Besan Chila (chickpea pancakes)
This is a quick and easy dish that’s kid approved! Chila are simple crepe texture pancakes made from chickpea flour (Besan in Hindi), Atta (a soft, Indian whole wheat flour) and some spices. Don’t worry, you can easily substitute whole wheat or all purpose flour.
The batter whips up in a matter minutes and is ready and waiting when your pan heats up. Each Chila only takes a minute or two to cook, so this is an ideal meal for when my family is pressed for time (like we were today getting everyone fed and out the door to my eldest son’s soccer game).
This is the first in a series of posts that will focus on straightforward and delicious Indian recipes. My versions combine what I’ve read, pouring through cookbooks and Indian food blogs, with some insider tips from my mother-in-law.
What I like about this dish, apart from it being easy and quick, is that it’s got some protein. This is always a priority for me since we’ve switched to a plant-based diet!
Traditionally these are eaten for breakfast, but my mother-in-law serves them to my boys as a lunch when we visit. In our house we eat them almost exclusively for dinner served with a good dollop of yogurt for dipping. You can pair with vegetable pakoras for texture and more veggies or even use in place of naan or rotis with your favourite curry!
My preference is to keep them simple with a few spices, onion and cilantro, but the possibilities are endless…just Google ‘Chila’ and see what looks appealing to you!
- 1 CUP CHICKPEA FLOUR Find at your local bulk food store
- 1 CUP ATTA Substitute whole wheat or all purpose flour
- 1 CUP WATER Add more or less to acheive a thick crepe batter consistency
- 1/2 CUP FINELY CHOPPED ONION
- 1/2 CUP CHOPPED CILANTRO
- 1/2 TSP GRATED GINGER
- 1/2 TSP TUMERIC
- 2 TSP SALT
- 1/2 TSP CAYENNE PEPPER Optional, add as much or as little as you like
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat.
- Add chickpea flour, atta to a medium sized mixing bowl. Add water a little at a time, whisking until smooth and fairly runny like a crepe batter.
- Add onion, ginger, cilantro and spices. Whisk to combine.
- Add a little oil to the pan and use a ladle to add batter to the the pan, using the bottom of the ladle moving in a circular direction to spread into a large circle.
- Wait until the top is nearly dry, then flip and cook the remaining side.
- Repeat with rest of batter - to make approximately 12 Chila.
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