Besan Chilla: Look no further for a high-protein, gluten-free delicious breakfast recipe

Besan Chilla: Look no further for a high-protein, gluten-free delicious breakfast recipe

Low-GI spiced Indian chickpea flour pancakes that are low in calories

Besan Chilla or chickpea-based savoury pancakes
Besan Chilla or chickpea flour-based savoury pancakes Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Desperate for a quick and healthy and breakfast option that doesn’t punish your tastebuds? Indian Besan Chilla is the answer.

Chilla is an Indian pancake made with various cereal or lentil flours that can be either savoury or sweet. Therefore, all it needs is some quick batter to be whipped up and you are ready to go with a hot, yummy breakfast.

Besan is chickpea or gram flour, with a Glycemic Index (GI) of 6, which makes it one of the healthiest options for diabetics and those looking to restrict calories. It is full of good fats that help boost the good cholesterol in your body. Not to forget its high ratio of plant protein. Hence, it is known as ‘heart healthy’ food, in India.

A complete breakfast for adults, it would really work has a ‘superhero meal’ in your kid’s tiffin box, too.

Besan chilla is a savoury pancake that can be either eaten crisp or soft, a lot like the Mexican tacos. It depends on the consistency of the batter prepared. If you want a soft chilla, prepare a thick batter. For a crisp chilla, go for a thinner batter, which still coats the back of the spoon with a layer when poured.

You can make it healthier by adding some vegetables of your choice, cut to mirepoix size, such as carrot, onion, capsicum, minced fenugreek, coriander or spring onions, to enhance its taste. Add some chilli flakes and black pepper to ramp up the heat.

The beauty of a chilla is that you can add elements to it based on your taste preference.

Some nutritionists advise adding oats to the batter or some sprouts, all of which ensures a power packed start to the day without a big serving of calories.

If you want to whip up quick savoury besan chillas, here is a recipe:

Besan chilla
Besan chilla with chutneys. Image used for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Homemade Besan Chilla

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2


4 tbsp gram flour

1 onion, minced

¼ capsicum, cut to mirepoix size

¼ carrot, cut to mirepoix size

1 green chilly, minced

1 tbsp coriander leaves, minced

¼ tsp carom seeds

3 tsp olive oil or any vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Water (based on desired consistency of batter)

¼ tsp chilli flakes (optional)

¼ tsp black pepper (optional)


1. Chop the vegetables into a small size to ensure the batter spreads evenly on the pan.

2. Add the vegetables to the gram flour.

3. Combine, and then add salt, chilli flakes, black pepper, carom seeds and water. Mix well.

4. Keep the consistency of the batter as per your requirement – thicker will give you soft pancakes, thinner will be more like a crisp crepe.

5. Carom seeds help in digestion and infuse a unique flavour but if not available you can anytime substitute it with cumin seeds, same measure, as it too has its own flavour.

6. Continue whisking until the batter has a smooth, consistency, with no lumps.

7. Heat a pan on a low to medium-low flame; spread the olive oil on it.

8. Spread a ladle of batter gently onto the pan.

9. Cook it on a medium-low flame until well done and turns a light gold.

10. Add about ½ a tablespoon of oil at the edges as that helps prevent the chilla from sticking to the pan.

11. Gently flip the chilla and continue cooking it until the edges become crispy.

Now, it’s ready to be served hot, with ketchup.

- The writer is a homemaker based in the UAE

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