Besan Chilla, also known as Chickpea Flour Pancake, is a beloved North Indian dish with a perfect blend of taste and health benefits. It’s a popular choice for breakfast, brunch, or even a light dinner option. Made primarily from gram flour (besan), this versatile dish is an ideal way to incorporate protein into your diet, especially if you’re vegetarian or looking to cut down on meat consumption.
- 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 small tomato, finely chopped
- 1-2 green chilies, finely chopped (adjust to your spice preference)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)
- Salt to taste
- Chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) for garnishing
- Oil or ghee (clarified butter) for cooking
- In a mixing bowl, add besan (chickpea flour), turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida, cumin seeds, and salt. Mix well.
- Gradually add water while whisking the mixture to avoid lumps. The consistency of the batter should be similar to that of dosa or pancake batter.
- Add chopped onions, tomatoes, green chilies, and chopped cilantro to the batter. Mix everything together.
- Heat a non-stick skillet or a griddle on medium heat. Once hot, drizzle a few drops of oil and spread it around the surface.
- Pour a ladleful of the besan batter onto the center of the skillet. Using the back of the ladle, gently spread the batter in a circular motion to form a thin pancake.
- Cook the chilla on medium heat until the edges start to lift and the bottom turns golden brown. Drizzle a little oil or ghee around the edges and on top.
- Flip the chilla carefully using a spatula and cook the other side until it's golden brown and crisp.
- Remove the cooked chilla from the skillet and serve hot. You can fold it in half or quarters for easy serving.
- Repeat the process with the remaining batter to make more chillas.
- Serve the besan chillas hot with your favorite chutney, yogurt, or pickle.
- The batter should be smooth and lump-free. Start by adding a little water at a time and whisking continuously to avoid lumps. If the batter becomes too thin, you can add a little more besan to thicken it.
- Chop the vegetables finely so that they cook evenly and are distributed throughout the chilla.
- Adjust the spice levels to your preference. If you like it spicier, you can increase the amount of green chilies or red chili powder. If you prefer a milder taste, reduce the spices accordingly.
- Allow the batter to rest for about 10-15 minutes after mixing. This helps the flavors meld and allows the besan to absorb the water, resulting in better consistency.
- Use a non-stick skillet or a well-seasoned cast-iron griddle for cooking chillas. This helps in making them easier to flip and prevents sticking.
- Start cooking the chilla on medium heat. Too high heat might cause it to cook unevenly or burn before it's fully cooked in the center.
- While a non-stick pan requires less oil, using a small amount of oil or ghee on the edges and the cooking surface helps in achieving a crispy texture.
- Pour the batter into the center of the skillet and use the back of the ladle to spread it in a circular motion from the center outwards. This will help you achieve a thin and even chilla.
- When cooking the chilla, wait until the edges start to lift and the bottom is golden brown before attempting to flip it. If you flip it too early, it might break.
- Experiment with fillings such as grated cheese, paneer (Indian cottage cheese), cooked spinach, or even leftover cooked vegetables.
- If you find that the chilla's center is not fully cooking, you can cover the skillet with a lid for a minute or so to help steam the center and ensure even cooking.
- Serve the besan chillas immediately after cooking to enjoy them at their best. They tend to lose their crispiness if left to sit for too long.
- Feel free to play around with the batter by adding chopped herbs like mint or coriander, or spices like garam masala for extra flavor.
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Serving Size:1 chilla, approximately 6-8 inches in diameter
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150-200Total Fat: 5-8gSaturated Fat: 1-2gUnsaturated Fat: 5-6gCarbohydrates: 20-25gFiber: 3-4gProtein: 5-8g
Besan chilla offers endless room for customization. You can enrich it with a mosaic of ingredients – finely chopped onions, juicy tomatoes, and vibrant herbs like cilantro. For those who appreciate a touch of heat, green chilies can be diced and added to the batter. Alternatively, you can introduce grated vegetables like carrots or zucchini to infuse the chilla with extra nutrients and a delightful crunch.
As the aroma of the besan chilla wafts through the kitchen, it beckons with promises of flavor and nourishment. Once cooked to perfection, the chilla can be folded into a crescent or cut into wedges for easy serving. It’s often accompanied by an assortment of accompaniments such as tangy chutneys, cooling yogurt, or zesty pickles.
serving suggestions for besan chilla
- For a more substantial meal, pair besan chilla with fragrant steamed rice and a side of lentils or dal.
- Add a touch of indulgence by serving the chilla with cubes of lightly pan-fried paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
- Garnish the chilla with a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro or mint leaves for a burst of herbal fragrance and flavor.
- If you’re in the mood for a richer option, sprinkle some grated cheese on the chilla before folding it. The cheese will melt slightly from the heat, adding creaminess to every bite.
- Create a fresh and crunchy salad to accompany the chilla. A simple salad with cucumber, tomatoes, and onions drizzled with lemon juice and a sprinkle of chaat masala can be a refreshing addition.
- You can add grated vegetables like carrots, zucchini, or spinach to the batter for added nutrition.
- Sprinkle some grated cheese on the chilla while it’s cooking for a cheesy twist.
- Experiment with different spices and herbs to create unique flavor profiles.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is besan chilla?
A: Besan chilla is a popular Indian dish made from chickpea flour (besan). It’s a type of savory pancake that is typically spiced and flavored with various ingredients like onions, tomatoes, and spices. It’s a quick and easy dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, snacks, or even a light meal.
Q: What is chickpea flour?
A: Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan, is a flour made from ground chickpeas (garbanzo beans). It has a nutty flavor and is commonly used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines for various dishes including chillas.
Q: Can I make besan chilla gluten-free?
A: Yes, besan chilla is naturally gluten-free since it’s made from chickpea flour, which does not contain gluten. Just make sure that the spices and other ingredients you use are also gluten-free to maintain the dish’s gluten-free status.
Q: Can I prepare the batter in advance?
A: Yes, you can prepare the besan chilla batter in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to a day. However, it’s best to cook the chillas just before serving for the freshest taste and texture.
Q: Can I customize the filling?
A: Absolutely! You can customize the filling of besan chilla to your liking. You can add ingredients like grated vegetables, paneer, cheese, herbs, or even cooked meat if you prefer a non-vegetarian option.
Q: How thin should the chilla be?
A: The chilla should be spread to a thin and even layer on the skillet. It’s similar to making a pancake, so aim for a thickness that allows it to cook through while remaining crispy on the edges.
Q: Can I make a sweet version of Chilla?
A: Yes, you can make a sweet version of chilla by adding a little sugar or jaggery to the batter along with some cardamom powder. You can also add chopped nuts and dried fruits for extra flavor.
Q: How do I prevent the chilla from sticking to the pan?
A: Using a non-stick skillet or a well-seasoned cast-iron griddle can help prevent sticking. Additionally, make sure to drizzle a small amount of oil or ghee on the cooking surface before pouring the batter.
Q: Can I reheat leftover chillas?
A: Yes, you can reheat leftover chillas in a skillet or microwave. However, keep in mind that they might lose some of their crispiness upon reheating.
Q: Is besan chilla healthy?
A: Besan chilla is considered a relatively healthy option as it’s made from chickpea flour, which is rich in protein and fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals. However, the healthiness also depends on the amount of oil or ghee used for cooking and the choice of fillings.
Q: What can I serve with besan chilla?
A: Besan chilla is often served with green chutney, tamarind chutney, yogurt, or pickle. It can also be enjoyed on its own or with a side salad.
besan chilla stands as a remarkable testament to the beauty of Indian cuisine – a dish that combines simplicity with creativity, resulting in a delicious and nutritious culinary delight. As we delve into the final thoughts on besan chilla, it’s evident that this humble chickpea flour pancake transcends mere sustenance; it’s an experience that engages the senses and brings people together.