BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Chickpea Flour Flatbread

  • Prep Time 5 minutes
  • Cook Time 6 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $3

Chickpea flour is one of those wonderous miracle flours. High in protein (6 grams per 1/4 cup serving) and fiber (5 grams per 1/4 cup serving), and relatively low in carbohydrates (18 grams per 1/4 cup serving, only 13 of which are effective, after you subtract the fiber), it's an ideal product for anyone avoiding gluten or refined carbohydrates.

I tend to develop junior high school crushes on ingredients. Sweet potatoes, kale, coconut milk, avocados, and chicken thighs have all been my jam (come to think of it, jam, too, has been my jam).

Well, the latest stud on my culinary dance card is none other than chickpea flour, also known as besan or gram flour (the lattermost is not to be confused with graham flour, famously used in graham crackers). I first learned about it when my friend Andrew told me about a pizza crust he made with it. He said it was deliciously crisp and flavorful--not to mention tailored to accommodate several dietary restrictions.

My ongoing curiosity about chickpea flour was recently satisfied on a Sunday trip to Vik's Chaat in Berkeley, where I like the food, but I love the adjacent Indian grocery store, with its affordable bulk spices, unique teas, outrageously cheap and delicious raw nuts, and fabulous selection of paneer. At Vik's, an enormous two-pound bag of chickpea flour could be mine for a song (OK, for $3). 

Chickpea flour is one of those wonderous miracle flours. High in protein (6 grams per 1/4 cup serving) and fiber (5 grams per 1/4 cup serving), and relatively low in carbohydrates (18 grams per 1/4 cup serving, only 13 of which are effective, after you subtract the fiber), it's an ideal product for anyone avoiding gluten or refined carbohydrates. It tastes nutty but light, and when cooked in a little bit of oil, become outrageously crispy on the exterior while maintaining a lovely tenderness on the inside. 

After much research and several flops (some of my attempts to make this literally flopped, and not in a good way) I have nailed what I believe is the most perfect chickpea flour flatbread around. It's somewhere between naan and a dosa or crepe. Serve it with curry, soup, creamy greek yogurt for dipping, or eat it on its own. I promise, you, too, will be hooked. 


  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan) $3 for 16 oz.
  • pinch of salt Pantry
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped Optional
  • pinch red chile pepper flakes Optional
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil Pantry

Recipe Serves 2


  1. Sift the chickpea flour and salt together into a mixing bowl, using a sifter or a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Whisk in 1/3 of the water, to form a thick paste, making sure to eliminate all of the lumps. 
  3. Whisk in the remainder of the water. The batter should look and feel like thin pancake batter.
  4. Stir in the cilantro and chile flakes, if using.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan, jiggling the pan a little bit if necessary, to help the batter spread.
  7. Cook the batter for 3-4 minutes, until it becomes firm, and the bottom turns golden brown and crisp.
  8. Carefully flip using the largest spatula you own, then cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes, until it also becomes golden brown and crisp.
  9. Remove from the pan, cut into wedges, and serve.

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What They're Saying

Anne, on Oct 8, 12:02 AM, wrote:

How much water? The recipe doesn’t seem to say.

Gabi Moskowitz , on Oct 8, 05:00 AM, wrote:

2/3 cup! Edited that. Thanks, Anne!

Violet, on Dec 22, 05:40 AM, wrote:

Thank you for this recipe! I have this cooking right now, smells delicious.

paul mclellan, on Dec 24, 03:18 PM, wrote:

This is the provencale dish called socca. they cook it in brass pans in a pizza oven there but I’ve had success in a cast-iron skillet

martin, on Apr 14, 07:05 AM, wrote:

the result is one flatbread? (on normal size of skillet :))

Bob, on Jun 16, 09:19 AM, wrote:

As a recently diagnosed gluten intolerant I have missed home made breads as none of the flours I have found to be gluten free take well to my tried and tested favourites

This has opened my eyes to a new tasty alternate and I would recommend highly, I’ve been adding chopped sun dried tomatoes and caramelised onions and different herbs to make the pancake breads fit with different cuisines.

Quincy, on Jul 8, 01:41 PM, wrote:

I have tried the recipe several times and the bread is never thoroughly cooked using a cast iron skillet.

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ramin, on Jan 26, 02:15 AM, wrote:

The virgin olive oil is not recommended for frying.
The refined ( hot pressed ) olive oil has tolerance for heat.

Elizabeth Ruby, on Feb 15, 10:33 AM, wrote:

wish you had a way of saving recipe or pinning for easy reference, but all is good… Thx

Mark M, on Feb 17, 04:00 PM, wrote:

Is a 9-inch fry pan large enough or do I need larger

cc pean, on Apr 22, 07:24 AM, wrote:

Made this for breakfast. Have been looking for alkaline breakfast bread. THIS WAS AMAZING. Will be adding this to my breakfast rotation. I did add a bit more salt, but overall was perfect. Loved the crispiness on the edges.

Connie, on Apr 30, 10:05 AM, wrote:

Whew, just tried this, really needs a pinch of salt… And perhaps a pinch of coconut sugar… But it will work as a MUCH less expensive alternative to almond flour bread! With tweaks to one’s personal tastes, it works. Thank you for the recipe!

Les, on May 22, 10:16 PM, wrote:

Saw this and tried it, now use 1/2 chickpea & 1/2 wholemeal and make thin wraps for meat & veg/salad regularly-2-3 times a week. brilliant recipe, many thanks.

Roxanne Thrash, on Jun 12, 07:56 AM, wrote:

How many calories for this? You say it serves 2 people? thanks., roxanne

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This chickpea flour flatbread recipe looks very great and it can served to kid`s as evening snacks after they arrive from school. The ingredients used in this are very simple ones and can be seen in any house kitchen. I would like to prepare this recipe in my kitchen and see how good I can do.

Jake, on Sep 1, 09:53 AM, wrote:

You should try the Italian version. It is called Farinata and is a specialty in the province of Liguria. It’s baked rather than fried, but you use a lot of olive oil and it’s delicious! The only problem with chickpea-based breads is that they don’t keep well. So eat them up while they are hot!

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Jane, on Sep 12, 12:07 AM, wrote:

Flatbread? More like scramble. Stuck to my cast iron, well seasoned and greased pan like glue. Waste of time.

Sam , on Oct 25, 09:51 AM, wrote:

This tastes great. Brilliant recipe. I made 2 very thin crispy flat-cakes from the recipe but only used one tsp of oil to cook each one, so 2Tbsp is not necc if you want to watch fat intake. Used a bit of black pepper + salt to season the batter. Truly scrumptious and amazingly simple.

Kim, on Nov 13, 10:36 PM, wrote:

Hi. Will be trying this today. Can they be frozen?

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Many thanks for this recipe…so simple, so quick, but so delicious and versatile xx

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what is different betwen flatbread and pizza?

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Thelma, on Apr 23, 10:33 AM, wrote:

More chick pea flour recepies pleas

Robyn, on May 1, 07:06 AM, wrote:

Bought a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Chick pea flour and have been dying to use. I just mixed up very little with water to pancake batter consistency. I didn’t let sit very long because I was hungry. I drizzled a little avocado oil in nonstick pan. Made one small pancake size flatbread. Spread basil pesto and topped with arugula and grated fresh Parmesan . Baked til cheese melted. Perfect little snack/lunch. Love this flour!!!

Cordy, on May 18, 10:29 PM, wrote:

Pizza crust? It seems to be very tempting

MizGOSS, on Jun 17, 08:26 PM, wrote:

Hello there
My daughter is doing a charity fund raiser living on the rations given to refugees for a week to raise $$ to support refugees. We found your recipe for the chick pea pancakes/flat bread and made it in a blini pan and it turned out fabulous. Thanks for the great idea regards Libby from the Blue Mountains in Australia.

Oscarella, on Jun 29, 07:51 AM, wrote:

Here’s a NYT recipe for the very similar Farinata/Socca that others have mentioned in the comments below:

jim, on Jul 4, 05:58 AM, wrote:

excellent first time results, although i did not need to use much water at all

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Super easy to make, I have just made two batches for afternoon tea and it went down a treat, the kids loved it.

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Such a confusing but appealing ingredient- I eat chickpeas roasted and I love hummus. I tried this recipe grilling several different consistencies and wanted my final product to be a little fluffier. I found the solution by using soda water from the soda stream! It worked great.

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We found your recipe for the chick pea pancakes/flat bread and made it in a blini pan and it turned out fabulous. Thanks for the great idea regards Libby from the Blue Mountains in Australia.

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Cook the batter for 3-4 minutes, until it becomes firm, and the bottom turns golden brown and crisp.

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Any thoughts on using this as a pizza crust?

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I love the taste, the ease and simplicity of this recipe but I can’t seem to get it out of the pan except in pieces …more like a scrambled egg. Desperate to nail this so has anybody got and tips? Tried cast iron skillet and ceramic frying pan.

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Whisk in the remainder of the water. The batter should look and feel like thin pancake batter.
How to do this?

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