I’ve been following an Elimination Diet for the last month following the protocol in the book Elimination Diet 101 (affiliate link). So far, I’ve tested citrus fruits and the nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and peppers). Aside from some heartburn from orange juice and green peppers, it’s gone well. That being said, three weeks is a long time for me to go without any type of bread. The problem is, at this point in the elimination phase, any bread has to be gluten free, dairy free and egg free. Enter the besan puda, made from chickpea flour.
Besan puda is cross between a savory pancake and a fritter. I’d never had them before this week, and I’ve made them twice. They are that good. Seriously. We served them with a variety of toppings. I’m also sharing a recipe for a no cook peach chutney and giving links for the cashew cheese and chimichurri you see in the photo. Skip to the end of this post to find out which combination was our favorite.
Besan flour is also known as gram flour. You should have no trouble finding it. Look in the baking section or in the gluten free area. It may also be called garbanzo bean flour or chickpea flour. Rice flour can be found in the Mexican section of the grocery store. I used zucchini, green onion and carrot for my vegetables, but I came across other vegetables in my research. Whatever you choose, grate the veggies or mince them. You need to be able to spread the batter as thinly as possible.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I think highly of Manjula’s Kitchen as a source for authentic Indian recipes, so it’s no surprise that I was able to find a recipe and video. If you search for “besan flour recipes” or “chickpea flour recipes” you’ll find plenty of ways to explore the use of this tasty flour. In the course of my research, I found a couple more besan flour recipes I’d like to try and share with you. I combined ingredients from a couple besan puda recipes to make the ones in the photo.
Ingredients for 6 besan pudas:
Inspired by Manjula’s Kitchen (her video is extremely helpful)
- 1 1/2 cups besan flour
- 3/4 cup rice flour
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1 cup water (you may not need all of it)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 small Serrano or Jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (you don’t need more than two teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 4 green onions sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, large stems removed, leaves chopped fine (parsley is also good…double the amount if using dried)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil for frying (or any light tasting oil)
- Use a box grater to shred the zucchini and carrot. You’ll only need a small zucchini, or half a larger one.
- Slice the green onions and mince the green chili and cilantro.
- Measure the besan flour and rice flour into a medium mixing bowl
- Add the salt and cumin seeds and mix well.
- Add half the water and blend in. The batter should be like pancake batter.
- Stir in the shredded zucchini, carrot, green onions, green chili and cilantro.
- Add more water as necessary to achieve a thin, smooth batter.
- Heat a large skillet and a thin covering of oil until very hot.
- Ladle about a half cup of batter into the hot skillet and immediately spread the batter in the pan. I use a the ladle and work in a circular motion from the center towards the edge of the pan. You’ll need to work quickly because the batter will set up and you won’t be able to spread it.
- Allow the besan puda to cook until the edges change color and the topside begins to dry out.
- Drizzle a little oil onto the top of the besan puda and spread it with a spatula, then turn the besan puda and use the spatual to press down on the top.
- When the besan puda is a nice color on both sides remove to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.
- Add a little more oil to the pan and continue until all the batter is gone.
We ate the besan puda by folding it in half and then cutting it into two pieces. Fill the besan puda with whatever seems good to you. We used cashew cheese to avoid dairy, but shredded cheese and sour cream or yogurt would be good. I couldn’t find a green chutney in the store, but the chimichurri I had in the fridge was amazing with the besan puda. I used the spoon to press the excess liquid out of the chimichurri before adding it to the plate.
I had a couple peaches so I ad-libbed a quick, no cook chutney. I was pleased with how it turned out. I got a cup from three small peaches, which was enough for a couple batches of besan pudas and as an accompaniment to a grilled chicken breast.
It would be best if you made the chutney a couple hours before making the besan pudas to give the flavor a change to mellow.
Ingredients for No Cook Peach Chutney:
- 3 small peaches, peeled and diced
- 1/2 small Serrano or Jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced finely
- handful of raisins
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (I used white balsamic)
- Peel the peaches and use a paring knife to cut wedges away from the stone. Drop the wedges into a small mixing bowl. (Don’t waste your time cutting an “X” in the bottom of the peach and blanching it in boiling water…use a vegetable peeler and be done with it).
- Chop the wedges into smaller pieces.
- Add the raisins, diced green chilis, cilantro, salt and pepper and vinegar.
- Give everything a good stir. Transfer into a small container and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
By the way, our favorite combinations were cashew butter and peach chutney and tomatoes and chimichurri, with a slight edge to the local vine ripened tomatoes.
I’ve certainly not been suffering on this elimination diet. My biggest challenges have been: 1) finding recipes (I’m glad there were plenty in the Elimination Diet 101 (affiliate link) to get me off to a good start) and 2) staying out of a meat rut, or a rice and beans rut, or a salad rut. Recipes like besan puda are definitely stimulating, and I have to admit my “bread tooth” was satisfied after eating them.
What do you think? Would you make besan pudas? Or order them in a restaurant?
If you want to learn more about elimination diets, start with the book I’ve linked to, the author goes beyond general information to give you a plan of approach to the whole thing. It will help you figure out if you have a food allergy or intolerance. You’ll learn a lot about your relationship with food, too. Make sure to check out my Pinterest boards, too. I have several devoted to healthy eating. Finally, take a look at my two part post on my personal experience with the elimination diet. (Part One, Part Two)