“Cheela” is the Indian version of a savoury pancake. It is extremely versatile in terms of the ingredients that one can use and when made with little or no oil, is a super healthy breakfast, brunch or lunch option for kids and adults alike.
The traditional cheela that my mum makes is primarily made with besan or chick-pea flour, green chillies and spices. It is typically pretty spicy and can be a bit greasy if your not careful with how much oil you add while cooking it. Inspired from a recipe that my friend Preeti shared with me for buckwheat flour cheelas, I tested out the cheela using Quinoa flour as that is what I already had. The results were finger licking good! Keya loves her Quinoa cheela with a bowl of chilled plain yoghurt to go with it!
The range of vegetables that one can add to a cheela helps you flavour them differently, as well as sneak in vegetables that might not be your toddler’s/ child’s favourite but are super good for them. The ones that I usually mix into the batter are – grated carrot, broccoli or cauliflower, cabbage, very finely chopped french beans and onion. How you combine these is totally upto you. I usually add a little olive oil or ghee to the batter, so I dont really need to add any to ‘fry’ them as they cook. For folks in Singapore, Bob’s Redmill Quinoa flour is available at Mustafa and Cold storage. Also – I add a little chickpea flour to the batter as it helps to keep the cheela from breaking when you flip it during the cooking.
Last week, I finally managed to buy some buckwheat flour (Bob’s red mill brand sold at Cold storage & Mustafa). The recipe works just as perfectly with Buckwheat the only real difference is the colour – the buckwheat cheela is a rich dark brown colour and takes just a wee bit longer to cook that the Quinoa cheela.
Nutrition report: Quinoa is packed with fiber, calcium, iron and folate and is a fantastic source of vegetarian protein. Shredded veggies pack in loads of flavor and vitamins. Buckwheat flour is gluten-free. It is a good source of protein, b-complex vitamins and minerals such as copper and magnesium which are important for the production of red blood cells. Much like quinoa, buckwheat is a good source of dietary fiber.
Ingredients (makes 2 to 3, 6″ cheelas):
– 2-1/2 heaped tbsp quinoa flour OR buckwheat flour
– 1/2 tbsp chick-pea flour (besan)
– 1 tsp cumin seeds
– a small pinch of carom seeds (ajwain)
– a small pinch of turmeric powder
– 1 tsp each of grated carrot, grated broccoli, grated cabbage & finely chopped onion,
– few sprigs of coriander, finely chopped
– 1 or 2 tsp of plain yoghurt (optional and can be avoided for a slightly crispier cheela)
– 1 tbsp light olive or vegetable oil
– salt, to taste
– water, as needed to create a thick cake-like batter
1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients one by one in the above mentioned sequence, with water at the very end to create what should be a thick, kind of sticky looking batter.
2. Heat a non-stick frying pan or griddle on medium heat. Ladle abt 2-3 tablespoons of the batter onto the hot pan and help it spread out a little bit to form an approx 6″ round (avoid the temptation to spread it out too much, as it might break when you try to flip it over..) Cover the cheela and allow it to cook till the top sets and the first side is nicely browned.
3. Flip to cook the second side till that is browned to your liking as well.
Serve immediately along with a bowl of chilled yoghurt or ketchup. Enjoy!