Besan Cheelas!

Few things remind me of delicious, childhood Sunday mornings !

Besan cheelas are crepes/pancakes made with ground chickpea flour and spices. This isn’t really a precise recipe. Once you get a good batter consistency, adjust the spices any way you like! These are very filling but not heavy at all – basically all protein.

You’ll need:

  • cooking oil with a high smoke point
  • chickpea flour (besan)
  • water
  • salt
  • spices, the following are recommended:
    • dried mint leaves
    • caraway seeds
    • red chili powder

Do this:

  • Scoop some besan into a bowl. For two people, I like four generously heaping spoonfuls.
  • Add your spices, starting with salt. Put at least 2 generous pinches of salt in the mix. I recommend two level spoonfuls each of caraway seeds and mint leaves and as much red chili as is comfortable. Stir it up to combine everything.
  • Slowly add water to the mix. Stir the combine. The mixture should have a consistency similar to a pancake batter.
  • Heat up a skillet with a minimum of cooking oil. The pan should be hot enough that the oil ripples on its own.
  • For the first cheela, put a spoonful of batter on the pan and use the back of the spoon to spread it to about an eighth of an inch thick (if the batter doesn’t spread, add more water to the batter, if it runs, add more besan.)
  • When the cheela has visible air pockets and the top starts to look dry, flip the cheela over. Cook it until both sides are totally dry and golden brown.
  • Taste the cheela. If it tastes kind of like chemicals it might be undercooked. If it tastes bland then add more salt, if too salty, add more besan and water.
  • Once you have a balance that you like, make cheelas with two spoons of batter. Add more oil if the pan gets dry and cheelas start to stick. You’ll probably need to turn down the heat at some point to keep the oil from burning.
  • Serve hot with mint chutney, ketchup, or mustard, and a good cup of chai of course!
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