Now that vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular, there are many more people that are looking for substitutes for different types of food, like meat, eggs, and dairy.
There are lots of different substitutes to choose from when it comes to baking products, and people have turned to looking at different flour alternatives to use.
One popular flour alternative is gram flour, which is commonly used instead of regular white flour. This comes from South Asian cuisine, and it is made up of split brown chickpeas or chana dal.
This type of flour is yellow and powdery in appearance, and gram flour has the ability to provide various tastes when it is used in different dishes.
Although, if you have run out of gram flour, or you can’t seem to get your hands on any, then you might be left searching for a gram flour substitute. Thankfully, there are a few different types of flour that you can use instead of gram flour, and we are going to be talking about them in this article.
What is Gram Flour?
Gram flour is often confused with graham flour, but you should know that these are not the same thing. Graham flour is made from wheat. On the other hand, gram flour is made out of besan, which is a very close relative of lentils.
As well as this, it has various earthy flavors, and it is a great type of flour for people with coeliac or gluten sensitivities to use. Gram flour is gluten free and it is also really high in protein in comparison to other types of flour.
Gram flour is also full of essential minerals and vitamins, like fat, iron, fiber, and phosphorus. When you are using gram flour as part of a recipe, the besan will be able to decrease the formation of unhealthy compounds in a dish.
If you want to learn about some of the best substitutes for gram flour, it can be helpful to learn more about different types of flour and what they can best be used for. This will help you to find other types of flour that will provide you with similar benefits.
What Are the Best Substitutes for Gram Flour?
Some of the best substitutes for gram flour are those that are made out of similar legumes, such as lentil flour, chickpea flour, soybean flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, and tapioca flour. All of these types of flour are perfect for people that have coeliac disease because they are gluten free, making them safe to eat.
As well as this, all of these flours will provide slightly different flavors, which means that each of them can work well for certain dishes that you are trying to create.
There are lots of different substitutes that can be used instead of gram flour, but the type of flour that you use will depend on what type of dish that you are looking to create. As well as this, you might have to specifically select vegan, gluten free, or other dietary options where needed.
We are going to list some of the best gram flour substitutes below for you to read about.
Quinoa is a type of grain that is only becoming more and more popular, and you can make your own quinoa flour by grinding up quinoa yourself at home. This is a great type of flour to use for those with dietary requirements because it is both gluten free and coeliac friendly.
This flour is typically the best used for making cakes, pancakes, pizza bases, and as a thickening agent to help you when making things like sauces and soups.
Tapioca flour is made from cassava, also called uca, which is a root vegetable. This type of flour is high in starch, and it is mostly made up of carbohydrates.
This flour is gluten free, which makes it perfect for people that have food allergies and sensitivities, and it is often the best used for things like fries, tortillas, cake, and tacos.
Buckwheat is a pseudo grain that is totally free from gluten, and it features a delicious nutty flavor that might just be the perfect thing for the dish that you are trying to create.
It is higher in fiber than a lot of other flours that we are going to talk about, but it does still work well. It is often compared to oat flour, as these two types of flour are very similar.
Lentil flour is another commonly used type of flour, and more and more lentil based foods are being used recently. When it comes to taste and texture, lentils are very similar to split chickpeas, which is why lentil flour is a good gram flour substitute.
Soybean flour is not as commonly used as the other types of flour on this list, which means that it can be difficult to get your hands on. However, it is very high in protein, which is why it is a great boost for your meals.
You might notice a bit of a soy flavor, so you should make sure that you don’t mind this before you start cooking with it.
Is Gram Flour the Same as Chickpea Flour?
One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to gram flour is that it is the same as chickpea flour. This is most likely due to the fact that fram flour is made out of chickpeas, but the thing that makes them both different is the type of chickpeas that are used to make the flour.
As we have already mentioned, gram flour is made from split born chickpeas. On the other hand, chickpea flour is made by using white chickpeas that are ground up finely. Although the two may be similar, they do have different types of flour.
One of the main differences between the two is that brown chickpeas and white chickpeas both respond very differently to water.
White chickpeas are known for their coarse texture, which is why it requires more liquid when you are using it for baking purposes while trying to form a batter.
Gram flour has a much finer texture, and it won’t need as much water as chickpea flour when it comes to baking. It will all depend on what you are using the flour for, but you can sometimes use chickpea flour as a great alternative to gram flour.
Although, if any mixing with water is required, chickpea flour might not always be the best substitute to use.
How to Make Your Own Chickpea or Gram Flour at Home
As we have just mentioned, the type of chickpeas that you use will determine the type of flour that you make, but you can choose to make your own flour at home if you wish to.
To do this, you will need to either use white chickpeas or split brown chickpeas, depending on which type of flour you want to create. We will tell you exactly how you can do this below.
1. Grind Your Chickpeas -The first thing that you need to do is put all of your dried chickpeas into a food processor. Then, grind them for between 2 and 3 minutes, until you have a powder.
2. Sift the flour – You will then need to use a sieve to sift the flour that you now have into a bowl. This will separate any of the large chunks that have not been broken down into flour, creating a softer flour.
3. Process again – You can now gather everything that did not go through the sieve and put it into a grinder. Once it has been ground, you can go ahead and add it to the rest of your flour.
Now that you have made your homemade gram flour, you should put anything that you are not going to use straight away into an airtight container. You should then store it in a cupboard or in a cool and dry space.
You should use up the flour within 24 months of making it, but ensure that the container is kept sealed when it is not in use. You can use gram flour for various different cooking and baking purposes, and it is a great versatile flour to have at home in your kitchen for this reason.
Any gram flour that has not been used up after 2 years should be discarded.
There are lots of different types of flour that you can use if you can’t get your hands on gram flour, and many of them will work just as well. There may be slight changes in taste and texture, but you will still be able to create very similar results.
You might not even notice the difference at all. It usually won’t make too much of a difference in your cooking, but you might notice the difference in flour when you are baking.
Alternatively, if you do not want to use any of the substitutes that we have listed, you can go ahead and make your own gram flour at home if you can find some chickpeas. As long as you have a food processor, you can make and store your own gram flour for a whole 2 years.
This is really easy and simple to do, and it is sometimes more convenient than having to make modifications to a recipe to suit the dish that you are trying to create. It is all about finding the best flour that works for you, and this is something that may take some trial and error.