If you are from the South of Vindhyas, cheela / chila is not a much heard of term. It is a staple North Indian breakfast dish. To put it in simple terms, it is like an instant dosa made using besan. However unlike adai, which is a lentil based dosa preparation, cheelas are much thinner and crepe like.
These can be made by soaking and grinding lentils into a batter or using ready flours like chickpea flour. Moong dal cheelas are very popular. Moong dal soaks up water in no time, and even a couple of hours of soaking are enough to allow you to grind it into a smooth batter. While cheelas can be had plain, with accompaniments like chutneys or pickles, stuffed them with paneer bhurji as in this recipe, makes it more filling and keeps you going straight until lunch time.
Packing these stuffed cheelas in a casserole type lunch box ensures that they stay warm and soft until lunchtime, which is what I do for my kid's lunchbox.
If you are looking for a gluten-free accompaniment to curries / vegetable dishes OR if you simply don't want to make or eat the traditional wheat-based Indian bread, cheelas are the perfect solution for you. The best thing I like about these besan cheelas is no soaking, no grinding, no fermenting required. Perfect for last minute people like me :D
Check out the recipe for Moong Dal Cheela with a crunchy topping
Recipe for Besan Chila stuffed with Paneer Bhurji
[Savoury chickpea crepes with paneer stir fry filling]
Prep time: 15 minutes
Time taken: Under 30 minutes
For Cheela batter
3/4 cup besan (chickpea flour)
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of turmeric powder
pinch of asafoetida powder (optional)
1/2 cup water + 2 tbsp extra if you need it
Oil to make chilas
For Paneer Bhurji
1/2 cup crumbled paneer
2 tsp oil
1 green chilli
2 tbsp finely chopped bell peppers
2 tbsp finely chopped onions
salt to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
In a large bowl, add the besan, yogurt, coriander, salt, turmeric, asafoetida and add water gradually with constant whisking to make a smooth batter. It should be a smooth pouring consistency. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.
In a pan, heat the oil. Add the minced green chilli, bell peppers and onions with a pinch of salt. Allow to cook on low-medium flame until onions have softened. Add the crumbled paneer, coriander and toss well.
Allow this to cook on medium heat for a few seconds.
Remove into a bowl. Keep aside.
To make cheelas, heat a non stick tava or pan. Grease pan with kitchen paper.
Using 1/4 cup batter per chila, pour it in the center and quickly making concentric circles spread it out into a circle, going as thin as possible. Drizzle 1/2 tsp oil around the chila. In 20-30 seconds, flip it over and cook other side similarly.
You want to flip them as soon as they are lightly golden and cooked and NOT crisp, otherwise you cannot fold it over the filling without breaking/tearing.
Place the ready chilas on a plate. Place the filling in one quarter of the chila and fold over in half twice, as shown in the photos.
Serve with green chutney or as it is.
VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE OPTION
This recipe is naturally gluten-free. To make it vegan, omit the yogurt and add extra water to make the batter. You could fill it with vegetables or a tofu crumble with vegetables.
Labels: Breakfast, gluten free, Lentils and beans, Nutrition: Protein rich, Nutrition: Vegetarian Low Carb