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Besan Cheela / Chickpea Pancake, Savoury

Here is one of the easiest and healthiest savory pancake recipes made with brown chickpea flour. In India it’s called Besan Cheela or Chickpea flour Chilla. It is a traditional breakfast in many parts of India and is made with several variations. Traditionally a lot of spices such as Garam masala and herbs like Green chili, ginger, garlic and Coriander are also used to make the cheela more flavorful but today we will keep it simple, yet delicious.

The main ingredient is the Besan or Brown chickpea flour. This gluten free flour is rich in protein, iron, B Vitamins Thiamine(B1), Riboflavin(B2), and Folic acid(B9). Besan flour has more protein than wheat flour, upto two times more and it can be had everyday. Recipes made from Besan flour can help to relieve constipation and can help in regulating blood sugar levels.

While Besan is made from Brown chickpeas in India , it is made from white chickpeas in other countries. While nutritionally, one is not better than the other, the final outcome may vary slightly in texture, softness and taste. If you are using white chickpea flour instead of Besan, then use 1/4 of extra water to make the flour. Additionally you can also add a pinch of baking soda to get softer cheelas(pancakes).

To make this pancake we will first have to make a batter with the besan flour to which instead of adding more spices , I will be adding a highly nutritious vegetable – Beetroots. Despite its health benefits very few people enjoy beetroots and this recipe makes it really simple to eat them. If beetroots are not your thing, you can add carrots instead.

The Besan Cheela or pancakes can be made on a cast iron pan or on a non-stick pan. Cooking on cast iron pan can be tricky if you are new to it so if you have a good quality non stick pan, do not hesitate to use it. Cooking in cast iron pan has its advantages , it is a great way to make your food iron rich and it is a type of utensil that can last for several generations.

Besan Cheela

The besan cheela or pancakes can be eaten with sauces or salads on the sides or you can even make some delicious fillings like the one I have shown in the video. One is made with Sweet Potatoes and the other is an easy tomato salsa. Here is the link to the recipe for the sweet potato filling, which is inspired from the popular South Indian dish – Masala Dosa.

Chickpea pancake with masala potato filling

Besan Cheela / Chickpea Pancake, Savoury

Cuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 2 cup Besan/Chickpea flour

  • 1 cup grated Beetroot

  • 1 tsp Turmeric

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • 1.5 cup of Water


  • Take a blender jar and Put two cups of Besan flour , 1 tsp of Turmeric , 1 tsp salt , 1 cup of grated beetroots and 1.5 cups of Water. Churn the blender for about 30 seconds, to get a smooth and consistent batter. There must be no lumps in the batter.
  • Heat the seasoned cast iron pan on maximum heat for about a minute and then lower the heat to a medium. Use a kitchen cloth to remove any debris .Sprinkle some water , to bring down the temperature. When the pan is too hot the batter will stick to the pan.
  • Take half an onion and insert a fork , and this will help in spreading the oil uniformly. Dab the onion in some oil and spread it over the pan. This is also a great way to use minimum amount of oil when using cast iron pans.
  • Take a scoop of the batter in the ladle and pour it in the centre of the pan. Move the ladle in circular motion at the same time moving outwards, thus spreading the batter over the pan.
  • After about a 1 minute , when you see the surface is not looking raw it’s time to flip it over and cook for about 10 seconds.
  • If you want to add some filling, flip it over again and add any filling of your choice.
  • To make the next cheela, lower the flame, sprinkle water on the pan, clean it using a kitchen cloth, spread oil on the pan using the sliced onion, pour the batter and then turn the heat to medium when cooking.

Recipe Video

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