This recipe is a variation of an Indian dessert called besan halva. Cocoa is not a traditional ingredient, but with so many chocolate lovers out there, it seemed like a good choice. I also use coconut oil instead of butter or ghee. They are quite fudgy, reminiscent of brownies.
½ cup coconut oil
⅔ cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
½ cup coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar)
½ cup cocoa powder
For this recipe you will need a skillet and a saucepan. Melt oil in a medium-size skillet. Add chickpea flour and cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light brown and develops a nutty aroma (5–10 minutes). In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk together, then bring to boil. Slowly add boiling water mixture to hot chickpea flour mixture. Be careful, as mixture will bubble up. Cook briefly, stirring as the mixture comes together and thickens. Transfer onto wax paper or a cookie sheet. When cool enough to handle, press down into a square or rectangle. Let cool thoroughly. Cut into squares. Makes 15–20 bite-size pieces.
Health Benefits of Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour, also known as besan, garbanzo flour or gram flour — not graham — is a wheat-free flour alternative made from lightly roasted, dried and ground garbanzo beans or chickpeas. Indian markets and/or health food stores are the best places to find this legume-based flour. It is high in carbohydrates and protein, contains some fat and is gluten-free. This nutrient-rich flour is a food source of many vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber.
Ethnic cuisines worldwide, from India to the Middle East to Italy to Provence, France, use chickpea flour. It is extremely versatile, in addition to being a nutrient powerhouse.
Basic Nutrition Value
Chickpea flour is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It is particularly high in folate or vitamin B9, thiamin or vitamin B1, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, copper and manganese. It is a good food source of other micronutrients, such as vitamin K and zinc. Few other flour substitutes, with the exception of soy flour, are more nutrient-rich.
Minerals and Dietary Fiber
A 100 g serving of besan meets 41.5 percent of the DV for magnesium; 24 percent for potassium; 32 percent for phosphorus; 27 percent for iron and 19 percent for zinc. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans reports that children, adolescents and adults in the US do not consume enough magnesium-potassium- and fiber-rich foods. The minerals are important for maintaining strong bones, regulating blood pressure, aiding in energy metabolism and muscle contraction. Dietary fiber promotes regular bowel movements. In addition, iron and zinc may be deficient in the diets of older Americans. Iron plays a role in transporting oxygen throughout the bloodstream. Both nutrients support a healthy immune system and zinc helps regulate blood sugar, promotes wound healing and performs other functions.
Indian cuisine incorporates chickpea flour into more dishes than other cultures. It is used as a thickener and to make pancakes and fritters, such as chilla, an Indian “street” or fast food. In the Middle East, chickpea flour is an important ingredient for making falafel, deep-fried chickpea ‘balls.’ French Provençal chefs use chickpea flour to make socca, a pancake popular in Nice. Liguria, Italy is known for ‘panissa,’ a chickpea flour-based polenta. For vegan recipes, you can replace eggs with equal parts chickpea flour and water. If you do not eat it, you can wear it, literally. Indian women make a paste composed of besan and water or yogurt and apply it to their face as an exfoliant.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Thyroid-stimulating: Research shows that coconut oil contains a medium-chain fatty acids accelerate that stimulates metabolism, gives you more energy.
- Get candida in check: Coconut oil has a good quantity of caprylic acid in it which is well known to kill off excess candida by targeting harmful bacteria.
- Lowers cholesterol: It is rich in lauric acid, which protects your heart by reducing total cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.
- Helps with weight loss: Here is an interesting fact about coconut oil; even though it is a fat, it actually helps with weight loss! The healthy medium chain fatty acids do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats; they are sent directly to the liver and are converted into energy. Thus the body does not store the fat in coconut oil as fat; it uses it to produce energy instead.
- Helps keep diabetes in check: It does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream. Instead it helps control blood sugar by improving the secretion of insulin. Note: This is not a free pass to eat a lot of sugarand other dumb carbs.
- Reduces heart disease: studies on people in the Pacific Islands found that their total caloric intake included thirty to sixty percent from fully saturated coconut oil. These Pacific Islanders have nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease.
- Gastrointestinal malabsorption diseases: Combining vitamin E supplements with coconut oil through the skin proved to be a good alternative for those with gastrointestinal malabsorption diseases.
- Supports the immune system. It is rich in lauric acid, a nutrient that supports the body’s immune system.
- Good for the skin: When applied externally it forms a protective antibacterial layer protecting the infected body part. Also, coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by helping to repair damaged tissue.
- Nourishing for the brain: Studies show that it improves cognitive function, and stalls, or even reverses neurodegenerative diseases in their early stages
- Ancient medicine: Coconut oil has been part of Ayurvedic medicine for 5,000 years in India.