Oats chilla are quick savory pancakes made with oats, gram flour, spices, vegetables and herbs. Chilla works as a nutritious and delicious savoury breakfast much like dosa or omelet. If Americans have their blueberry and banana pancakes, Indians have their savory chilla/cheela. Equal parts fluffy and crispy, the Indian version of pancakes is relished by kids and adults alike.
But eating the same old plain or besan chilla (with filling) can get boring after a while. If you’re looking for a variation that is equally healthy and tasty, bookmark this recipe. Oat flour provides the earthy tang to the base batter and grated vegetables form the delicious filling.
Quick and easy to make as there is no waiting time involved in the preparation of batter. No fermenting or deepening of flavors required. With fiber, protein and other nutrients, your oats chilla serves as a delightful breakfast or evening snack. Turn it into a light dinner option by adding a side.
About Oats Chilla
A basic chilla is a savory pancake made with lentil and cereal flours. Crispy and fluffy oats chilla has grated or chopped vegetables covered with an oat flour and besan batter and infused with herbs and spices.
Chilla is a popular breakfast food in many parts India. The traditional chilla has few ingredients — besan (gram flour), onions and spices.
Grated vegetables are often added to enhance the flavor and for a satiating snack meal. While most chilla variations are savory in nature, you’ll find the odd, sweet version enhanced with jaggery or date paste.
My chilla recipe is ready to eat in 20-25 minutes from the time you make the batter to cooking the pancake on the stovetop.
This oats chilla is both vegan and gluten free. These Indian pancakes are a great and effortless way to sneak in some greens and other veggies. Amp up the nutrient and protein quotient by adding grated paneer or tofu as a filling.
I love adding veggies to my chilla. Tomatoes provide that tangy element to complement the nutty taste of oats, while onions provide a nice crunch. Vegetable fillings make this hearty, delicious and healthy for kids.
Chilla is also a terrific solid food for a toddler who has turned one or older. You can add finely chopped greens like spinach and your kid won’t even notice the taste.
When it comes to spices skip the green chili if you’re making this for small kids. Use other spices in the recipe according to your flavor preference and tolerance for heat.
The key to the perfect chilla is not spread the batter too thin on the griddle or frying pan. Also use homemade oats flour. Grind regular or rolled oats to a coarse fine (not too fine) powder and toast the chilla in ghee instead of oil. Kids love the aroma and taste of ghee.
A note about rolled oats flour here. You’ll need extra water (¼ cup) to make the batter.
Run out of oat flour? Use gazpacho (white chickpea) flour in a pinch. You can sub besan (gram flour) in the recipe with semolina for extra crunch. Swap cumin seeds (jeera) with carom seeds (ajwain) when you make chilla for kids or elderly people in the family. Ajwain acts as a digestive aid.
Chilla tastes best when you serve them straight from the frying pan. Warm ones taste good as well. To serve it later in the day, store them in a roti box or insulated box. This keeps them moist and warm.
But I can’t say the same thing about refrigerated chilla. They lose crispness and turn dense and chewy. Make smaller batches of chilla for immediate consumption. Better still, store the batter in the fridge and use as needed.
Want your chilla to be as fluffy as a pancake or omelet?
The trick is in the leavening. Add ¼ teaspoon of baking powder or ⅛ teaspoon of baking soda to the batter.
Time to make some nutritious and tasty oats chilla!
How to make oats chilla (stepwise pics)
1. Add 1 cup of oats to a grinder jar.
2. Grind to a slightly coarse powder. If the flour is too coarse the oats chilla can break.
3. Add it to a mixing bowl along with
- ¼ cup besan
- ½ to ¾ cumin seeds (jeera) or carom seeds (ajwain)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric. You can skip turmeric, I used it for the color.
- ½ cup grated carrots (optional)
- 2 to 3 tbsps fine chopped onions (optional)
- 1 to 2 green chilies fine chopped
- ½ teaspoon ginger (grated, optional)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves finely chopped
If you chop the onions too big they won’t cook well.
5. Pour 1 cup water.
6. Mix to make a batter adding water as needed. I added another ¼ cup this may depend on the kind of oatmeal used. If using rolled oats, you will need about 1 ¼ cup water. The batter should be of spreading consistency similar to that of dosa batter. Adjust salt as needed.
How to make oats chilla
7. Heat your pan well. When it is hot enough, drizzle few drops of oil and smear with a tissue or cloth. If using a non-stick pan you don’t need to grease it.
8. Regulate the heat to medium flame. Mix the batter well. Pour 1 ladle full of batter. It will be about ¼ cup.
9. Spread it with a light hand. Do not spread it too much. If the batter is too thick, you won’t be able to spread it as it will stick to the ladle as you spread. In this case add little more water. If the batter is too runny, the oats chilla will be too soft and limpy. In this case you may need to add a tbsp of besan.
10. Add half to 1 teaspoon oil or ghee around the edges. Cook until the base is firm and set well. Flip it.
11. Cook on the other side as well, pressing down gently with a spatula.
12. Cook well on both the sides. To make it lightly crisp, cook on a medium heat for few minutes. Repeat making the rest. With this batter you will be able to make 6 chilla. Stir the batter well before making the next oats chilla. If required sprinkle little water. You may need 1 to 2 tbsp more water as the batter thickens upon resting.
For more quick ideas using oats, you can check this collection of 30 oats recipes.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup oats (rolled or instant)
- ¼ cup besan (gram flour) (substitute with semolina)
- 1¼ water (2 tbsps more or adjust as needed)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera or carom seeds / ajwain)
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- ½ cup carrot (grated, more if needed)
- 2 tablespoons onion (fine chopped, optional)
- 1 to 2 green chilies chopped
- ½ teaspoon ginger (grated, optional)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil or ghee (adjust to taste)
- Add oats to a grinder jar and made a slightly coarse powder. If the powder is too coarse the chillas may break.
- To a mixing bowl, transfer the ground oats, gram flour, salt, turmeric, green chilies, cumin, ginger, carrot, onions & coriander leaves.
- Pour 1 cup water and mix to a lump free batter. Pour another ¼ cup water and mix to make a thick batter. It must be of pourable and spreading consistency.
Make oats chilla
- Heat a pan on a medium heat. If using a cast iron pan, Once the pan is hot enough drizzle few drops of oil and spread with a tissue or cloth. Let it heat up well.
- When the pan is hot enough, stir the batter well and pour ¼ cup of batter in the center of the pan.
- Spread it gently to a slightly thin pancake of about 6 inches. Drizzle half tsp to tbsp oil or ghee around the edges.
- Let it cook on a medium heat until the base is set and cooked well.
- Turn it to the other side and cook pressing down with the spatula. You will see brown to golden spots when the oats chilla is cooked.
- If you prefer crisp chilla, cook them on a low heat for a minute or 2. Remove to serving plate.
- To make the next chilla, stir the batter well and make sure the pan is hot enough but not very hot. Also the batter thickens as it rests, you can splash 1 to 2 tbsps of water if required as you make them.
- Serve oats chilla warm or hot with chutney.
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.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Oats Chilla Recipe first published in June 2016. Updated and republished in August 2021.