Chickpea flour, garbanzo flour, gram flour or besan are all names for the flour that is produced when chickpeas are ground. It is a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisines. Either raw or roasted chickpeas can be used, although the roasted variety is more flavorful. In the U.S. you can find this flour in oriental or middle eastern food markets. Even though it is high in carbohydrates, it is also rich in protein and fiber. Keep some in your pantry to thicken sauces, stews and any other recipes that might call for corn starch or flour.
It is also used in baking and the preparation of exotic sweets such as mysore pak. This is a common Indian treat that is similar to the Latino “dulce de leche”. The major difference is that dulce de leche is made from milk and sugar while mysore pak consists of ghee “clarified butter”, sugar and chickpea flour. The texture is unique, possibly from the use of the flour. It has an almost layered appearance that seems to melt in your mouth like cotton candy.
Ingredients for Mysore Pak:
2 cups ghee
2 cups sugar
1 and ½ cups water
Melt one cup of ghee in a pan. Add the chickpea flour and fry it over low heat until light brown. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and boil until it becomes a sticky syrup. Add chickpea flour and put over medium heat, stirring continuously. Add remaining ghee and thoroughly mix. When the mixture separates from the sides of the pot, pour into a greased tray and spread evenly. Cool and cut into squares after set.