Give your macaroni and cheese, a protein and fiber boost!
Nostalgia breeds invention
I grew up eating chickpea flour based snacks, stews and gravy. It is the flour that's dearest to me in flavor and texture. Smooth in sauces and deep fry that baby - and ooh yeah, it's crunchy and packed with flavor. Read on.. if you are a reader, but if you are more of a video demo person here's the detailed recipe video!
Now that I am older and a bit wiser, I am made aware of the tremendous health benefits as well. Chickpea flour is nothing more than dried chickpeas, ground to a flour-like consistency. Other names for chickpea flour include gram flour, cici flour and garbanzo bean flour. They are all the same. It has fewer calories and carbs than either whole-wheat or all-purpose white flour, yet it's a better source of protein. Chickpea flour has
- 2x the amount of protein than whole-wheat flour
- 6x more than all-purpose flour and
- 7x more folate than whole-wheat flour
What is millet flour and what is pearl millet anyway?
Pearl millet is what I knew growing up as "bajra" - a popular staple in the wester states of India and fondly eaten as roti (tortillas). it's great for children, men and women! A must eat grain. Now it's picking up popularity in the mainstream population. Bob's red mill even has a whole grain version of it in stores! A recent article quoted the following health benefits for pearl millets:
- Millets are a great source of starch, making it a high-energy food. It is also an excellent source of protein and fiber. It is said that the amino acids in the pearl millet are more easily digestible than the ones found in wheat.
- Due to essential nutrients such as methionine (an amino acid), B complex vitamins (niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin), folic acid, lecithin, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc, millets are very effective in several roles. Niacin reduces cholesterol while magnesium is essential for maintaining good heart health, as it lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attacks.
- Recent studies have proven that regular consumption of pearl millets help in preventing gallstones in women. They contain insoluble fibers which not only speed up intestinal transit time but also reduce the secretion of bile acids. Pearl millets are known to increase insulin sensitivity and lower the level of triglycerides.
- Regular intake of millets provides protection against breast cancer in pre-menopausal women. Apart from that, it has also shown a considerable reduction in the occurrence of wheezing and asthma in children.
- Consumption of pearl millets helps in minimizing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Being a good source of magnesium, millets act as a cofactor in a number of enzymatic reactions.
So, now my challenge was to include it in ways the kiddos and hubs would go for it!
And, it turns out, they did and loved it!
Compared to an out of the box mac and cheese, this only takes 10 more mins (it really does!). Super easy to make and the taste is such a welcome break from the same usual ones you find in a box. Plus, it's not processed and actually real food. Go for it, give this a try in your kitchen!
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 2 tbsp pearl millet flour
- 1 tbsp ghee or brown butter or regular unsalted butter
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2/3 cup of mild cheddar cheese
- 1 cup milk (more or less depending on how thick you want the sauce to be)
- 3 cups of elbows pasta
- Cook pasta per directions, drain and set aside
- In a heavy bottom stainless steel container, add butter
- Add onion and garlic powder immediately followed by the chickpea flour and pearl millet flour
- Stir with a whisk so they get cooked perhaps about 1-1.5 mins, stirring constantly
- Add room temperature milk while continuously making concentric circles
- Add cheese and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes on low heat
- Turn the heat off and mix in the pasta