Move over maida and atta, try these flour alternatives instead!

by Sanjeev Kapoor

The Indian food culture is rich and varied with each one of us consuming flour on a daily basis. It is a staple ingredient in our diets as most of the desi breads are made of either whole wheat flour or refined flour. However, there are many other varieties of flours that you might have missed to choose and prepare your meal from. 


So, let’s enter the world of flours! But before we dive into the respective flour description and the related qualities, it is important to address that there is no particular alternate flour that can be mentioned as the top performer. As it depends on the purpose for which one wishes to incorporate it, along with the nutritional requirements. It’s been a few years since the time when the healthy alternatives to majorly refined flour made its debut and became popular. On a trip down to the grocery store aisle today one can witness alternative flours popping up left, right and centre. Also, people becoming more health-conscious and some getting prone to wheat allergies find themselves looking for healthy flour alternatives. It’s quite obvious that white flour has to be limited or has to be striked off if one needs to focus on maintaining a nutrition filled diet. 


To sort your lives out here is a rundown of the healthiest flours, which you can incorporate in your kitchen to prepare some amazing dishes.


Oat flour 


This one is made from oats, which is naturally gluten-free, flavourful and nutritious. As per the archaeological studies, oats were found around 2000 BC. 



  1. High on carbohydrates.

  2. Lowers cholesterol, helps to shed those extra kilos.

  3. Satiety star.

  4. Decreases blood pressure.

  5. Rich in antioxidants.


Ragi flour 


Made by crushing dried finger millet (ragi/nachni) grains or spouting/drying and then grinding them. This grain actually originated in Africa and has reached many places after that. 



  1. Is gluten-free, high in proteins.

  2. Very high in fibre, hence boosts easy digestion.

  3. Rich in antioxidants. 

  4. Builds strong bones and teeth.

  5. Extremely beneficial for the skin.


Maize flour 


Corn made its first presence in Mexico about 10,000 years ago. It was later introduced in Europe by Christopher Columbus and other explorers, after which it spread to all areas of the world suitable for its cultivation.



  1. Prevents and cures constipation.

  2. Aids in losing weight.

  3. Is natural energy enhancer.

  4. Has anti-ageing properties. 

  5. Helps to cope with depression.

  6. Stabilises blood sugar level.


Jowar flour 


Jowar is also known as sorghum which is a hardy crop. The grains are often boiled or steamed and used in making porridges and soups or milled into flour, which is then used in making different preparations.



  1. Is gluten-free, packed with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients.

  2. Improves heart health.

  3. Rich in fibre and iron. 

  4. Cures bloating and good for treating diarrhoea, stomach ache and constipation.


Chickpea flour 


Chickpea is a high protein legume. It was originally found in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Eventually, chickpeas have become popular across the world.



  1. Packed with fibre.

  2. Aids satiety.

  3. Supports healthy bacteria.

  4. Is good for the heart.

  5. May help in preventing diabetes. 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.