Gram flour, or chana dal flour, is known as besan and it is one of the most widely known flours in the desi culinary repertoire. Besan is made from ground chana dal or split Bengal gram, also known as chickpea. It's a great alternative flour for refined wheat flour and maida. Besan is gluten-free and rich in healthy nutrients, among which two of the most important ones are dietary fibre and protein. No wonder that besan is used to make a whole variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury. From pakodas to crepe-like chillas to even halwas, ladoos etc., besan is star-ingredient used in numerous dishes. One such dish is the zunka or pithale, which is a savoury porridge-like dish that is served with traditional Indian flatbread bhakri.
The zunka or jhunka is a dish that is popular in the western states of Maharashtra and Goa as well as the neighbouring South Indian state of Karnataka.
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Jhunka (Zunka Or Pithale): Nutritional Value Of This Besan Porridge
As mentioned earlier, besan is rich in protein and dietary fibre. Hundred grams of besan or gram flour contains 22 grams of protein and 10 grams of dietary fibre, as per data by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Not only that, besan is also rich in calcium (45 mg), magnesium (166 mg or 47 per cent of daily value), phosphorus (318 mg or 45 per cent of DV) and potassium 846 mg or 18 per cent DV). This is what makes besan a great addition to a healthy diet, particularly for those who have high blood pressure and high blood sugar. The presence of fibre and protein in besan makes it great for improving satiety and keeping hunger pangs at bay.
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Protein-Rich Desi Recipe: Zunka or Jhunka is made from besan or gram flour
Coming to the jhunka, the method of preparing this delicious protein-rich desi dish is quite simple. The dish is simply made by cooking gram flour together with spices in water, until it thickens and gains a porridge-like consistency. The pithala or jhunka is made with a number of spices including hing or asafoetida, fresh green chillies, garlic cloves, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. The spices are crushed together and then cooked in a little bit of oil with besan.
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Take a look at the full video recipe by Vaishali Polke of the YouTube channel Being Marathi Recipes: