Savoury pancakes – Pudla

Mallika Basu - Savoury pancakes – Pudla

Posted 11th February 2013

The man packed his bags to go to LA for “work” for two weeks. The pint-sized princess, i.e. little sis, moved in to “help”. And I had a crash course in the life of a single mother and the grapes of Anjou.

The first two nights were hideous. Armed with the three-pronged strategy of disobey, defeat and destroy, the toddlers wreaked havoc at bedtimes. The third night, I took a glass of ice-cold vino to their bath time and Charlie Taylor’s Divas and Dictators to my bed. By the fourth night, the bottle was complete. And so was I.

The second week was not much better. A long work day, followed by a meeting in Brussels and a colleague’s farewell do, meant three consecutive nights of missed bedtime. Ably filling in, the pint-sized princess declared: “I have had a taste of your life. And I don’t want it.” Lovely. Thanks.

But there was no going back now. I gave my new avatar one last push last Friday, my day off work. By 10:00am, I had trialled pancakes ahead of Shrove Tuesday with the toddlers, played make-believe jungle, dressed 2.5 not so little people, done the laundry, handed over to the nanny and made my way to the hairdresser for some much-needed R&R.

Just when I thought I had achieved near super mum status, I set off my rape alarm in front of our home. Only to be caught trying to piece the darn thing together by my neighbour and her dog.

I should just stick to what I do best. So this Pancake Day, I will first make my man pay a heavy price for his disappearance and then whip up Pudla instead of pancake.

These spicy savoury pancakes made from chick pea (gram) flour hail from Gujarat in India. But a version of it with onions and tomatoes is also cooked in North India called Chilla. It makes a quick and easy brunch centrepiece or even tea time snack. In case you get the bug for an alternative life!

Makes 8:

150gm besan (gram flour)

1 tbsp Greek Yoghurt

Half pint water

1 green finger chilli

Handful of fresh coriander

1 inch ginger

1 tablespoon salt

Half tsp chilli powder

Oil (I use a can of light oil spray)

In a large mixing bowl, place the besan, salt, chilli powder. Chop finely the chilli and coriander and toss in and grate in the ginger. Mix in the water slowly removing any lumps that may have formed. Tactile is best – I just do this with my fingers!

When you have an even smooth mixture, leave it to sit for at least half an hour or if you can for up to two hours. When you’re ready to eat, get a tawa or frying pan to a very high heat with a drizzle of oil or a spray, then reduce the heat to medium high. Using a ladle, spoon one helping of the batter into the centre of the tawa, swirling it round gently with the handle to get it to spread as evenly as possible in a circle.

Cook it for 10 seconds on one side, then flip it over with a spatula and cook on the other. Remove the Pudla and start again with another one. The key is to drizzle oil on the edges of the pan before you cook the next Pudla. It can become a greasy affair, hence I prefer to use an oil spray.

Eat pudla hot, hot, hot dunked in coriander chutney.

10 responses to “Savoury pancakes – Pudla”

  1. notyet100 says:

    It’s been so long since I had this :)!

  2. Love this lighter looking version, tend to cheelas here and there, when I am trying to achieve super-mom status!

  3. These sound wonderful and easy. I’ve had some besan flour in my fridge for awhile now, and our greenhouse coriander plants are just starting to produce, so I will give Pudla a try.

    Also want to let you know I bought your book, and am really enjoying it. The recipes and cooking tips are great, but it’s more than a cookbook – it’s also a very fun read. Well done!

  4. Mallika says:

    Hey Mallika, it feels strange addressing you with my name 😉 I took sometime off today to read your blog. Love your write-ups, neat and colloquial. Recipes are very Indian and suit well for my kind of cooking. Will be back for more to come!

  5. Camille says:

    Yum! I bet these would be great rolled around a tasty dal or chicken curry. Or saag paneer. Or anything, really! 🙂

  6. Actually never thought of Chillas as spicy pancakes before. Come to think of it, yeah – what else it it? Dosas could just be a take on Rice Pancakes! Interesting! Do you think if I roast these a bit, they’ll taste like Papads?

  7. B says:

    It was falling apart while turning over. I followed the recipe to the T.

    • Mallika says:

      Hi Bhavna, you have to wait until pores appear on the Pudla before flipping over. Otherwise, it will fall apart. Also, try making the batter a bit thicker next time. Gram flour quality can vary and you want a thickish mixture. Good luck!

  8. […] also made the Gujarati version of Besan Chilla, called Pudla, which was featured on The Kitchn. […]

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