How to make your own chickpea/gram/besan flour
Chickpeas are super-versatile and nutritious little munchkins; an excellent source of protein, iron, folate, phosphorus and dietary fibre. I use a lot of them in my cooking, but they’re often in their ground up state (Mr MaMT has an aversion to chickpeas in their whole form – they remind him of molars!?!). Thermomix of course grinds them down reasonably well, but oh the NOISE! I have a pair of ear muffs for this purpose …
I either buy the dried ones from an organic co-op or from an Indian grocery store. However, on visiting my local store (well, 10 miles away) recently, I spied some gram flour (aka besan/chickpea flour) and noticed the price at £1.79 for 2kg, compared to £3.99 for a 2kg “brick” of dried chick peas! I make a lot of my gluten free breads, flour blends, sometimes wraps and even crackers, with a ground chickpea component, but I thought I might give up on the dried chick peas – save my blades from too much harsh grinding – use the flour instead and save a small fortune too!
Anyway, I still had 3kg+ dried chick peas in the pantry, so set about soaking them, then cooking one batch at a time in the slow cooker. The first batch I cooked overnight on a low setting. The next day, they were still a little firm, but cooked, nonetheless. Whilst the second batch of soaked chick peas went into the slow cooker and cooked all day, I whizzed up my first lot of chickpeas (6 portions of 250g) in batches, THEN dehydrated for 5 or so hours and ground each batch into a beautiful, more easily digestible chickpea flour – way better than simply grinding dried chickpeas. Yes, it’s quite a process, which can only make me wonder why the flour is so much cheaper than the chickpeas themselves?
Meanwhile, having had the second batch slow cooking on high all day, these chickpeas were much better cooked. I then weighed into 250g portions in jars, used one to make peanut butter choc chip cookie dough bites and froze the remainder. I now have about 2kg worth of cooked chickpeas in the freezer to use up, as and when.
Now, I wonder why I haven’t bought the flour version before? I suppose I’ve been unsure of whether the gram/besan flour is indeed 100% gluten free, though there isn’t a disclaimer on the packaging of the bought version to say otherwise. This is unlike juwar flour, the suppliers of whom I rang and who couldn’t guarantee GF due to the equipment being used for non GF. I therefore buy the jowar/juwar seeds and grind myself. It’s all a bit of a punt, but given the fact that chickpea grinding freaks me out a tad, I’m going to buy the flour version, having located a good source now …
Of course, when the whim takes me, I can always make my own … It takes a couple of days with all the soaking, cooking and dehydrating, but really, there’s little real “hands on” time required. Whether you think it’s worth the effort and extra cost in electricity for 600g (after starting with 1500g cooked chickpeas), is another matter! Here’s how to do it anyway:
Soak chickpeas for 12-24 hours with some lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or yoghurt whey. Change the water a couple of times and add some more acidity. This post and this one are great to read on soaking/cooking legumes.
After soaking, drain and rinse, then pop into a slow cooker, cover with water and cook overnight on high. Alternatively, use this stove-top method or simply cook in your Thermomix. See how in this Forum thread.
Next day, drain, rinse and pop into the TM bowl, 250g at a time and process 5-10 seconds / speed 9.
Spread this batch onto a dehydrator tray (or onto a baking sheet )
Continue with the rest of the cooked chickpeas until your dehydrator (or oven) trays are full. I did 1kg at a time.
Dehydrate at 60 degs for approximately 4-5 hours, until dry and crumbly. Alternatively, pop into the oven on 40-60degs (guessing).
250g cooked chickpeas renders 100g flour or thereabouts.
Pop 250g batches of the dried, crumbly mix into the TM bowl, and process 1 minute / speed 9.
Incidentally, if you have a big batch of cooked chick peas and need some ideas on what to do with them, or how to include them in your diet, check out this list. Oh, and if you haven’t already, be sure you make the peanut butter choc chip cookie dough bites!