour
Lentils or dals are commonly available. They are also close in texture, taste and nutrition to chickpea flour. You can prepare small batches of lentil flour by powdering them in your blender and using.
These work well in pakoras or fritters.
2. Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat flour or aata is a fairly good substitute to chickpea flour. It is made from whole wheat and includes bran that has fibre. It has a nice texture and can be used both in savoury dishes and in baking as a replacement for besan or chickpea flour.
But, it is not gluten free like chickpea flour.
3. Semolina or sooji
Semolina is made from wheat but is grainy in texture. It is used to make savoury porridge or Upma and sweet halwas.
Recipes which use chickpea flour as a coating or for breading like tawa fish fry can easily use rava or semolina as a substitute. The texture is different from chickpea flour but it provides a good coating.
4. Rice Flour
It has a neutral taste and is made by grinding rice. It also provides the same crisping effect that chickpea flour provides.
The colour is white as compared to creamish yellow of besan but otherwise it is a fairly decent substitute.
Use it in pancakes, pakoras and other savoury dishes.
5. All-purpose flour
Maida or all-purpose flour is a good substitute for chickpea flour in baking and savoury dishes like pancakes, cheela, cakes, cookies etc.
It has gluten and nutritionally it is deficient as compared to chickpea flour.
Use it in the same proportion as chickpea flour while substituting.
Cornstarch also known as cornflour is smooth in texture and has a neutral taste.
It is very useful in thickening soups and curries. It can be used in pakoras, vegetable balls and cutlets in place of chickpea flour. It crisps up nicely on being cooked.
Use it in the same proportion as chickpea flour.
7. Almond Flour
With a nutty taste and a dense texture, almond flour can be a good substitute for chickpea flour in baked goodies and pancakes.
It is denser and hence may need more liquid. It is also more expensive than chickpea flour.
8. Millet Flour
Sorghum (jowar) flour, finger millet flour (ragi flour) and amaranth flour are all great substitutes for chickpea flour.
They are gluten free and denser in texture.
They are very good in breads, muffins and pancakes. They are also nutritionally good.
9. Oat Flour
Oat flour is a good substitute for chickpea flour. It has a neutral taste and good texture. It is good to be used in savoury treats as well as in baking.
You can easily make oat flour by blending oats in your blender.
10. Cassava Flour
Cassava or tapioca flour is made by drying the root of cassava plant and powdering it.
It has a fine texture and even consistency. It works well as a gluten-free substitute for chickpea flour.