I love the challenge of making new gluten free food. This morning I woke up with a mission to make something else besides dosas (lentil and rice pancakes), eggs, museli, buckwheat pancakes…or the same old things. So I decided to make these. With new recipes I find it best not to overthink it. Just start with a basic recipe and keep adding spices, herbs and other ingredients that I think blend well together. Sometimes it turns out okay, sometimes it doesn’t. I hear about it either way from my kids and husband. And they are quite honest.

So today I began with a basic chickpea flour socca recipe and made it more complex by adding different spices. I love chickpea flour as it is so easy to use and is very filling. We call it besan in India and we use it to coat different vegetables and fry them (usually deep frying). We also use besan topically on our faces and bodies as it is supposed to clear the skin of blemishes.

Besan is high in protein, fiber and has magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, iron, zinc, folate and so much more. It is an amazing gluten-free flour that helps keep you fuller for longer, gives you loads of energy, calms you down and takes care of your heart. I make egg free quiches with it (when I run out of eggs), make pancakes, coat chicken with it, etc. It has so many uses.

I almost always add garlic in many of my dishes because my family loves the flavour of garlic. Garlic is a superfood which helps prevent heart disease, strengthens our immune system, is high in manganese and Vitamin B6 and has Vitamin C!

Turmeric and black pepper is also a go to combination in a lot of my foods. You can’t taste it most times, but it plays such a vital role in keeping your immune system in top condition. It is another superfood that helps to reduce depression, is anti-inflammatory, contains vitamin B6 (again!?), iron, potassium, etc. and is good for our liver, brain, thyroid and so much more.

Black pepper helps to increase the absorption of the curcumin that you find in turmeric – so always add a pinch of black pepper when you add turmeric. Try and use fresh turmeric if you can, but using the powder is pretty powerful too. I grow turmeric in a few pots in my garden – it takes a while to grow, but is easy to keep alive.

So this was a superfood breakky dish! It was a hit with anyone who tasted it (kids included), so here is the recipe. Enjoy.

Easy, crispy besan slices

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dinner, kids lunch box, lunch
Cuisine: fusion
Keyword: besan, chickpea flour, dairy free, easy, garbanzo flour, gluten free, nutrient dense, quick, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup besan
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (or grated turmeric)
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 4-5 fresh garlic pods peeled and crushed
  • 1 inch piece of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Ghee / coconut oil to fry the besan in

To whizz

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large zucchini

Optional add ins

  • 1/2 green pepper deseeded and cut into small pieces
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the grill on the highest setting
  • Mix all the ingredients (except the water and oil) together in a bowl
  • Add the oil and the water and whisk until incorporated
  • Whizz the veggies in a blender till chunky, then add to the besan batter
  • Heat a cast iron pan (or any pan that is oven proof) on high heat
  • Add around a tsp or two of ghee / coconut oil to the pan and add around a cup of the besan mixture
  • Spread thin - this is key - only then will it turn crispy
  • Let it cook till the edges get crispy and the top turns a bit opaque (it doesn't have to be fully cooked or opaque)
  • Turn the stove off and put the whole pan under the grill (on the top shelf) in the oven
  • Let it crisp up for around 3-5 minutes (keep checking to see if it is burning)
  • Once the top is browned to your liking, take it out and cut it with a pizza cutter
  • Serve hot as it loses its crisp when it is cold
  • You can serve it as a bread or crackers with salmon and capers, pesto, use it as a dipping bread, with cheese, or just plain....the options are truly endless
 

REFERENCES

Murty CM, Pittaway JK and Ball MJ. Chickpea supplementation in an Australian diet affects food choice, satiety and bowel health. Appetite. 2010 Apr;54(2):282-8. Epub 2009 Nov 27. 2010.

Pittaway JK, Ahuja KDK, Cehun M et al. Dietary Supplementation with Chickpeas for at Least 5 Weeks Results in Small but Significant Reductions in Serum Total and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterols in Adult Women and Men. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. Basel: Feb 2007. Vol. 50, Iss. 6; p. 512-518. 2007.

Nutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review. Jukanti AK1Gaur PMGowda CLChibbar RN. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 1:S11-26. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000797. PMID: 22916806

Ban JO, Oh JH, Kim TM et al. Anti-inflammatory and arthritic effects of thiacremonone, a novel sulfurcompound isolated from garlic via inhibition of NF-kB. Arthritis Res Ther. 2009; 11(5): R145. Epub 2009 Sep 30. 2009.

Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Josling P1. Adv Ther. 2001 Jul-Aug;18(4):189-93. PMID:11697022 DOI: 10.1007/bf02850113

J Neurochem. 2011 May;117(3):388-402. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.07145.x. Epub 2011 Mar 14.

Oxidative insults to neurons and synapse are prevented by aged garlic extract and S-allyl-L-cysteine treatment in the neuronal culture and APP-Tg mouse model. Ray B1Chauhan NBLahiri DK. PMID: 21166677 PMCID: PMC3391571 DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.07145.x

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