Besan in simple words means flour made from Bengal Gram, popularly called Chana. It is consumed in pan-India in different recipe formats, given its granular size. If we broadly look there are four variants of Chana Besan – Gargara, Mota, Fine and Super Fine and each one has its functional and regional significance. Gargara Besan is used at home generally and works well in your pakodas, kadi, gatte ki sabzi, dhokla etc. Mota Besan is used to make Motichoor ke ladoo, chilla. and Fine Besan is used for making Besan laddoos and other recipes and Super Fine Besan is used in Namkeen items.
Coming to the nutritional & functional benefits, apart from being naturally gluten-free, Chana Besan works as a great binding agent, with an earthy aroma.
Chana Besan is rich in Vitamin B1, B2 & Folic acid. The Protein content in Chana Besan is higher than wheat flour. It also contains a high amount of unsaturated good fats, which help lower cholesterol levels, hence many dieticians, including myself, recommend Besan Chilla with stuffed vegetables/sprouts as a lighter yet healthier substitute for heavy dinner.
Rich in Complex Carbs and with a Low Glycemic Index, Chana Besan is a recommendable source of Fibre & Magnesium for diabetics, as it helps improve insulin response.
Insoluble Fibres present in Chana Besan help in combating constipation related issues.
I would say Chana Besan is a great brain food indeed, due to the presence of Thiamine & folate and it also helps improve bone strength due to the presence of calcium, magnesium & phosphorus.
If we look around India is dominated by Besan delicacies that include a variety of sweets & other savoury items. Just as Besan Laddoo is favourites of North Indians, so is Mysore Pak famous in Southern India. As Thalipeeth is popular in the East so are Gatte ki Sabzi and Dhoklas in the West and in the end those crispy Besan fritters popularly called Bhajjis or Pakodas are happily consumed across the country.
Happy Besan diet to you!
Food Nutritionist and Dietitian