Gram Flour Chilla Pancake (Savoury and Vegan)
Besan chillas/cheelas or pancakes were very popular in our parent's house, specially on a rainy day. We sometimes had them for Sunday brunch, served with fresh yoghurt, a selection of pickles and Sweet Mango Chutney. You can also serve these with various fillings, just like Dosa filling.
There is no egg in this pancake, so it is suitable for Vegans. They are quite easy to make, if you read and followed the instructions carefully. Enjoy!
100 gm. gram flour or besan
1/2 onion, medium size, peeled, washed and chopped finely
2 green chillies, chopped finely
A small bunch of green coriander leaves, washed and chopped finely (onion, ginger and green chillies can be chopped together in a food processor).
1 tomato of medium size (100 gm.), washed and chopped into small pieces
100 ml. cultured butter-milk or mattha. If cultured butter-milk is not available, use natural yoghurt diluted with water. For vegan version, make with water.
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients except cooking oil & make a pancake-like, a little runny/dropping consistency, batter. Add a little water, to get the right consistency.
Heat 1/2 tsp. oil on a griddle or tava, until a little smoke rises. Now turn heat down to medium.
Sprinkle a few drops of water and spread it lightly using a clean and moist J-cloth or a kitchen paper towel. This will leave a thin, uniform layer of oil covering the whole griddle. It stops the chilla from sticking to the griddle while you are spreading it. Too much oil on the other hand makes it very difficult to spread the batter, it keeps coming off the griddle. So the griddle must have only a thin film of oil.
Put 1 small ladle full of batter in the centre of the griddle and spread evenly with the ladle, in circular motions going outwards, like a pancake. Make it as thin as you can. You should make the first dosa or pancake as a test pancake only. It sometimes sticks to the pan a little. After 1st chilla, the pan is uniformly covered by a film of oil and pancakes cook better.
Trickle a few drops of oil from the edges of the chilla. This will seep under the pancake and keep the pan oiled.
Cook for 1-2 minutes. It will change to a duller colour. Now turn it over using a thin, wide spatula (kauncha).
Lightly brush with oil, while the other side is cooking.
Flip it over a few times, until it looks golden brown and slightly crisp. If you need to, brush with a little more oil, this helps to make it crisp.
Fold it over onto the plate. Serve hot and crisp, with pickles, natural yoghurt and sweet mango chutney.