Garbanzo bean flour, as the name makes plain, comes from garbanzo beans or chickpeas and also goes by the names chickpea flour or gram flour. Unroasted garbanzo bean flour also is known as besan, besum or chana flour and forms a cornerstone of Indian, Pakistani and Greek baking. Like chickpeas themselves, the flour contains protein and displays a sweet and nutty flavor, while lacking gluten. A 1/4 cup of the flour contains 110 calories, including 15 calories from fat, as well as 18 g of carbohydrate, 6 g of protein, 2 g of fat and significant amounts of iron and calcium, notes leading manufacturer Bob’s Red Mill.
Make chickpea fries, known as panelle in Italy and panisse in France. Add 2 cups of garbanzo bean flour to 1 cup of water in a mixing bowl and blend; the mixture should be thick without being too dry, observes New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, a huge fan of garbanzo bean flour. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and an equal amount of pepper. Spread the mixture on a nonstick cooking pan and refrigerate overnight. Cut the batter into ranch fries shape -- larger than shoestring fries -- and fry in olive oil until crisp, Bittman recommends.
Cook regular crepes by mixing 1 cup of garbanzo bean flour with 1 cup of water, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. turmeric until smooth. Warm 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a skillet and pour 1/3 cup of the batter in a pan. Cook for two minutes and flip over. Stack the crepes on a plate as you make them and eat them on their own or serve with an Indian-themed soup or curry.
Prepare dessert crepes by blending 1 cup of garbanzo bean flour with 1 cup of all-purpose flour; add 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add 3 cups of water to make a smooth batter. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the skillet and cook until the crepe slides loosely on the hot surface; flip over with a spatula and cook the second side for 20 seconds. Fill with chopped strawberries or your favorite jam, roll the crepe up and spread the top with maple syrup.
Substitute garbanzo bean flour for soy flour to make breads. Focus on using the flour in recipes with strong flavors, such as applesauce, honey and cinnamon, as it has a more pronounced flavor than grain-based flours, advises Margaret Whittenberg in “New Good Food: Essential Ingredients for Cooking and Eating Well.” Combine garbanzo wheat flour with wheat or spelt flour for baking breads so that it comprises no more than 25 percent of the recipe, or combine with sorghum or tapioca flour to make gluten-free breads.
Add garbanzo bean flour to thicken soups, sauces and stews or to bind ingredients in veggie burgers, Wittenberg suggests. You don’t need to cook garbanzo bean flour to use it in the kitchen. You can mix 1 cup of the flour with 2/3 cup of water to create the equal of 1-1/2 cups of mashed, cooked chickpeas; proceed to substitute this for cooked or canned chickpeas in felafel or hummus recipes, Wittenberg suggests.
An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.