An absolutely common breakfast / snack in northern part of India is this Besan ka Cheela / Chilla (बेसन का चीला). This is traditional Gram flour (Besan) based pancake recipe which is also popularly known as Pudla or Vegetarian Omelette owing to its colour and texture and similarity to Omelette. A gluten-free and vegan savory pancake made from gram flour and veggies, this Besan Chilla is a famous Indian food, mostly served as breakfast.
“Besan Cheela” has lot similarity to Dosa of southern India or pancakes of west (except that besan chilla is not sweet but savoury). During those busy morning hours, this comes pretty handy as a quick breakfast recipe, or when you bored of routine cereals try out this simple recipe, absolutely filling and is ready really quickly.
This besan cheela recipe is pretty simple, which is mainly making pancake like mixture from gram flour, adding spices to the same and topping with vegetables. That’s it! This recipe of besan cheela / chilla (or I may call veg omelette) takes about 20mins.
Gram Flour / Besan Nutrition
What is Besan?
Besan is gram flour and is used to make variety of dishes in India, including sweets and savouries. Besan flour is gluten-free and vegan and is also protein packed. For 100 gms of gram flour / besan, we get 387Cal and 22 gms of protein and 10 gms of fibre (as per USDA). This 100gms besan also offers calcium, potassium and sodium, while fat is only 6g.
This makes besan a good choice for health. This besan chilla primarily contains besan and veggies (or paneer) all of which is good for health. Try not to add too much oil when making besan chilla.
Why eat this Besan Cheela
- It is gluten-free as well as vegan
- This is great way to incorporating veggies in your meal. Top up with your preferred choice of vegetable. I have only used onion and tomato to suggest that besan chilla tastes awesome even with basic vegetables.
- Pudla / Besan chilla is a great breakfast or snack option, as this besan chilla is very much filling.
Some of the common problems faced while making besan cheela and its resolution.
Cheela or chilla, is getting stuck to the pan, for this, make sure pan is hot enough and have been oiled well before pouring the batter. Also, ensure your batter has consistency and no lumps of gram flour.
My Cheela got broken while turning, for this you need to make sure first that one side is cooked before you attempt turning over, and you also need to use wide spatula.
My pancake/ chilla is cold by the time I am eating, for this you can easily re-heat in microwave or you can put it back on pan, re-heat on low heat
Whilst this recipe is fairly simple, I will recommend that preparing the batter to a good consistency will yield nice Cheela / Pancake. Secondly, if you add carom seeds, it will help in good digestion. I recommend doing so if you have it in your kitchen cupboard. Besan chilla is best enjoyed with mint coriander chutney , tomato ketchup and masala chai.
What can I add in besan chilla? You may also top up besan chilla with spinach, capsicum, beetroot, methi, potato, paneer etc. Best way will be to chop the veggies (shred potato and paneer) and add to besan.
Lets get to the detailed step by step pictorial recipe of Besan Cheela.
Besan Cheela | Veg Omelette Recipe
- 1 Cup Gram flour / Besan
- 1 Small Onion Finely Chopped
- 1 Small Tomato Finely Chopped
- 1 Green chilli Finely Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Coriander Leaves Finely Chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt As Per Taste
- 1/4 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder As Per Taste
- 1/3 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Carom Seeds
- 4 Tablespoon Oil
- 1/3 Teaspoon Roasted cumin powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Chaat Masala Optional
- First of all, add gram flour in a mixing bowl.
- Add 1/2 cup of water and whisk it to a smooth batter. Keep this aside for 10 minutes.
- Now add salt, Chilli powder, turmeric, roasted cumin powder, chaat masala and carom seeds and mix well.
- Add chopped onion, tomato, green chilli and coriander leaves and mix it well. Now with the help of a ladle, check the flowing consistency of batter. If it’s thick, add little more water and whisk.
- Heat a non stick tava on medium flame and pour a ladleful of batter in the centre and spread gently in circular motion like normal dosa / pancake.
- After one minute, spread little oil all over it and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, so that it is cooked well.
- Flip it over and let it cook for 2 minute from this side too.
- Take it out and serve it hot.
Always soak and rest the batter for sometime. That will help in making smooth chilla.
You can make this cheela with numerous variations. For example, adding other vegetables of your choice like green beans, spinach, capsicum etc. Or you can add cheese to make simple cheese chilla. Likewise tofu can be a great addition.
The batter should be of same consistency as of normal dosa batter.
- Use a non-stick pan for the ease of removing the cheela from pan and retaining the shape of cheela