These plant-based, gluten-free gems of nutrition that I call vegetable pancakes are popularly called ‘cheela or chilla’ in my country and serve as a popular breakfast item. Delicious and filling as they are, I have tried to make these go a little further with the addition of soaked mung beans that not only add to the fibre but also up the protein and they needn’t only be eaten as breakfast. I often bulk these babies up as I have done here with plenty of veg to make it a lot more filling and wholesome as proper lunch. These are quick, easy and most certainly something different to break from the same old.
The stars of the show are chickpea flour which makes the base of this pancake, thus making it gluten-free and mung beans that work great if they are sprouted. Soaked overnight also work which is what I have here.
In a bowl add the flour with the spices and some chopped coriander. Pour in water and whisk to a smooth batter.
Mix well and ensure no lumps are formed. The batter should be of pouring consistency. Cover and leave it to rest for at least 15 minutes. This rest period is absolutely necessary for not only the flavours to absorb better but also for the chickpeas flour to absorb water and swell. If the batter thickens after the rest period, add more water to bring it back to pouring consistency.
Add a couple teaspoons of oil to a hot pan and using a clean kitchen towel or paper spread around the pan. This will evenly coat the surface of the pan with oil while absorbing the excess. Ladle some batter on the pan. Make sure the pan isn’t too hot.
Spread the batter in circular motions using the back of the ladle.
while the batter is still wet on the top add in the chopped vegetables and mung beans. Gently press into the batter to ensure they stick. Keep the heat on medium low.
Spread some oil on the edges of the cooking batter to ensure that it doesn’t stick.
Slide a spatula along the sides to check the doneness of the pancakes. I like them a little crisp. These can either be flipped or folded.
I prefer to fold them.
Serve hot with your favourite chutney or dips.
Recipe ingredients Chickpeas flour(besan)- 200gms Cumin powder- 2 tsp Red chilli flakes- 1 tsp Coriander powder- 1 tsp Dried mango powder- 1 tsp Asafetida- a pinch Salt to taste Water as needed Oil Chopped vegetables of choice Sprouted Mung beans- 100 gms
In a clean bowl mix together the flour with spices, salt and enough water to make a pourable batter. Add some chopped coriander (optional) and whisk together to form a smooth batter with no lumps.
Cover the batter and let rest for at least 15 minutes.
Heat a pan on medium-low heat and spread some oil using a kitchen towel or paper to evenly coat the surface of the pan. Spread about half a ladleful of batter using the back of the ladle in an even circle.
Top the pancake with vegetables and mung beans and let it cook for a few minutes. Spread some oil around the edges of the pancake to ensure it doesn’t stick.
Using a spatula, lift the edges of the pancake to check for doneness and fold once cooked to liking. Serve hot.
Note*- the first couple pancakes might stick to the pan but the rest will not once you get the flow of it. Don’t let the pan get too hot or the pancakes will not evenly spread.