Indian Savory Crepe – Besan Ke Cheele

I essentially know of two types of Indian savory crepes – Cheele and Dosas. Within the two there are a lot of variations in batter and filling and dips to be served with. Cheela is more North Indian and Dosa more of South Indian though these are more or less redundant now :).  This savory crepe (cheela) recipe is simple but required me a little skill in the method of cooking (or rather flipping)…The first 2-3 times I made it, all I had was something similar to a bhurji. It was just like how I learned to turn an omelet but this time the consistency was very different than with eggs. I’ve shared my “learnings” of how to flip it right at the end :).

Also while, these cheele are made with besan (gram flour), one can also use pulses (soak them overnight and grind to a paste), grounded oatmeal (if you want them to be healthier) or you can use a combination of different kinds of flour. Also for other ingredients, you can add or remove as you like. Don’t’ like onions, remove; like carrots, add. Don’t like any vegetable, remove all…Experiment.

 

Besan Ke Cheele

Preparation Time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins| Serves 2

Ingredients

100 gms gram flour

½ tsp fennel seeds (saunf)

½ tsp cumin seeds (zeera)

¼ tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp chaat masala powder

A pinch of asafoetida (hing)

1 tsp garam masala powder

1 tsp ginger, finely chopped

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

1 tomato, finely chopped

1 small green capsicum, finely chopped

2 green chillies, chopped

(I cut onions, tomatoes, capsicum, chillies in big chunks and put them all in the chopper together)

1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Salt to taste

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
  • Slowly add water to make a smooth batter, like uttapam batter or pancake batter
  • Heat a non-stick flat pan, sprinkle a little oil and spread all over the surface
  • Turn the heat to medium. Slowly pour a small bowlful of batter and spread evenly with the back of the bowl/ladle (like a thick crepe or a pancake). (tip: My mom uses an old visiting card or a playing card to spread the batter evenly)
  • Sprinkle some oil on top. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes and flip it quickly.
  • Cook until both sides are crispy brown
  • Repeat with the rest of batter

Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.

Note: I mostly mess up the cheela at the flipping stage. It would either stick to the bottom of the pan (despite using a non-stick pan!) or break while flipping. Two tips:

  1. To prevent sticking, have a thin even layer of oil on your pan. You can also try rubbing the surface with the base of half-cut onion.
  2. To prevent breaking, ensure that one side is cooked enough before flipping

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