Spicy, crisp chickpea pancakes

Spicy, crisp chickpea pancakes

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Emma Lee

These are known as chillas and are a high-protein, gluten-free savoury pancake. They are eaten as they are, with spicy ketchup or chutney, for breakfast or as a snack. Very quick to make, the pancakes are nutritious and filling, so are popular in vegetarian Indian homes. I also love them for an easy lunch with some simple vegetables on the side.


Quantity Ingredient
100g gram flour
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon carom seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons root ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Whisk 120–140 ml of water into the gram flour, making sure there are no lumps. Add all the remaining ingredients except the oil and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. The batter should have the consistency of double cream.
  2. Heat around ½–¾ teaspoon of the oil in a cast-iron griddle pan and pour in one-quarter of the batter, to make a pancake about 15 cm in diameter. Cook for one to two minutes, or until lightly golden on the base, then drizzle another ½–¾ teaspoon of oil over the top and flip the pancake over. Cook, pressing down to help the edges crisp up. Once the base is golden, take out and repeat with the remaining oil and batter.
  3. Serve hot, with spicy ketchup or coastal coconut chutney (see note).

Coastal coconut chutney

  • A really lovely chutney from the south, this adds texture, creaminess and heat.

    Place 100 g grated coconut, 1–2 green chillies, 8 g peeled root ginger, a pinch of salt, and 100 g creamy Greek yogurt in a blender. Dry roast 1½ tablespoon Bengal gram (chana dal) until coloured all over, then tip into the blender with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Blend until smooth, adding water to help. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a saucepan, then add 2/3 teaspoon mustard seeds. When the popping dies down, add 8 curry leaves and cook for 10 seconds longer. Pour this into the chutney and stir it all together. taste, adjust the seasoning and lemon juice, then serve
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