Food - Drink
Besan Chilla: The Indian Breakfast Dish That Happens To Be Vegan
By CLAIRE REDDEN
If your usual breakfast options are beginning to feel boring, consider looking at traditional breakfasts from different parts of the world for inspiration. In India, one dish you’ll find is besan chilla, a gram flour pancake that’s not only delicious, easy, and quick to prepare, but is also naturally vegan and gluten-free.
Besan chilla (also known as besan ka cheela or pudla), which simply translates to “gram pancake” in Hindu, is from a North Indian state called Sindh, which is now a province in Pakistan. Besan, the gram flour in question, is made from split brown chickpeas and is an incredibly popular ingredient all over India.
To make this special pancake, chop vegetables like onions, tomatoes, spinach, grated carrots, beets, zucchini, and fresh herbs like fenugreek and cilantro, then throw it all in a bowl with seasonings, flour, and water. Mix the batter until smooth, then pour it onto a griddle and flip the pancake when the sides start to pull back from the pan.
Besan chilla comes in other forms that use different flours in the base; some are made with oats, semolina, millet flour, or wheat flour, all of which create a customizable dish that’s full of protein and fiber. This pancake can be enjoyed at other meals besides breakfast, and you can even make a sweet version with jaggery and cardamom.