Dates: Ramadan traditions at Muslim iftar worldwide

Dates: Ramadan traditions at Muslim iftar worldwide

Dates: Ramadan traditions at Muslim iftar worldwide – Daily News Egypt Sunday May 12, 2019 Jobzella Dates: Ramadan traditions at Muslim iftar worldwide The majority of Muslims break their fast with dates in different countries of the world because of its high nutritional value which is suitable for fasting and is considered one of the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet. You will find that Muslims buy dates in abundance before the month of Ramadan so that it is … Jobzella The majority of Muslims break their fast with dates in different countries of the world because of its high nutritional value which is suitable for fasting and is considered one of the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet. You will find that Muslims buy dates in abundance before the month of Ramadan so that it is also distributed to passers-by in the streets and at mosques. The most important dishes for iftar vary from one country to another. Egypt is famous for its various delicacies on the Ramadan table such as Al-Khoshaf (a mixture of dates, figs, apricots, and kamar-din juice), Molokhia with rabbits, okra with meat, grape leaves, mahshi, and soup. In the Sudan, they break fast on sweet and sour juice made from maize, wheat, boiled legumes, boiled wheat and porridge. The most important feature of the Sudanese is the communal iftar, where each family meets with its neighbours at a communal iftar in the street. The most important table dishes in Tunisia are called “haririya”, as well as the salad of grilled vegetables with olive oil and spices and the “Brik” dish, topping the tables in most homes, which is large pies stuffed with chicken and meat, and comes with Rafsya, made of rice cooked with dates, raisins, in addition to the famous couscous. Yemenis usually start with dates, water or coffee, then go to the mosque to pray the maghrib (sunset prayer) and return to the house. The table contains several items, including “shafut and soup”. The first is made of bread and yoghurt; the second is made of crushed wheat, mixed with milk and sugar or meat broth according to tastes. Desserts are a mixture of Yemeni and Indian sweets such as Bint Al-Sahan, Al-Rawani, Al-Kanafah, Katayef, Basbosa, and baklawa. In the month of Ramadan, the Turks do not differ from others in iftar on dates or olives, and cheese of all kinds. In Ramadan, bakeries bake a special bread that is only seen during the month of Ramadan. It is called “Bida,” a Persian word for a type of pies in different sizes. Children stand in long lines just before iftar time to get fresh pies. In Malaysia, the people of the countryside meet especially for iftar together every day. They make Fatri Mundi, a famous meal in the month of Ramadan, and the most important Malaysian custom is that every house in the village feeds all the village on one day. One of the most popular foods to be served at the iftar table during Ramadan is the Gatry Mundi meal, which is the most popular Malaysian dish, as well as the Badeq, which is made from flour. There is chicken and rice alongside dates, bananas and oranges. China’s Muslims begin iftar with dates and sweet tea. And in Pakistan, Bakora is made throughout the month composed of sweet potato mixed with spices, and the Roh Afza juice of a mixture of vegetable and fruit preparations. In India, they prepare a special dish called gingi, which is like soup, made of rice flour, a little meat and spices, and cooked in water. This is a liquid that is drunk at iftar. Indian iftar includes rice and a food called “Dahi Bhdi” similar to “falafel with yogurt” and “boiled lentils”. In Uzbekistan, Muslim families hold mass iftars and invite neighbours, relatives, and friends to attend. The number of invited guests is sometimes 100, and lamb is slaughtered, and bread is baked with oil and milk. Dates and black or green tea are served at iftar. In Japan, a group iftar is held in most mosques. Muslims go for iftar, usually milk and dates. One of the most popular meals is Kaiseki, a vegetable meal, with the famous juices and pickles known as Tsukimono, which are important landmarks for Japanese cuisine, along with fish dishes and marine species. And in Uganda, people gather every day in one of the selected houses. The people eat their iftar, which is often made up of soups, grilled bananas and bread, after performing the Maghrib prayer. The next day, another house is chosen for iftar. One of the strangest customs of the Ugandan Lango tribes in Ramadan, is the wives beating on their heads before iftar, after which the woman prepares the iftar. In Iraq, Iraqi dates, known as “dates of Basra” or “Al-Khastawi” and milk, are the most important dishes in Ramadan, along with a drink named “Nomi Basra,” a special drink which Iraqis drink during the Suhur (evening meal before fasting) and iftar, and is said to cure headaches. On the first day of Ramadan in Thailand, every Muslim family must slaughter a sacrifice to celebrate the month of Ramadan. Poor families even slaughter a bird. Before iftar, women leave their homes in groups, sit in front of a house, eat iftar together, and so do the men. In Thailand, Muslims are keen to eat fruits in Ramadan, and the Thai community bakes cakes made of rice and milk. Also on the first day of Ramadan, the family meets at the family home for iftar, usually the grandfather’s house. In the UAE and the GCC countries in general, dates are the most important element of Ramadan food, which is used in the preparation of various types of UAE sweets, such as the disk, which are small pieces of bread mixed with dates. In Afghanistan, there are many who take food to the mosque and break fast together; they begin to eat dates with water, and one of the most famous foods in Ramadan is the minto, the pulani and the Afghan rice, which are pastries mixed with rice and spices.

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How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation? By Priya Krishna • 3 hours ago Chickpea flour is gaining attention thanks to its gluten-free binding properties. But the ingredient has been a staple of cooking for Indians, Pakistanis and many others for centuries. Pinkybird / Getty Images
There’s a specific section of my family’s fridge that is reserved for the large, seemingly bottomless tub of chickpea flour — or as we and lots of other Indians who also rely on it call it, besan — that my parents keep on hand. We’re not gluten-free, nor do we do a lot of baking. Yet chickpea flour shows up everywhere in our food. It’s the nutty coating for my mom’s green beans spiced with earthy ajwain , the key ingredient in her creamy, tangy, yogurt-based soup, kadhi , and the base for our favorite variety of laddoos , sweet, fudge-like balls flavored with ghee, sugar and nuts.
Across the many regional cuisines in India, chickpea flour is a common denominator: Gujaratis turn it into pudla , thin, savory crepes laced with turmeric and chilies. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, it can be found in jhunka , a spicy porridge. And in Andhra Pradesh, it is the thickener in Senagapindi Kura , an onion-heavy stew. For the country’s large vegetarian population, where eggs are often considered non-vegetarian, chickpea flour mixed with water serves as a convincing omelet replacement.
Indians — along with the Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians, the French, and many others — have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. Americans, on the other hand, only seem to have woken up to the ingredient in the last decade or so. And they’ve woken up in a big way.
It’s hard to trace the exact origin of chickpea flour’s sudden popularity in the U.S. Anna Stockwell, the senior food editor of the publications Epicurious and Bon Appétit , said she first started seeing chickpea flour around 2009 on gluten-free blogs. Stockwell is gluten-free herself, and was excited to find a recipe for savory chickpea pancakes.
She didn’t know much about chickpea flour’s culinary heritage, but she was immediately excited. “Its binding power was magic,” she recalls. “All you have to do is combine chickpea flour and water, and suddenly you can make flatbread, or fritters or vegetable pancakes.” Still, Stockwell saw it as a niche ingredient — something only gluten-free consumers cared about. She wasn’t even allowed to call for it in Epicurious recipes.
Slowly but surely, that started to change. In 2010, one of the more popular recipes from Plenty , Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling cookbook, was a chickpea flour pancake, or socca , as it’s known in France, layered with tomatoes and onions. In 2015, food and fitness writer Camilla Saulsbury wrote the popular book The Chickpea Flour Cookbook . That was followed a year later by Chickpea Flour Does It All , by blogger Lindsey Love.
Lani Halliday, the founder of Brutus Bakeshop, a gluten-free Brooklyn bakery, says she noticed a huge uptick in the number of chickpea flour-based, gluten-free sweets available about a decade ago. For baked goods, chickpea flour worked uniquely well, “as it can hold air bubbles and hold moisture,” she says. Plus, “it was cheap, it was accessible, and it was versatile.”
Halliday launched her bakery in 2015. One of her bestselling items among both gluten-free and non-gluten-free customers was a chocolate cupcake made with chickpea flour.
Stockwell believes the mainstreaming of chickpea flour is directly linked to one company in particular — Banza. The company started producing its chickpea flour-based pasta in 2014, and by 2017, it was in 8,000-plus grocery stores and had raised $8 million in funding. The key to the company’s success? It didn’t exclusively market itself as a gluten-free product. Instead, it was branded as health food. And it was one of the first alternative pastas that had a smooth, al dente texture, just like the real thing.
“I had friends who had never heard of chickpea flour, but now they eat Banza,” Stockwell says. “It’s not because they are trying to eat gluten-free but because it’s a delicious and higher-protein pasta. It’s a substitute for empty carbs.”
This year, Epicurious was finally allowed to publish recipes with chickpea flour. Dennis Vaughn, the CEO of Bob’s Red Mill, says that in the past five years, chickpea flour has become a clear bestseller among the company’s sundry flour options.
“My grocery store doesn’t even carry red meat,” Stockwell says, “but they carry Bob’s Red Mill” chickpea flour.
In many ways, it has been weird to watch this ingredient that has always felt so quotidian to me become so ubiquitous so quickly in the U.S. This is certainly not the first Indian ingredient or dish this has happened to. Consider turmeric, chai, or khichdi , which have all been claimed by the wellness community and food bloggers as their own, often times without giving due credit to Indian cuisine. It baffles me that the vast majority of people I talk to are shocked to hear that chickpea flour has long been a common ingredient in my family’s cooking.
On the other hand, it was important to me when I was writing my new cookbook, Indian-ish , that people could find the ingredients for the dishes in their average grocery store. Because chickpea flour is now so common, I could include recipes like those addictive chickpea flour green beans, and the silky, soupy kadhi .
I’m not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream. But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn’t frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.
No one culture can “own” an ingredient — I’m literally writing this with a box of Banza chickpea pasta in my kitchen cabinet — but let’s not treat food like it exists in a vacuum. There’s context for that chickpea flour flatbread you’re making for dinner. Don’t take it for granted.
Priya Krishna is a food writer who contributes to The New York Times, Bon Appétit , and others. She also serves as one of the hosts of Bon Appétit’s video series, From the Test Kitchen . She is the author of the cookbook Indian-ish: Recipes And Antics From A Modern American Family . Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ PKgourmet Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WFIT

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More than a garnish…

They look delicate, pretty and small. But don’t let their appearance fool you. These tiny leaves and shoots are known to be nutritional powerhouses. They’re said to have four-to-40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts and deliver big on flavour. No wonder we have health gurus and fine dining chefs rooting for the mighty microgreens. And now, joining hands with them is the home-growers brigade.
Most of us would have sampled microgreens at an upscale restaurant where the food came garnished with itsy-bitsy sprigs. Or we’ve seen many a MasterChef contestant add drama to the plate with these tiny greens. But did you know myriad varieties of microgreens are also making their way into our homes and our everyday diet? From wheatgrass to watercress, beetroot to broccoli, radish to red cabbage, pak choi, peas and more, our plates are getting healthier and prettier than ever before.
High on nutrition
Microgreens are edible seedlings of vegetables and herbs that are usually harvested within one-three weeks after germination, just after the first true leaves have appeared. But what sets them apart from other leafy greens is their high nutritional content.
Shonali Sabherwal, celebrity macrobiotic nutritionist, author and chef, says, “Research has shown that microgreens are clearly more nutrient-dense, in that, more concentrated in vitamins and minerals.” For instance, red cabbage microgreens were found to have 40 times more vitamin E and six times more vitamin C than mature red cabbage, while cilantro microgreens had three times more beta-carotene than fully-grown cilantro plants.
Luke Coutinho, globally renowned holistic lifestyle coach and nutritionist, adds, “Microgreens are teeming with incredibly high levels of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B, C, K, and minerals like manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.” He adds, “Microgreens are super-alkaline and feed your immunity like magic. They are rich in live enzymes and are full of nutrition that is bioavailable because when the seeds germinate, the nutrition is heightened.”
Sabherwal adds, “Since in macrobiotics we look at the ‘energetic component’ of foods, microgreens, with their shorter growth period, bring in new ideas, growth and quick-moving energy in our thoughts and action. I consume microgreens, especially when I’m writing my books and preparing for something new; they’re also a great way to get kids used to greens, they’re attractive, and add an element of fun to food presentation.”
Grilled fish avocado and microgreens.
But the question that arises here is, can we eat enough of these tiny shoots to make a difference? Coutinho says, “Even a handful of freshly snipped microgreens is good enough to load up a plate with nutrition.” At the same time, he advises, “Eating more of these greens doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy… moderation is advised. One should also focus on their gut health so that microgreens are appropriately digested and assimilated.”
Microgreens not only score high on nutrition, looks and taste, but also require very little space to grow. They have a short crop cycle and yield profitable returns for the new breed of urban farmers.
New-age farmers
Six years ago, Hamsa V and Nithin Sagi broke away from their conventional careers to set up Growing Greens. They started with the space available on Sagi’s terrace at home and later moved to a farm on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Hamsa was an IT professional, while Sagi was a food photographer, with an IT background. A strong urge to start growing their own food, coupled with the lure of moving away from the humdrum of city life, led them to microgreens farming.
When they started off, Hamsa says, microgreens were not easily available in India. And thus, when they introduced the concept of live microgreens to the hospitality industry, it was instantly well received. “Besides the visual impact and nutritional value, chefs were able to snip it from a live tray just before serving the guests. This added an element of freshness to the dish, and brought about an opportunity to showcase microgreens in restaurant spaces,” she adds.
Currently, Hams and Sagi grow about 20 different varieties of microgreens including pea shoots, sunflower, mustard, red beet, purple radish, arugula and more. Their client base comprises star hotels all across India, some as far as Guwahati. They also cater to a few retail clients within the city. “The market is still limited to hotels and restaurants,” admits Hamsa, but she does add, “Due to the awareness of the nutritional benefits of microgreens, we should soon be able to see a more stable space in the retail sector as well.”
Akash K Sajith is another urban farmer in Bengaluru who believes, “We are what we eat.” Sajith had a successful career going as a customer experience strategist when his life took an unexpected turn. A health tragedy that struck both his parents led him to re-evaluate the food choices that we make. He realised that there was a dire need “to take control of our food production systems.” And in a bid to “provide food that we can trust,” the Living Food Company was born.
Unlike a traditional farm setup, Sajith, along with co-founders Niranjan and Shikha, designed a climate-controlled indoor farm within the city itself. To eliminate soil contamination they opted to grow microgreens using hydroponics — a soil-less farming technique.
With a subscription-based model in place, the Living Food Company delivers to some of the top hotels and restaurants in Bengaluru, and claims to have more than 1,000 subscribers in the city. “All our products are delivered alive with roots intact and our customers get to harvest and use them real time,” says Sajith.
One regular subscriber is food stylist, photographer and award-winning blogger Farrukh Aziz Ansari. She says, “I add microgreens to soups, snacks, salads and also make them part of my Indian breakfast/s like parathas, chillas, upma, and omelettes as well. But what she likes best is to simply grab a handful of greens and munch on them whenever possible. Ansari has opted for a monthly subscription where she gets to try two new varieties every week.
Chef’s best friend
The other name for microgreens is vegetable confetti. With their pretty colours and intense flavours microgreens have become a chef’s best friend in many a hotel kitchen. As a result, plenty of star hotels and restaurants have now started creating their own green zone.
“Food is sensory, and microgreens help us engage with several senses simultaneously whilst adding vibrancy to food,” says chef Balpreet Singh Chadha, director of culinary operations at AnnaMaya Andaz, Delhi, a Hyatt property. “We grow our own microgreens, so that our guests may enjoy these zero-mile greens at their freshest,” he adds.
Rajdeep Kapoor, executive chef at Sheraton, New Delhi, says, “The introduction of microgreens has brought about a dramatic improvement in the way India plates up. Today, a large number of ITC hotels grow microgreens out of seeds that are easily available in our kitchens, such as mustard, radish, chillies, amaranth, and beetroot.” More exotic varieties, however, are outsourced.
At Grand Hyatt, Kochi, microgreens are grown within the restaurant space at the rooftop grillroom. Guests get a chance to interact with the chefs and see how the tiny greens are nurtured. “We grow several varieties of microgreens, namely mustard, red amaranth, kohlrabi, beetroot, onion, radish, basil, peas, green gram sprouts and more,” says Prakash Sundaram, chef de cuisine at Colony Clubhouse & Grill.
“It has brought our guests closer to understanding the value of the food they consume and made us more conscious about food trends across the globe,” he adds.
Commenting on the shift in the global culinary scene, Shagun Mehra, celebrity chef, wine connoisseur and director, Food & Wine at Coco Shambhala, Goa, says, “There’s a massive trend all over the globe with conscious chefs who need to know what they’re feeding their guests. If I had my way, I would grow everything that I serve on my plate. I’m trying to do as much as possible to know the source of each and every ingredient that I serve, and microgreens were my first step towards learning this.” Mehra, who grows different varieties at the villa hotel property, adds, “Microgreens are the quickest, easiest and simplest to grow.”
At ITC hotels, among other dishes, microgreens are used to garnish open-faced avocado & bocconcini bruschettas, enoki & roasted pepper pizzas, charred broccoli & pine nut soup, and lemon & tender pea risotto. At Grand Hyatt, they have a signature dish using microgreens, called the tea-smoked tofu & sprouts salad.
Apart from that, microgreens also adorn the rack of lamb, smoked duck, ancient grain risotto and beef tenderloin.
As for Mehra, she pretty much uses microgreens in everything, including Indian mains, Asian dishes, cocktails, and juices. “I use them in my desserts as well,” she says. “I love the element of using something savoury in a dessert.” One of her favourites is caramelised pineapple with fennel and sesame seeds, presented beautifully on a bed of creamy coconut rice pudding, topped with mustard microgreens.
At AnnaMaya, most of their recipes use microgreens as an essential ingredient. A retail microgreens starter kit is also available for guests to take home and create their own little patch of green.
House projects
The only downside to microgreens, perhaps, is that they’re expensive. One can expect to shell out anything between Rs 150-400 for about 100-200 gm, depending on the variety and the city you buy it in. The good news, however, is growing them at home is a relatively easy task. And definitely works out cheaper.
Savio Souza, founder, Green Education Organisation (GEO), has spent the last five years conducting workshops across India to promote organic microgreens farming. He aims to encourage and empower people with the knowledge to grow their own food, which he feels has become a necessity today. “You have complete control over the elements that go into the growing of the crops, and you know for sure that there are no pesticides or chemical fertilisers added,” he says.
It was after attending one of Souza’s workshops in Mumbai that Anita Singh discovered the many benefits of this superfood. Singh has always been passionate about baking sourdough bread and today is equally enthusiastic about growing microgreens. Apart from sharing pictures of her harvest on social media, she often encourages students who come for bread baking classes to set up their own green corner.
Arugula Microgreens
Similarly, inspired by an online food network, Nidhi Aggarwal, in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, started growing microgreens on her windowsills and balconies. “I grow mustard and flaxseed hydroponically; I don’t use soil, instead I grow them on a bed of sterilised cotton,” she says. While for other varieties like fenugreek, peas, spinach, wheatgrass, chana, and moong, she uses a mixture of potting soil and coco-peat. By getting her children involved in nurturing the plants, Aggarwal has devised a perfect way to get them to start eating their greens. She regularly adds them to their sandwiches, salads, smoothies, vegetable juices, fruit chaat, bhel puri, and raitas.
Aggarwal’s enthusiasm doesn’t just end here. She also has a dedicated Facebook page where she often shares recipes and motivates her followers to grow microgreens along with her. “We post photos of our day-to-day progress and encourage others to embrace a healthy eating lifestyle.”
Microgreens have certainly caught the attention of home-growers across India, and it would be safe to say, this is one trend that is here to stay. Or as Souza puts it, this is a trend that gradually turns into a lifestyle choice. “That’s because a synergistic effect takes place when you start to grow your own greens and then slowly form a relationship with them. It becomes a meditative, mindful process, which helps your overall health.”
And with that, it’s evident that microgreens have everything going for them. All that’s left now is for you to exercise your green thumb and reap the benefits of growing your own food.

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How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation? By Priya Krishna • 1 hour ago Chickpea flour is gaining attention thanks to its gluten-free binding properties. But the ingredient has been a staple of cooking for Indians, Pakistanis and many others for centuries. Pinkybird / Getty Images
There’s a specific section of my family’s fridge that is reserved for the large, seemingly bottomless tub of chickpea flour — or as we and lots of other Indians who also rely on it call it, besan — that my parents keep on hand. We’re not gluten-free, nor do we do a lot of baking. Yet chickpea flour shows up everywhere in our food. It’s the nutty coating for my mom’s green beans spiced with earthy ajwain , the key ingredient in her creamy, tangy, yogurt-based soup, kadhi , and the base for our favorite variety of laddoos , sweet, fudge-like balls flavored with ghee, sugar and nuts.
Across the many regional cuisines in India, chickpea flour is a common denominator: Gujaratis turn it into pudla , thin, savory crepes laced with turmeric and chilies. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, it can be found in jhunka , a spicy porridge. And in Andhra Pradesh, it is the thickener in Senagapindi Kura , an onion-heavy stew. For the country’s large vegetarian population, where eggs are often considered non-vegetarian, chickpea flour mixed with water serves as a convincing omelet replacement.
Indians — along with the Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians, the French, and many others — have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. Americans, on the other hand, only seem to have woken up to the ingredient in the last decade or so. And they’ve woken up in a big way.
It’s hard to trace the exact origin of chickpea flour’s sudden popularity in the U.S. Anna Stockwell, the senior food editor of the publications Epicurious and Bon Appétit , said she first started seeing chickpea flour around 2009 on gluten-free blogs. Stockwell is gluten-free herself, and was excited to find a recipe for savory chickpea pancakes.
She didn’t know much about chickpea flour’s culinary heritage, but she was immediately excited. “Its binding power was magic,” she recalls. “All you have to do is combine chickpea flour and water, and suddenly you can make flatbread, or fritters or vegetable pancakes.” Still, Stockwell saw it as a niche ingredient — something only gluten-free consumers cared about. She wasn’t even allowed to call for it in Epicurious recipes.
Slowly but surely, that started to change. In 2010, one of the more popular recipes from Plenty , Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling cookbook, was a chickpea flour pancake, or socca , as it’s known in France, layered with tomatoes and onions. In 2015, food and fitness writer Camilla Saulsbury wrote the popular book The Chickpea Flour Cookbook . That was followed a year later by Chickpea Flour Does It All , by blogger Lindsey Love.
Lani Halliday, the founder of Brutus Bakeshop, a gluten-free Brooklyn bakery, says she noticed a huge uptick in the number of chickpea flour-based, gluten-free sweets available about a decade ago. For baked goods, chickpea flour worked uniquely well, “as it can hold air bubbles and hold moisture,” she says. Plus, “it was cheap, it was accessible, and it was versatile.”
Halliday launched her bakery in 2015. One of her bestselling items among both gluten-free and non-gluten-free customers was a chocolate cupcake made with chickpea flour.
Stockwell believes the mainstreaming of chickpea flour is directly linked to one company in particular — Banza. The company started producing its chickpea flour-based pasta in 2014, and by 2017, it was in 8,000-plus grocery stores and had raised $8 million in funding. The key to the company’s success? It didn’t exclusively market itself as a gluten-free product. Instead, it was branded as health food. And it was one of the first alternative pastas that had a smooth, al dente texture, just like the real thing.
“I had friends who had never heard of chickpea flour, but now they eat Banza,” Stockwell says. “It’s not because they are trying to eat gluten-free but because it’s a delicious and higher-protein pasta. It’s a substitute for empty carbs.”
This year, Epicurious was finally allowed to publish recipes with chickpea flour. Dennis Vaughn, the CEO of Bob’s Red Mill, says that in the past five years, chickpea flour has become a clear bestseller among the company’s sundry flour options.
“My grocery store doesn’t even carry red meat,” Stockwell says, “but they carry Bob’s Red Mill” chickpea flour.
In many ways, it has been weird to watch this ingredient that has always felt so quotidian to me become so ubiquitous so quickly in the U.S. This is certainly not the first Indian ingredient or dish this has happened to. Consider turmeric, chai, or khichdi , which have all been claimed by the wellness community and food bloggers as their own, often times without giving due credit to Indian cuisine. It baffles me that the vast majority of people I talk to are shocked to hear that chickpea flour has long been a common ingredient in my family’s cooking.
On the other hand, it was important to me when I was writing my new cookbook, Indian-ish , that people could find the ingredients for the dishes in their average grocery store. Because chickpea flour is now so common, I could include recipes like those addictive chickpea flour green beans, and the silky, soupy kadhi .
I’m not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream. But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn’t frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.
No one culture can “own” an ingredient — I’m literally writing this with a box of Banza chickpea pasta in my kitchen cabinet — but let’s not treat food like it exists in a vacuum. There’s context for that chickpea flour flatbread you’re making for dinner. Don’t take it for granted.
Priya Krishna is a food writer who contributes to The New York Times, Bon Appétit , and others. She also serves as one of the hosts of Bon Appétit’s video series, From the Test Kitchen . She is the author of the cookbook Indian-ish: Recipes And Antics From A Modern American Family . Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ PKgourmet Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 Valley Public Radio

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How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation? By Priya Krishna • 53 minutes ago Chickpea flour is gaining attention thanks to its gluten-free binding properties. But the ingredient has been a staple of cooking for Indians, Pakistanis and many others for centuries. Pinkybird / Getty Images
There’s a specific section of my family’s fridge that is reserved for the large, seemingly bottomless tub of chickpea flour — or as we and lots of other Indians who also rely on it call it, besan — that my parents keep on hand. We’re not gluten-free, nor do we do a lot of baking. Yet chickpea flour shows up everywhere in our food. It’s the nutty coating for my mom’s green beans spiced with earthy ajwain , the key ingredient in her creamy, tangy, yogurt-based soup, kadhi , and the base for our favorite variety of laddoos , sweet, fudge-like balls flavored with ghee, sugar and nuts.
Across the many regional cuisines in India, chickpea flour is a common denominator: Gujaratis turn it into pudla , thin, savory crepes laced with turmeric and chilies. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, it can be found in jhunka , a spicy porridge. And in Andhra Pradesh, it is the thickener in Senagapindi Kura , an onion-heavy stew. For the country’s large vegetarian population, where eggs are often considered non-vegetarian, chickpea flour mixed with water serves as a convincing omelet replacement.
Indians — along with the Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians, the French, and many others — have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. Americans, on the other hand, only seem to have woken up to the ingredient in the last decade or so. And they’ve woken up in a big way.
It’s hard to trace the exact origin of chickpea flour’s sudden popularity in the U.S. Anna Stockwell, the senior food editor of the publications Epicurious and Bon Appétit , said she first started seeing chickpea flour around 2009 on gluten-free blogs. Stockwell is gluten-free herself, and was excited to find a recipe for savory chickpea pancakes.
She didn’t know much about chickpea flour’s culinary heritage, but she was immediately excited. “Its binding power was magic,” she recalls. “All you have to do is combine chickpea flour and water, and suddenly you can make flatbread, or fritters or vegetable pancakes.” Still, Stockwell saw it as a niche ingredient — something only gluten-free consumers cared about. She wasn’t even allowed to call for it in Epicurious recipes.
Slowly but surely, that started to change. In 2010, one of the more popular recipes from Plenty , Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling cookbook, was a chickpea flour pancake, or socca , as it’s known in France, layered with tomatoes and onions. In 2015, food and fitness writer Camilla Saulsbury wrote the popular book The Chickpea Flour Cookbook . That was followed a year later by Chickpea Flour Does It All , by blogger Lindsey Love.
Lani Halliday, the founder of Brutus Bakeshop, a gluten-free Brooklyn bakery, says she noticed a huge uptick in the number of chickpea flour-based, gluten-free sweets available about a decade ago. For baked goods, chickpea flour worked uniquely well, “as it can hold air bubbles and hold moisture,” she says. Plus, “it was cheap, it was accessible, and it was versatile.”
Halliday launched her bakery in 2015. One of her bestselling items among both gluten-free and non-gluten-free customers was a chocolate cupcake made with chickpea flour.
Stockwell believes the mainstreaming of chickpea flour is directly linked to one company in particular — Banza. The company started producing its chickpea flour-based pasta in 2014, and by 2017, it was in 8,000-plus grocery stores and had raised $8 million in funding. The key to the company’s success? It didn’t exclusively market itself as a gluten-free product. Instead, it was branded as health food. And it was one of the first alternative pastas that had a smooth, al dente texture, just like the real thing.
“I had friends who had never heard of chickpea flour, but now they eat Banza,” Stockwell says. “It’s not because they are trying to eat gluten-free but because it’s a delicious and higher-protein pasta. It’s a substitute for empty carbs.”
This year, Epicurious was finally allowed to publish recipes with chickpea flour. Dennis Vaughn, the CEO of Bob’s Red Mill, says that in the past five years, chickpea flour has become a clear bestseller among the company’s sundry flour options.
“My grocery store doesn’t even carry red meat,” Stockwell says, “but they carry Bob’s Red Mill” chickpea flour.
In many ways, it has been weird to watch this ingredient that has always felt so quotidian to me become so ubiquitous so quickly in the U.S. This is certainly not the first Indian ingredient or dish this has happened to. Consider turmeric, chai, or khichdi , which have all been claimed by the wellness community and food bloggers as their own, often times without giving due credit to Indian cuisine. It baffles me that the vast majority of people I talk to are shocked to hear that chickpea flour has long been a common ingredient in my family’s cooking.
On the other hand, it was important to me when I was writing my new cookbook, Indian-ish , that people could find the ingredients for the dishes in their average grocery store. Because chickpea flour is now so common, I could include recipes like those addictive chickpea flour green beans, and the silky, soupy kadhi .
I’m not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream. But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn’t frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.
No one culture can “own” an ingredient — I’m literally writing this with a box of Banza chickpea pasta in my kitchen cabinet — but let’s not treat food like it exists in a vacuum. There’s context for that chickpea flour flatbread you’re making for dinner. Don’t take it for granted.
Priya Krishna is a food writer who contributes to The New York Times, Bon Appétit , and others. She also serves as one of the hosts of Bon Appétit’s video series, From the Test Kitchen . She is the author of the cookbook Indian-ish: Recipes And Antics From A Modern American Family . Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ PKgourmet Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 KBIA

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Celebrity Travel Addicts: Robert Diggs of LostXpat

May 9, 2019 0
In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts , we chat with Robert Diggs of LostXpat , a travel YouTuber from California who has spent the last eight years of his life living abroad. We speak with him about what inspires him to travel, his suggestions of things to do in his favorite travel destinations around the world, a unique circus he recently volunteered with that’s doing important work in the world, and much more. Check out his favorite destinations and find out where he’s going next! How did your passion for travel get started?
My passion for travel started when I was 22. I got a chance to visit my cousin in Beijing and found that it was so exciting to see a new culture. Trying all the different varieties of Chinese foods was also a big selling point. Once I started I could not stop. I wanted to figure out how to make my life more adventurous and break out of the normal lifestyle. How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year?
I would get 15-20 days off during October holiday and Chinese Spring Festival. On average, I traveled between 2 and 3 months out of the year while I was living in China. What are the types of places you like to visit?
I like to go to places that are off the mainstream tourist path. For example: Pai, Hue, Bagan, Xishuangbanna, Novi Sad, Antwerp, and Mostar. I love each place for different reasons. You recently met and volunteered with members of a circus in northern Thailand. Can you tell us a bit about their mission and what that experience was like for you?
Their mission at the circus is to help the local refugee children access schools. They supply some of the schools with clean water, and in some cases, pay the rent for the schools. Every year, volunteers from all over the world come for about 6 weeks and do shows for the refugee camps, hospitals, schools, and orphanages in the region of TAK. They work with local teachers in the area and through fund raisers locally and Koh Phanon. In the future, they hope to have year round staff in Ma Sot. The experience was very eye opening and emotional. By the end of their 6 week tour, none of the volunteers wanted to go home.
I met them at my hotel’s garden doing their rehearsal for the show that day. When they explained what they did in Ma Sot I knew that I wanted to join them. I plan to head back next year to help them again. You have been living abroad for seven years and recently started a YouTube channel. What inspired you to begin vlogging your travels?
I have always wanted to encourage people to travel and see the world. Since I was in China, I was blocked out of youtube, so I had no idea that travel videos were a thing. 2 years ago, I got a VPN and stumbled across this exciting genre. Some of the youtubers I found to be special were Mark Wiens and The Food Ranger, but my biggest influences would probably be Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern.
I started out with buying a gimble phone mic and a smart phone with a better camera in February 2018 but did not release anything until late November. I took that time to learn how to put together a video that accurately portrayed the experience of my travels. I try to make every episode better than the previous one. What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
I hope to inspire people to explore the world and get out of their comfort zone. Lots of people in the USA have not even been out of their state, let alone out of the country. I hope with my experiences, people can get an idea what to eat and where to go depending on their travel ambitions. After my time with the circus, I also would like to get into more videos about charity making a difference and ways to volunteer. What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
Budapest, Hungary; Kanchanaburi, Thailand; and Bagan, Myanmar. Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of your top 3 destinations. Like a mini-guide or a to-do list of sorts. It can be anything from your favorite hotel, best place to have lunch, best sightseeing, etc.
Top 5 things you should do in Budapest, Hungry
Budapest has over 1000 years of history and has an amazing international scene for nightlife. Ruins Bar Pub Crawl – In the early 2000s, the Jewish Quarter was made up of crumbling buildings that were abandoned. Some creative artists and entrepreneurs turned the ruins into bars and night clubs. They kept the buildings in almost the same condition but added creative art pieces and graffiti to liven up the scene. Szimpla is a ruin bar with many different rooms. Each room provides its own environment and unique atmosphere. They happen to have great craft beer there too for $2.50 or local beer for $1.50 a pint. During the day sometimes they turn ruin bars into a famers market or art gallery. Caving Under The Capital – Caving is a great way to spend a day. The biggest cave in the world is found under Budapest. They were created by thermal springs and are a UNESCO world Heritage Site. Capital Of Bathhouses – Budapest happens to be home to over 100 bath houses. Most people have swimming suits, but if you really want to get out of your comfort zone, you can visit one of the traditional, gender segregated bathhouses in your birthday suit. The minerals in the springs are said to have healing benefits. Weekends sometimes have college parties in the hot springs pools that can get a bit crazy in there, so if you’re looking for a more traditional experience, I’d go on a weekday. Take the free walking tour – There is a lot of history to learn about the city. The local guide will share a lot of good details such as the Mongolian, Turkish, and Soviet occupations. Go on a party cruise down the DanubeRiver – It is a great way to meet other travelers and enjoy the city from the water. After the cruise, they normally all go on a pub crawl.
Top 5 things that you Must do in Yangon/Bagan Myanmar. Get lost in temples in 2200 temples/Free E Bike Tour – You have to rent a electric bike to explore Bagan properly. For $3-$7 USD per day you can rent an E-Bike. It is very easy roads to drive on there and cars do not drive very fast. Don’t go for the normal bike because Bagan has a lot of hills. There is also a free E-biking tour that you should not miss. They cover thousands of years of history of Bagan. Bagan Sunrise – See the sunrise/sunset while hanging out on a tall pagoda in Bagan. Or, if you can spend the money, see it on a hot air balloon. It is a bit pricey for Myanmar standards but it’s worth it. Lost World Abandoned Park – In Yangon, there is an abandoned amusement park that everyone should take the time to explore. I made two videos about it. It was just like being in Lost World: Jurassic Park. Dogs, Cats, snakes, and huge spiders have taken over the area, and I would recommend watching out for them. Wear long pants long sleeves and close toed shoes. They plan to close it down and develop it in the next few years, so I would prioritize this visit! Crazy Train Ride – The Yangon circular train is a great way to hangout with locals and get a feeling of going back in time. It’s about a 3 hour journey to go all the way around. I recommend you bring some snacks and beer. Enjoy riding on the rails on a crazy train. Colonial Urbanization – Yangon has the most colonial building in all of south east Asia. You need to make time to walk around the city and enjoy the old architecture. You will feel like your going back in time.
Top 5 things to do in Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Kanchanaburi is a town west of Bangkok. It is famous for its Death Railway built during WW2. There is a lot to do and see in this city. Erawan Waterfalls National Park – It has some of the most clean, blue water in all of Thailand. There are 7 levels of waterfalls and you are allowed to climb up the falls and swim in the pools. I need to emphasize that if you are able, you must climb to the top and enjoy these natural pools. The views are fantastic! Tiger Temple – Founded in 1994 and has been trying to save tigers from poachers. You can get up close and pet some tamed tigers. I’d also recommend seeing a tiger show. They closed in 2016 for a controversy but reopened under the name “Tiger Petting Zoo”. This attraction may not be available forever and I recommend experiencing it while you can. Experience one of their luxury hotels – Despite its proximity to Bangkok, accommodations in Kachanaburi are very cheap. I always spring for luxury while there, and never regret it. Wat Than Khao Pun – It’s a temple inside a cave that has 9 rooms with various Buddha statues and natural formations. It’s accessible via water taxi, which is an experience in itself. The structure and design of this temple are extraordinary. Spend some time exploring. JEATH War Museum – This is a museum about the death railway built in 1942 to 1943 under Japanese supervision. It has a number of interesting exhibits and offers a good deal of historical knowledge.
Bonus tip: Kanchanaburi has got an amazing night life on the weekends. The locals all go out for live music and dancing. It is a lot of fun actually and more simple to get around than Bangkok for the night life. No need for a taxi. How many countries have you visited so far?
I have been to about 50 countries/ territories all together. What is your favorite thing you’ve learned about a particular place or people in your travels?
I appreciate the culture in Myanmar. Comparatively, they have very little, but the people there seem so content. I felt I learned so much from my time with them. What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
My top 3 cuisines are Thai, Veitnamese, and Lebanese. What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
In Yangon, there is a restaurant called Monsoon. They specialize in Burmese food and also have a great selection of south east Asian cuisine. I recommend the Tom Ka Gai a.k.a. Thai Coconut cream chicken soup or for Burmese food their Ohn No Kyawswe (“oh no”) a.k.a. coconut noodle soup is amazing. “Oh No” is way more thick coconut cream than Tom Ka. Burmese food at Monsoon is very high quality and is authentic plus it is affordable. Best bang for your buck in all of southeast Asia. What is your favorite travel movie?
Hangover 2 What is your favorite international airport?
Narita Airport because of the whiskey samplings you can take while you wait for your flight. Which city had the friendliest people?
Yangon maybe has the most genuinely nice people. People will ask you to have beer or tea on the street with them. I was there during Chinese New year and the Indians Burmese and Chinese were having a amazing time celebrating together. Many different religious communities cultures living in the same area all getting along. Who is your favorite travel companion?
I almost always travel alone because no one is able to get time off work to join me. I honestly love to travel by my self because you never know what kind of people you can meet on your journey. What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
Hanging out with locals and people from the hostel. I love to learn about what the city is special for, and research all the history. Free walking tours can be a great way to get to know a city. I also think it’s fun to experience the night life options in every city. What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
The most exotic places i have been is Myanmar because the culture has been so well preserved. It is just so different compared to it’s surrounding countries . What is your best bit of travel advice for someone who wants to, or is about to, embark on a life of travel?
Pack light and enjoy the time getting to the destination instead of being anxious to arrive. Go with the flow and do as the locals do. Don’t be afraid to try new things. What are 4 things you could never travel without?
I am a minimalist while traveling. Since I started doing videos, I have to travel with a Smart phone, mavic air drone, video camera and my clothes, but before i started my channel, I just traveled with a small backpack, and my basic necessity items. Just clothes, tooth brush, and passport. Less is more for me. What is your ultimate dream destination?
My dream destination would be to travel to travel more places in West China in the areas of Xinjiang and Tibet. In these autonomous regions is a great mix of cultures and diversity. There are some zones foreigners can’t go currently. This summer I will go to a place close to Xinjiang called Ningxia. What is your favorite travel quote?
“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.” – Anthony Bourdain Where are you headed next?
I am going to go to Philipines to meet up with another YouTuber, Max Mcfarland, to explore deep into the cuisine of Manila’s back streets. I will also be seeing if I can find another organization doing something to help the kids. Bio
Originally I come from California. I have been living abroad for almost 8 years in China. I speak Chinese fluently and speak Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Spanish on a basic level. My passion is to travel, and make videos showing the struggles and inspiration of every life abroad. I love different cultures from around the world. Traveling is not easy but what you get from it is a new understanding of every place you go.
Connect with Robert on his YouTube , Instagram , Facebook , Tumblr , and Twitter to learn more about him and his travels! Related

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WEEKLY MENU PLAN (#200)

Yummly WEEKLY MENU PLAN (#200) – A delicious collection of dinner, side dish and dessert recipes to help you plan your weekly menu and make life easier for you! In these menu plans, we will be sharing some of our favorite recipe ideas for you to use as you are planning out your meals for the week. Just click any of the recipe titles or pictures to get the recipe. A little about how we plan our week and our menu plan: Mondays are soup and salad. Tuesdays we are bringing you delicious Mexican cuisine. Wednesdays are a taste of Italy. Thursdays are designed around yummy sandwiches, burgers, and wraps. Fridays are a no cook day around here. Going out with friends and loved ones is something that we think is important. It’s your night off from cooking- enjoy! Saturdays are an exotic food night, it’s a great night to try something new, from cooking with seafood, to trying Indian or Thai dishes. Sundays are a traditional old fashioned all American family dinner- think meat and potatoes. 🙂 There will also always be a couple of delectable desserts to use any day you wish. A new weekly menu plan will be posted every SUNDAY morning so be sure to check back each week! CLICK ON THE LINKED RECIPE TITLES OR PHOTOS TO GET THE FULL RECIPE WEEK #200

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How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

Indians, along with the Nepalese, Pakistanis and many others, have been cooking with it for centuries. As Americans now embrace this ingredient with gusto, will its culinary heritage get blurred?
from Arts & Life : NPR https://n.pr/2HfptT2

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How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation? By Priya Krishna • 1 hour ago Chickpea flour is gaining attention thanks to its gluten-free binding properties. But the ingredient has been a staple of cooking for Indians, Pakistanis and many others for centuries. Pinkybird / Getty Images
There’s a specific section of my family’s fridge that is reserved for the large, seemingly bottomless tub of chickpea flour — or as we and lots of other Indians who also rely on it call it, besan — that my parents keep on hand. We’re not gluten-free, nor do we do a lot of baking. Yet chickpea flour shows up everywhere in our food. It’s the nutty coating for my mom’s green beans spiced with earthy ajwain , the key ingredient in her creamy, tangy, yogurt-based soup, kadhi , and the base for our favorite variety of laddoos , sweet, fudge-like balls flavored with ghee, sugar and nuts.
Across the many regional cuisines in India, chickpea flour is a common denominator: Gujaratis turn it into pudla , thin, savory crepes laced with turmeric and chilies. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, it can be found in jhunka , a spicy porridge. And in Andhra Pradesh, it is the thickener in Senagapindi Kura , an onion-heavy stew. For the country’s large vegetarian population, where eggs are often considered non-vegetarian, chickpea flour mixed with water serves as a convincing omelet replacement.
Indians — along with the Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians, the French, and many others — have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. Americans, on the other hand, only seem to have woken up to the ingredient in the last decade or so. And they’ve woken up in a big way.
It’s hard to trace the exact origin of chickpea flour’s sudden popularity in the U.S. Anna Stockwell, the senior food editor of the publications Epicurious and Bon Appétit , said she first started seeing chickpea flour around 2009 on gluten-free blogs. Stockwell is gluten-free herself, and was excited to find a recipe for savory chickpea pancakes.
She didn’t know much about chickpea flour’s culinary heritage, but she was immediately excited. “Its binding power was magic,” she recalls. “All you have to do is combine chickpea flour and water, and suddenly you can make flatbread, or fritters or vegetable pancakes.” Still, Stockwell saw it as a niche ingredient — something only gluten-free consumers cared about. She wasn’t even allowed to call for it in Epicurious recipes.
Slowly but surely, that started to change. In 2010, one of the more popular recipes from Plenty , Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling cookbook, was a chickpea flour pancake, or socca , as it’s known in France, layered with tomatoes and onions. In 2015, food and fitness writer Camilla Saulsbury wrote the popular book The Chickpea Flour Cookbook . That was followed a year later by Chickpea Flour Does It All , by blogger Lindsey Love.
Lani Halliday, the founder of Brutus Bakeshop, a gluten-free Brooklyn bakery, says she noticed a huge uptick in the number of chickpea flour-based, gluten-free sweets available about a decade ago. For baked goods, chickpea flour worked uniquely well, “as it can hold air bubbles and hold moisture,” she says. Plus, “it was cheap, it was accessible, and it was versatile.”
Halliday launched her bakery in 2015. One of her bestselling items among both gluten-free and non-gluten-free customers was a chocolate cupcake made with chickpea flour.
Stockwell believes the mainstreaming of chickpea flour is directly linked to one company in particular — Banza. The company started producing its chickpea flour-based pasta in 2014, and by 2017, it was in 8,000-plus grocery stores and had raised $8 million in funding. The key to the company’s success? It didn’t exclusively market itself as a gluten-free product. Instead, it was branded as health food. And it was one of the first alternative pastas that had a smooth, al dente texture, just like the real thing.
“I had friends who had never heard of chickpea flour, but now they eat Banza,” Stockwell says. “It’s not because they are trying to eat gluten-free but because it’s a delicious and higher-protein pasta. It’s a substitute for empty carbs.”
This year, Epicurious was finally allowed to publish recipes with chickpea flour. Dennis Vaughn, the CEO of Bob’s Red Mill, says that in the past five years, chickpea flour has become a clear bestseller among the company’s sundry flour options.
“My grocery store doesn’t even carry red meat,” Stockwell says, “but they carry Bob’s Red Mill” chickpea flour.
In many ways, it has been weird to watch this ingredient that has always felt so quotidian to me become so ubiquitous so quickly in the U.S. This is certainly not the first Indian ingredient or dish this has happened to. Consider turmeric, chai, or khichdi , which have all been claimed by the wellness community and food bloggers as their own, often times without giving due credit to Indian cuisine. It baffles me that the vast majority of people I talk to are shocked to hear that chickpea flour has long been a common ingredient in my family’s cooking.
On the other hand, it was important to me when I was writing my new cookbook, Indian-ish , that people could find the ingredients for the dishes in their average grocery store. Because chickpea flour is now so common, I could include recipes like those addictive chickpea flour green beans, and the silky, soupy kadhi .
I’m not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream. But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn’t frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.
No one culture can “own” an ingredient — I’m literally writing this with a box of Banza chickpea pasta in my kitchen cabinet — but let’s not treat food like it exists in a vacuum. There’s context for that chickpea flour flatbread you’re making for dinner. Don’t take it for granted.
Priya Krishna is a food writer who contributes to The New York Times, Bon Appétit , and others. She also serves as one of the hosts of Bon Appétit’s video series, From the Test Kitchen . She is the author of the cookbook Indian-ish: Recipes And Antics From A Modern American Family . Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ PKgourmet Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. UPR Partners

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How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?

How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation? By Priya Krishna • 1 hour ago Chickpea flour is gaining attention thanks to its gluten-free binding properties. But the ingredient has been a staple of cooking for Indians, Pakistanis and many others for centuries. Pinkybird / Getty Images
There’s a specific section of my family’s fridge that is reserved for the large, seemingly bottomless tub of chickpea flour — or as we and lots of other Indians who also rely on it call it, besan — that my parents keep on hand. We’re not gluten-free, nor do we do a lot of baking. Yet chickpea flour shows up everywhere in our food. It’s the nutty coating for my mom’s green beans spiced with earthy ajwain , the key ingredient in her creamy, tangy, yogurt-based soup, kadhi , and the base for our favorite variety of laddoos , sweet, fudge-like balls flavored with ghee, sugar and nuts.
Across the many regional cuisines in India, chickpea flour is a common denominator: Gujaratis turn it into pudla , thin, savory crepes laced with turmeric and chilies. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, it can be found in jhunka , a spicy porridge. And in Andhra Pradesh, it is the thickener in Senagapindi Kura , an onion-heavy stew. For the country’s large vegetarian population, where eggs are often considered non-vegetarian, chickpea flour mixed with water serves as a convincing omelet replacement.
Indians — along with the Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians, the French, and many others — have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. Americans, on the other hand, only seem to have woken up to the ingredient in the last decade or so. And they’ve woken up in a big way.
It’s hard to trace the exact origin of chickpea flour’s sudden popularity in the U.S. Anna Stockwell, the senior food editor of the publications Epicurious and Bon Appétit , said she first started seeing chickpea flour around 2009 on gluten-free blogs. Stockwell is gluten-free herself, and was excited to find a recipe for savory chickpea pancakes.
She didn’t know much about chickpea flour’s culinary heritage, but she was immediately excited. “Its binding power was magic,” she recalls. “All you have to do is combine chickpea flour and water, and suddenly you can make flatbread, or fritters or vegetable pancakes.” Still, Stockwell saw it as a niche ingredient — something only gluten-free consumers cared about. She wasn’t even allowed to call for it in Epicurious recipes.
Slowly but surely, that started to change. In 2010, one of the more popular recipes from Plenty , Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling cookbook, was a chickpea flour pancake, or socca , as it’s known in France, layered with tomatoes and onions. In 2015, food and fitness writer Camilla Saulsbury wrote the popular book The Chickpea Flour Cookbook . That was followed a year later by Chickpea Flour Does It All , by blogger Lindsey Love.
Lani Halliday, the founder of Brutus Bakeshop, a gluten-free Brooklyn bakery, says she noticed a huge uptick in the number of chickpea flour-based, gluten-free sweets available about a decade ago. For baked goods, chickpea flour worked uniquely well, “as it can hold air bubbles and hold moisture,” she says. Plus, “it was cheap, it was accessible, and it was versatile.”
Halliday launched her bakery in 2015. One of her bestselling items among both gluten-free and non-gluten-free customers was a chocolate cupcake made with chickpea flour.
Stockwell believes the mainstreaming of chickpea flour is directly linked to one company in particular — Banza. The company started producing its chickpea flour-based pasta in 2014, and by 2017, it was in 8,000-plus grocery stores and had raised $8 million in funding. The key to the company’s success? It didn’t exclusively market itself as a gluten-free product. Instead, it was branded as health food. And it was one of the first alternative pastas that had a smooth, al dente texture, just like the real thing.
“I had friends who had never heard of chickpea flour, but now they eat Banza,” Stockwell says. “It’s not because they are trying to eat gluten-free but because it’s a delicious and higher-protein pasta. It’s a substitute for empty carbs.”
This year, Epicurious was finally allowed to publish recipes with chickpea flour. Dennis Vaughn, the CEO of Bob’s Red Mill, says that in the past five years, chickpea flour has become a clear bestseller among the company’s sundry flour options.
“My grocery store doesn’t even carry red meat,” Stockwell says, “but they carry Bob’s Red Mill” chickpea flour.
In many ways, it has been weird to watch this ingredient that has always felt so quotidian to me become so ubiquitous so quickly in the U.S. This is certainly not the first Indian ingredient or dish this has happened to. Consider turmeric, chai, or khichdi , which have all been claimed by the wellness community and food bloggers as their own, often times without giving due credit to Indian cuisine. It baffles me that the vast majority of people I talk to are shocked to hear that chickpea flour has long been a common ingredient in my family’s cooking.
On the other hand, it was important to me when I was writing my new cookbook, Indian-ish , that people could find the ingredients for the dishes in their average grocery store. Because chickpea flour is now so common, I could include recipes like those addictive chickpea flour green beans, and the silky, soupy kadhi .
I’m not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream. But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn’t frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.
No one culture can “own” an ingredient — I’m literally writing this with a box of Banza chickpea pasta in my kitchen cabinet — but let’s not treat food like it exists in a vacuum. There’s context for that chickpea flour flatbread you’re making for dinner. Don’t take it for granted.
Priya Krishna is a food writer who contributes to The New York Times, Bon Appétit , and others. She also serves as one of the hosts of Bon Appétit’s video series, From the Test Kitchen . She is the author of the cookbook Indian-ish: Recipes And Antics From A Modern American Family . Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ PKgourmet Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 KRWG

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