Besan Chilla / Gram flour Pancakes

This is one of my favorite breakfast all winter long. Not only because its scrumptious but also because you can fix it in minutes.That sounds like a blessing  when you are pressed for time.
Besan/ gram flour/ Chickpea flour is an indispensable food ingredient in Indian cooking.You can dish out appetizers, fritters, curries, paranthas (Indian flat bread)  or even desserts using this faint yellow flour.
Chilla is an Indian pancake made from besan. Traditionally it’s cooked in a skillet using a good amount of oil or butter ( which you don’t have to !). It’s important to use the right amount of heat for the Chilla to be perfect. If the skillet is too hot then Chilla will be over cooked or sometimes burnt from outside but uncooked inside.Cooking on very low heat may result in a dessicated pancake. So take care of the heat when you plan to cook this one !
Makes: 4                                       Difficulty level: Medium
Preparation time: 5 minutes            Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 cup Besan
2 tablespoons Semolina (Sooji)  …..  ( Optional )
1/4 teaspoon Carom seeds( Ajwain)
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup water
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 small green chilli, diced (optional)
1/4 cup  cilantro or spinach leaves or kale leaves, torn into bite size pieces
1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup methi leaves
2 tablespoons oil
  1. Mix besan, sooji and all the spices in a mixing bowl. Add water to make batter.
  2. Add all the veggies into the batter.
  3. The final batter should neither be very thick nor watery.
  4. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a medium skillet. Pour about 1/3 cup of batter in the pan.
  5. Spread it all over the skillet. Let it cook for couple of minutes on medium flame.
  6. Now toss it & cook the other side on medium flame for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve with mint sauce or ketchup.
Cooking Suggestions
  • If the batter is thick, ‘Chilla’ will be thick, uncooked from inside.So make sure it has the right consistency.
  • As a beginner, you may keep varying the flame from low medium to high medium. Once you are comfortable stick to medium heat.
  • If you don’t have fresh methi leaves, you may use 1/2 teaspoon Kasoori methi ( dried). You might be tempted to use more but that will make the taste bitter.
Serving Suggestions:
  • These pancakes tastes even better when you savor them with masala chai !
  • You can cook them in advance & reheat them just before serving.

Future Possibilities

  • You may add broccoli, cheese, carrots. Just make sure they are diced/grated.
  • This will change the entire name of the dish but I’ve done that you too can replace besan with whole wheat flour …just in case you want to be more creative !
  • These are packed with dietary fiber, folate & manganese.
  • Low in saturated fats & cholesterol.
Good to know
  • Gram flour/ besan can be added to some curries to make them thick.
  • Consuming besan during winters is believed to maintain your body temperature, hence keeping your  internal body system warm .


  1. This looks so yummy! Any vegan alternatives?

  2. Never heard about this recipe but it looks explicit, tasty and jsut what I need for the start of the week!

  3. I have not heard of these before but they look delicious and sound very interesting!

  4. This looks so good! Need to try it 🙂

  5. I love masala dosa and chickpea so I think I’ll LOVE this! I miss waking up in the morning and getting a spicy breakfast. The only way to wake me up apparently

  6. This looks like a good hearty breakfast. I’ve never heard of flour from chickpeas.

  7. Yum! Sounds delicious. My husband would love these!

  8. I like the addition of Ajwain in your chilla recipe, it makes the besan sooji pancake all the more flavorful. Something that I should try out some time! 🙂

  9. I’ve never heard of these before, but all those ingredients sound fantastic together! I think I’m going to have to give these a try!

  10. Oh yum! What a great breakfast, and the fact that it is fairly quick to make is definitely a plus! I love that you can mix it up and change the insides. It could be different every time!

  11. I could definitely get used to a breakfast like this! Yum!

  12. This is definitely not something I have tried before but looks delicious! Am trying this week-end, love the idea of the veggies!

  13. I have never heard of this. We LOVE chickpeas….so I don’t see why these would not be a hit in our house. I will have to visit the international market and see if I can find this flour.

  14. I think spicy breakfasts are really underrated. Travelling to Sri Lanka and India I really fell in love with the wake-up call a spicy brekkie offers. I might even add more spice to your already delicious-sounding pancake, teehee. Or is it spicy already?

  15. Who doesn’t love a good pancakes recipe?! Your recipe seems truly finger-licking and definitely worth trying, Monika. What kind of onions do you use?

  16. These look great! I’ve been trying to eat breakfast everyday, but I’m already tired of my options, so I will have to give these a go!

  17. I love using chickpea flour! So nutritious. I have to try this!

  18. I have never seen such a flour. It goes to show you how different each country is food wise.

  19. I have never thought of making pancakes with chickpea flour. But these pancakes do look delicious. And I am willing to try anything once.

  20. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of chickpea powder, but I know how nutritious chickpeas are for you. I might have to try and find me some!

    Those pancakes are making me hungry!

  21. I’ve not heard of chickpea flour before but what a great option instead of regular flour. Certainly a great option for any Celiac sufferers out there. Looks like it’s very versatile too, you could add so many different meats, veggies or cheeses to this and it’d be delicious.

  22. What a lovely and fragrant breakfast recipe. I need to try it soon!

  23. Really looks delicious! I though first it was an omelette but I guess the yellowish comes from the Besan flour. Perhaps something to have at home because I have a young girl at home so this recipe seems to be very easy and quick to make!

  24. I made these over the weekend with bhuja jeera 'n lill bit of haldi (no garam masala). Turned out good 'n savored with garam garam chai 🙂

  25. Delicious and perfectly done besan chilla…I also love to add palak and methi in besan chilla..<br />lovely and coozy space you have ..loved it.Happy to follow you

  26. cool…I am trying it this weekend…

  27. Thanks Tangy &amp; Gauri…<br />@Tangy let me know how you like them with spinach :))

  28. Love this dish and the recipes..nice clicks! Please visit my blog and collect your award!

  29. This looks delicious. I am going to definitely try it. While, I made gram flour pancakes, I have never tried adding spinach. Thanks for sharing!

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