Best Besan ka Chilla

Mallika Basu - Best Besan ka Chilla

Every Sunday is Pancake Day. The kids start scaling the kitchen cupboards as soon as they wake up, racing to the dining table clutching a barrel of Nutella and a cask of local bee honey. No matter how fast I go, I can't get the darned things flipped and plated fast enough. And then from Monday, the question reappears for six more sleeps: Is it Pancake Day today? Are you ready for university yet? This Pancake Day I'll be plating up a family breakfast favourite: crispy Besan Chilla steeped in fresh coriander, onions and green chillies. My nan made this savoury pancake recipe on a flat Tawa when I was little for weekend breakfasts and after school tea time treats. I love them dunked in my favourite mango pickle. But they taste so good, they need nothing more than eager hands and a hungry belly. Go ahead and make them in a mini egg frying pan for an American Pancake vibe. I also made the Gujarati version of Besan Chilla, called Pudla, which was featured on The Kitchn. Enjoy!


Place the besan in a large mixing bowl with the spices. Chop the onion, green chilli and fresh coriander and add it in.

Next add the warm water little by little, stirring the mixture well with the back of a soup ladle to ensure no lumps form. If you add all the water in at once, you’ll get a lumpy mixture. The batter should be smooth and runny in consistency. Do a little taste test and add more salt if you need to.

Now, bring the pan to heat on medium and add a teaspoon of oil. If the heat is too high you’ll get a raw middle.

When it’s hot, add half a ladle of batter in, about two tablespoons worth, and whisk the batter around quickly in the pan to get an event round pancake. It’s very important to always use the same amount of batter so you get beautifully proportioned pancakes.

In about 30 seconds, flip the pancake over using a flat spoon. Another 30 seconds and remove from the heat onto a plate lined with kitchen towels. Repeat until all your batter’s gone. Enjoy hot and crispy.


6 responses to “Best Besan ka Chilla”

  1. ann says:

    Wine cork trivet – Huh?

  2. Swati says:

    Hey Mallika! Am back after a looong hiatus from blogging. But so good to see your posts and catch up on all the lovely food you have been cooking up! The Chilas are a regular breakfast at our house – so healthy and easy… Love the picture you have clicked!

  3. Anushruti says:

    This looks like a visual treat! I love how you have glamourised the simple and humble Chila! And your sense of humour!!! 🙂

  4. […] With five degrees of separation these pancakes are inspired by my radish and scallion pakoras. I was over at the Union Square Greenmarket, yesterday doing a market demo when Ben the lovely chef helping me wanted to know if the pakoras could be remade as pancakes, well, using similar ingredients there is the cheela. […]

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