besan chilla

Besan Chilla Recipe (Cheela)

By Swasthi on November 3, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Besan Chilla also known as Besan ka Cheela are simple protein-packed & aromatic spiced gram flour pancakes from North Indian cuisine. Just a handful of pantry staples and a fast cook time gets this colorful Breakfast on the table in a flash. More importantly Besan Chilla are kids’ approved!! So I make them often. Serve these besan cheela as Breakfast or an Evening snack with Indian Tea or Coriander Chutney.


Besan chilla made with gram flour

This recipe requires no elaborate preparations, so don’t need to plan ahead either. Just stir together the ingredients to make a batter, pour it on a hot griddle & cook up to delicious pancakes that will be loved by your whole family!

What is Chilla – Cheela

Chilla also spelled as “Cheela” are basically sweet or savory Indian pancakes made with various kinds of lentil & cereal grain flour. These pancakes are also known as pudla or puda. Chilla are mostly made with unleavened batter so they are considered to be healthy.

There are many kinds of chillas made in the Indian homes using various kinds of flour like oats, semolina, millet flour and even wheat flour. We also make them with lentils like chana dal, moong dal and mixed lentils.

Here are a few if you want to try out – Moong Dal Chilla & Oats Chilla. Besan chilla is much loved by many as these are fast to make & are aromatic & tasty.

About Besan Chilla

‘Besan’ is a Hindi word for ‘gram flour’ and chilla is a pancake. So besan chilla are gram flour pancakes. These are naturally gluten-free, vegan and nutritious. They are cooked with minimum fats like oil or ghee.

Besan Chilla is also a popular Street food in the Indian cities where you see the vendor making them instantly right in front of you.

The recipe requires only the basic veggies like onions and tomatoes. However to perk up the nutrition you can also add some grated carrots or fine chopped baby spinach.

I usually go with the basics – onions & tomatoes as this recipe is meant to be fast. Sometimes just to use up the surplus I add spinach or carrots.

A lot of people eat besan chilla on their own with just a cup of chai. However at home, we love these with a spicy chutney like this Garlic chutney, Pudina chutney or Coriander chutney. They also go well with a pickle.

More Instant Breakfast recipes,
Rava uttapam
Wheat dosa
Oats dosa
Akki roti

How to Make Besan Chilla (Stepwise photos)

Make Batter

1.Rinse and fine chop 1 small onion, 1 green chilli pepper and 1 small tomato. 1 chopped onion comes upto 3 tablespoons & 1 small tomato comes upto 3 tablespoons. Also grate half inch piece of ginger (1 teaspoon). Rinse and chop handful of coriander leaves.

2. Add 1 cup besan, salt as needed, half teaspoon ajwain and 1/8 teaspoon turmeric to a mixing bowl. Mix up all the ingredients.

adding flour, salt spices to bowl to make besan chilla

3. Then add finely chopped onions, tomatoes, grated ginger and green chilies. Make sure onions and tomatoes are very finely chopped.

adding tomatoes onions chilies to make besan chilla

4. Add coriander leaves and pour 3/4 cup water.

adding coriander leaves and water to make besan chilla

4. Mix gently and make a batter of thick but pouring consistency.

5. Add more water if needed. I used little less than 1 cup. If the batter is too thick then the chilla will not cook properly and may cause stomach upset. (check the video for consistency)

pouring more water to bring to consistency

Make Cheela

6. Heat a tawa or griddle. If not using non stick pan, then grease it well with few drops of oil. When it is hot enough, pour one ladle full of batter in the center.

pouring cheela batter on tawa to make besan chilla

7. Spread it as thin as possible.

spreading batter

8. Regulate the flame to medium and drizzle 1/2 to 3/4 tsp of oil or ghee.

pouring ghee to make besan chilla

9. With in few minutes, you will see the edges begin to leave the pan.

flipping

10. Flip it and cook pressing down with a spatula for thorough cooking.

fliping and cooking besan chilla on the other side

11. When you see brown spots on the cheela, you can remove it to a plate. If you like soft chillas, cover them immediately.

golden roasted besan chilla

Serve besan chilla hot with masala tea, pickle or a chutney.

besan chilla

Pro Tips

Gram flour goes rancid too quickly & taste bitter even when it is within the shelf life. So always taste test the flour (besan) before using. A good way to store besan is to refrigerate it after buying so it keeps fresher for longer.

Vegetable & greens: Not all veggies go well in a chilla. So please use only veggies that you prefer. This time I used onions, tomatoes and coriander leaves. On occasions I also use grated carrots, baby spinach and fine chopped bell peppers, just to use up the surplus.

Spices: Carom seeds also known as ajwain is most commonly used here as it makes a great combo with besan. These seeds also aid in digestion and impart a good aroma to the chilla. Ginger apart from imparting a great aroma, helps in digestion. Turmeric gives a very good yellow color to your chilla.

Leavening agent: Chillas are always made with unleavened batter. So they come out dense. To make them lighter, add ½ teaspoon Eno or 1/8 teaspoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. But add the leavening ingredient just before making the chillas.

Besan Chilla for Toddlers

If making for toddlers, soak the gram flour for about an hour. This help to reduce the chances of stomach upset & helps to digest easily. After soaking the batter becomes thicker, so add more water as required before making the besan chilla. Also ensure the chilla is cooked well for the same reason.

Make Ahead & Reheat

Storing: These besan chillas are healthy and best if served hot, immediately after making. They become dense & drier as they cool down. However if you prefer to store them. Cool the cooked chillas completely before placing them in an air tight steel or glass container & refrigerate. They keep good for 2 days.

Reheat on Griddle: Reheat them on a griddle (covered) on a low heat, flipping after a few minutes. These can also be heated in a microwave (high) for 1 minute. The longer you chill them the more time they take to get heated.

Reheat in the Oven: You can also reheat them in a preheated oven at 480 F or 250 C. Pace 2 to 3 besan chillas in a prepared tray. Heat for 2 to 3 mins, keeping a close eye on them so they don’t over cook and turn hard.

Make batter ahead: If you do not have much time to make these besan chilla in the mornings, you can make the batter the previous night & refrigerate. But without adding any veggies like onions as the onions alter the flavour of the chilla batter.

The next morning, add the chopped onions and give a good stir, just before pouring the batter on to the griddle. After refrigeration the batter soaks up most of the liquid and becomes thicker. So add water as required to bring it to the right consistency.

If the batter is very very cold, the besan chillas will brown without cooking well. So it is good to keep the batter out of the fridge for 30 to 40 minutes before making the chillas.

These will help you to make them ahead. But this is a fast recipe, so try to make fresh and eat them fresh & hot.

Besan chilla recipe

Faqs

What is chilla?

Chilla is an unleavened Indian pancake made with lentil or whole grain flour. The sweet version has jaggery and cardamoms in it while the savory version has some spices, herbs, tomatoes and onions.

Is besan chilla healthy?

Yes besan chilla is healthy if made and eaten fresh. Gram flour which is the main ingredient in a besan chilla is protein rich, fiber rich & has healthy essential nutrients.

Is besan chilla good for dinner?

You can have them for a light dinner but these are not as filling unless you have something on the side like a salad or soup.

Is chilla good for weight loss?

Yes. Chilla made with besan or whole grain flours keep you full for longer keeping hunger pangs away. So whole grain or besan chilla is good for weight loss.

Is besan chilla good for babies?

Besan chilla can increase colic in babies. So make them with soaked & ground lentils such as moong dal which are better suitable to babies.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

besan chilla recipe

Besan Chilla Recipe (Cheela)

Chilla or Besan cheela are simple savory pancakes made with gram flour, spices and herbs. These make for a great breakfast and can be eaten with a chutney or tea.
Pin Recipe Print Recipe

For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time6 minutes
Cook Time14 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings4 to 5 cheela
AuthorSwasthi

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 1 cup besan (gram flour)
  • ½ teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
  • ⅓ to ½ teaspoon salt (or as needed)
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons onions (1 small onion chopped finely)
  • 3 tbsps tomatoes (1 small tomato chopped finely)
  • 1 green chili chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 handful coriander leaves chopped finely
  • ⅔ to 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons oil or ghee as needed

Instructions

Preparation

  • Add besan, ajwain, turmeric and salt to a mixing bowl. Mix everything well.
  • Add ginger, tomatoes, onions, coriander leaves and chilies. Pour enough water and make a batter of thick but pourable consistency. If needed add more water as needed.

How to Make Besan Chilla

  • Heat a pan and grease it lightly with few drops of oil.
  • Allow it to turn hot and reduce the flame to medium.
  • Mix the batter well from the bottom. Take a ladle of batter and pour it in the center. Quickly spread it to a round cheela.
  • Drizzle some oil around the edges and the center.
  • Allow to cook until the edges leave the pan. Flip it to the other side.
  • Press down the edges with a spatula. Fry until it is cooked completely and gets golden spots.
  • Remove to a serving plate. To make the next one ensure the pan is hot enough and not very hot otherwise they will brown too quickly.
  • Serve besan cheela with some tea or chutney.

Notes

  • Gram flour: Taste test the gram flour before using. Most times it has the tendency to go rancid & taste bitter even when it is in the shelf period. Store any unused flour in the refrigerator after you open the pack.
  • Spices: Carom seeds and ginger together impart a wonderful aroma to the besan chillas. There is no substitute for these but you may skip if you do not have. However you will miss the flavors in your chilla.
  • Turmeric gives a nice color to your chillas. If don’t used red chilli powder. If you want you may add about ¼ teaspoon but green chilies are best for heat.
  • Vegetable & leafy greens: Apart from onions and tomatoes, veggies like carrots, bell peppers and baby spinach go well in these chillas. The key is to use your favorite veggies (only if you like them).
  • Leavening agent: Chillas are always unleavened however to make them lighter, add ½ teaspoon plain Eno or 1/8 teaspoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add the leavening ingredient just before making the chillas.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Besan Chilla Recipe (Cheela)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 124 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Sodium 20mg1%
Potassium 291mg8%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 90IU2%
Vitamin C 2.1mg3%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Recipe first published in November 2017. Updated & republished in July 2022.

Besan Chilla Recipe (Cheela)

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.

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Can you please tell the version where I can soak the Chana dal and make the batter ,if there is such a method. I am planning to make it for my baby and myself and I usually have trouble digesting besan, yet i like the taste of besan/chana.

5 stars
Nice, easy and delicious. My go to breakfast. Tq for sharing Swasthi. 💕

Doesn’t frying the besan make it CRUNCHY? Is chilla supposed to be crunchy? or Soft like paratha?

5 stars
Delicious! I was looking for a recipe to use my besan flour. Will make again : )

Hi Swasthi
I have tried many of your recipes which come good. Can you make this Chilla with kala chana besan flour ?

5 stars
My new favorite breakfast, very simple yet flavorful.

5 stars
Yummy

Hi Swasthi, I love your website and recipes. I especially this one. Can you tell me when besan is toasted first. I read that it is sometimes toasted before using and have you ever toasted it for this flatbread? Thanks!

What is ajwain? Where can it be purchases? Can it be left out or is there a substitute?

5 stars
This is amazing. Tried it and came out good.

Awesome recipe!! Thank you so much! Tried for breakfast came out amazing! Didn’t have ajwain seeds but still it was good.

5 stars
Tried this besan cheela and it tasted awesome…. The measurements were perfect and it’s very easy to prepare… The presentation comes as part of the dish itself…the turmeric yellow colour with the corriender green and tomato bits in red looks awesome in a plate. The texture is also fantastic….. definitely a keeper recipe…thanks for sharing…. awesome job

Hi!
What would be the consequences if I make the cheelas at night and reheat in the morning? Would the texture get bad?
I have a super early morning breakfast meeting and I’m not an early morning person!

Super!!
Discovered it at 7.20 and yummy breakfast ready by 8.10!!!
Thank you.

Matches well with both garlic chutney or even jaggery.

Respected Madam.

Chilla. Came out very well. Filling too. It is easier to make as well.

Since I am a diabetic, the chana dal, which has a glycemic index of only 8 units, is the best.

Regards
Sivasankaran (Shankar)

5 stars
Made this for dinner tonight. Turned out amazing with spinach and carrots. Thank you

Swasthi, your blog is one of my favorite and i love all your recipes. Best part is the method and ingredients are readily available, which makes interest in cooking and trying new ones.

Bravo!!

Hi, thank you for sharing this and many other recipes. Any tips on how I can make my chillas soft? They come out quite stiff.

It turned to be good. I missed to add ajwain seeds while giving to my 2 year old. But included hing while making. Thanks for the recipe

Hi, I wanted to make this for my toddler, so you’ve written that the flour needs to ne soaked for an hour to avoid upset stomach, so does that mean just the besan and water or the whole batter?

Can batter for chilla be left overnight?

Thank you. Maybe I could add bit more water in the morning before cooking? I am not very good at waking up early to prepare everything then!

Thank you very much for your helpful advice. Really appreciate it.