LANGLEY PARK, MD - MAY 19: Pani Puri at Woodlands restaurant in Langley Park, MD. 2014. Indian street food, pani puri. Pani is the Hindi word for water. Puri refers to fried, hollow bread. A pani puri, then, is an egg-sized poof of bread. An eater uses her thumb to break open the egg and fills it with a mixture of chickpeas, potatoes, possibly onions, tomatoes or boiled peas. Top with a spoonful of chutney and then at the last minute, add a splash of tamarind water (the pani). The entire thing is eaten in one bite, which is where the Bengali word for the snack, phuchka, comes from. (Photo by Greg Powers For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
Besan Chilla: The Indian Breakfast Dish That Happens To Be Vegan
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.