Beetroot chilla or cheela is a very nutritious, tasty, and easy-to-make savory pancake from India. Loaded with vegetables, this vegan beet pancake can be enjoyed as a breakfast as well as a snack.
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Cheela is one of my favorite breakfast recipes. It's not only delicious but there are so many different ways of making it that you don't get bored easily, even if you eat it frequently.
Also, I am a person who can't have a sweet breakfast. I need to eat something savory to start my day with so I love having these healthy savory pancakes for breakfast.
I have already shared the recipe for plain cheela on my site and today I am sharing a chilla recipe that I make most frequently- beetroot chilla.
In this recipe I have combined the recipes of two different types of Indian pancake-chilla and rava uttapam.
Generally, only besan is used in chilla and semolina in rava uttapam but in this recipe, I have used both.
Also, in chilla chopped or grated vegetables are usually added to the batter but I have sprinkled them on top the way it's done in uttapam.
If you wish to follow the traditional way of making chilla, you can make beetroot chilla by skipping semolina and by mixing chopped vegetables in the batter.
What goes in beetroot chilla?
- Chickpea flour also known as besan in Hindi is a gluten free flour which is used in a lot of Indian recipes. It's not made from regular chickpeas but skinned black chickpeas also known as begal gram.
- Semolina: Generally, semolina is not used in chilla. I have added it because I like the taste of semolina, it also make these beetroot chillas softer and thicker .You can skip it if you want. Just increase the quantity of besan.
- Beetroot: Try using fresh beets but canned beets can be used too. Canned beets are alreay cooked so you can skip the beets cooking part if using them. Just drain the liquid and rinse them to get rid of the metallic smell and taste.
- Vegetable: I have added only bell pepper and onion. More vegetables like carrot, tomato, or boiled green peas can also be added.
- Seasoning: Feel free to add spices and herbs of your choice
How to make?
Prepare beetroot puree: Peel and chop beetroots. Put them in a cooking pot with some water. Cover the pot and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the beets turn soft. Allow to reach room temperature and then put in a food processor or chutney maker to make the puree.
Prepare the batter: Put chickpea flour, semolina, beetroot puree, all the spices, herbs, green chilies, and salt into a bowl. Slowly add water and start mixing until you get a pancake-like consistency.
Cook beetroot cheela: Heat a pan or griddle. Apply some oil on its surface. Take around a ladle full of batter and gently spread on the pan with the backside of the ladle.
Sprinkle some chopped onion, bell pepper, and cilantro on top. Make sure to add vegetables while the top side is still wet. Gently press with a spatula so that the vegetables stick to the surface. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for around 2-3 minutes or until the lower side gets cooked.
Remove the lid and flip the cheela. Cover again and cook for another 2 minutes or until the other side also gets cooked.
Enjoy hot with any dipping sauce of your choice.
Step by step photo instructions
In India, chilla is generally served as a breakfast or snack. But, you can eat it in any meal.
Serve it hot with some chutney, yogurt, pickle, or just a cup of tea on the side.
This Indian beetroot pancake can also be served with any sabzi (Indian style vegetables) or dal, instead of roti for a low carb diet.
Recipe tips and tricks
- If you don't have time to make beetroot puree and looking for a simpler recipe, just grate beetroots and add to the batter. It still tastes amazing. I also follow both the methods depending upon how much time I have.
- Instead of sprinkling chopped vegetables on top, you can also mix them in the batter. However, if you put vegetables on top they get slightly charred while getting cooked making the chillas taste even better.
- Feel free to add more ingredients in the toppings like tomatoes, mushrooms, sprouts, etc.
- Similar recipes can also be made by using the puree of other vegetables like carrots, green peas, or pumpkin.
Frequently asked questions
For making chilla or any beet pancake, boiling beets will give a more appropriate texture. Also, the process will be quicker. So, I would suggest using boiled beets in this recipe, not the roasted ones.
If you don't have any problem with a strong earthy taste of beets, pureed or grated raw beets can also be added to the batter.
Generally, chilla is made only with besan (chickpea flour) which is gluten-free. However, I have also used semolina in this recipe which is not gluten-free. If you are on a gluten-free diet, skip semolina.
More vegetarian Indian breakfast recipes
Looking for more quick and easy vegetarian breakfast recipes from India? Don't miss to check the following links:
More easy beetroot recipes
If want to try more easy dishes using beets then the following recipes are worth trying:
- Beetroot rice (vegan)
- Beetroot poriyal (vegan)
- Greek style beet salad with feta (vegetarian)
- Beetroot raita (vegetarian)
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- 1.5 cups besan chickpea flour
- ½ cup semolina
- 2 medium-sized beets around 2 cups of chopped beets
- 1 medium-sized onion finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 green chili finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger piece grated
- ½ cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon carrom seeds ajwain
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon any cooking oil
- 2 + 1 cup water or as required to get the desired consistency of cheela batter
- Peel and roughly chop the beetroots. Put in a pot with around 1 cup of water. Cover the pan and cook for around 10-15 minutes or until they turn soft.
- Allow the beets to reach room temperature. Put in a food processor or chutney maker, along with 1-2 tablespoons of water in which it was cooked, and make a smooth paste.
- Put chickpea flour, semolina, beetroot puree, all the spices, herbs, green chilies, and salt into a bowl. Slowly add water and start mixing until you get a pancake like consistency.
- Heat a pan or griddle. Apply some oil on its surface. Take around a ladle full of batter and gently spread on the pan with the backside of the ladle.
- Sprinkle some chopped onion, bell pepper, and cilantro on top. Make sure that the top side is still wet when you add the vegetables. Gently press with a spatula so that the vegetables stick to the surface. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for around 2-3 minutes or until the lower side gets cooked.
- Remove the lid and flip the cheela. Cover again and cook for another 2 minutes or until the other side also gets cooked.
- Serve hot with any dipping sauce of your choice or a cup of tea.
- For a faster way of making beetroot chilla, instead of using puree, just finely grate some raw peeled beets and add to the batter. It also tastes amazing.
- You can also make similar savory pancakes using other vegetables like carrot, green peas, or pumpkin.
- Feel free to use seasonings of your choice in the batter.
- More recipe tips and tricks are given within the post above, please follow them to make this recipe.