Besan Ka Cheela: Savory Gram Flour Pancakes

18 Apr

Today’s post is about a much-loved breakfast dish in India – besan ka cheela. For the uninitiated, besan is flour made from Bengal gram (chana dal), used in Indian cuisine in a variety of dishes such as kadhi, jhunka and pakoras.

In cheela, batter is made out of besan and other ingredients, shallow-fried like pancakes on an skillet/tava and served hot.

Read on for detailed recipe with pictures.

Besan Cheela

You Need:

  • Besan – 2 cups
  • Atta (Whole wheat flour) – 1/2 cup
  • Onion – 1 large
  • Tomato – 1
  • Green chilies – 2
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch stick
  • Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Pepper powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Water – for the batter
  • Oil – for cooking, about 2 teaspoons per cheela

[for 10-12 cheelas]

How To Make Besan Ka Cheela:

1. Making the batter

Mix together besan and whole wheat flour. Add water a little at a time, whisking well, till it gets a thick pouring consistency without being runny. Make sure there are no lumps or blobs of dry flour in the batter.

Finely chop onion, tomato, coriander leaves and green chilies. Grate ginger. Add them all to the batter along with salt, pepper, cumin powder, turmeric powder. Mix together well.

Besan Cheela Batter

2. Cooking it

Heat a flat, thick-bottomed tava (preferably non-stick). When hot, spread some oil on its surface. For the first cheela, you might need to use 2-3 teaspoons of oil but don’t be alarmed, after the first one is cooked you can do with just a few drops.

Using a ladle of about 1/3rd cup capacity, take a full scoop of batter and spread it in a quick stroke on the hot tava.

The quick stroke bit is important. You need to get a round, connected, even shape before the batter begins to solidify.

Very soon the open surface of the cheela will form little holes and the rim will begin to leave the pan. Let the cheela cook for 3-4 mins on medium flame. Sprinkle a few drops of oil on the surface.

Besan Cheela Cooking

When a peek under the edge shows the side facing down browned enough for your liking, flip it over.

To flip to the other side: Slide a flat wide spatula under the cheela, free it gently if you find it sticking to the base and in one smooth motion, lift it with the spatula and place it face down.

Cook on the other side for another couple of minutes. Besan ka cheela is now ready to eat. Serve immediately.

Besan Cheela Cooking, 2

I had my besan cheela with ketchup, chili sauce and toasted multi-grain bread. Yummy it was!

Besan Ka Cheela

Like this recipe? Also try moong ka cheela.


Just an academic point: many recipes describe besan as chickpea flour – to qualify that, the flour is of specific variety of chickpea called Bengal gram (desi chana), not garbanzo beans (Kabuli chana).

6 Responses to “Besan Ka Cheela: Savory Gram Flour Pancakes”

  1. Raks April 20, 2012 at 8:01 PM #

    This is my favorite tea time snack,guilt free and yummy!Lovely clicks

    • S April 20, 2012 at 8:14 PM #

      Hey Raks, Great to see you here :)

  2. wifemothereventplanner May 3, 2012 at 11:47 PM #

    One of my all time favorites…I love them with a bit of yogurt and mango pickle. Great site!

    • S May 3, 2012 at 11:54 PM #

      Welcome here, and thanks!

  3. Brook October 6, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

    This is my first experience eating or making savory indian breakfast…and I love it! My boyfriend recently spent 4 months in north India and he said it tastes just like breakfast in Rishikesh! Wonderful recipe! 5 stars!!

    • S October 10, 2013 at 11:06 PM #

      Hi Brook. Great to hear your feedback. Thank you ❤

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