Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Besan Omelette

This chickpea based recipe is a vegan alternative to an egg-based breakfast.

Although I have been making this breakfast alternative for the past few years, I never got it quite right. The main problem I continued to have was the ratio of water to besan flour. Today, as I made it again, I thought carefully about this and how to approach it. I decided to take more careful measurements. The end result has surprised me! I realised the ratio of besan exceeds water! Though I must have done this in the past, I was not conscious of it, and never really made the recipe with this in mind. The ratio of besan to water I used it 3:2 (in this case 1 measure equals 1/4 cup- so 3/4 cup besan, 1/2 cup water). This may make a thicker batter, and heavier pancake. Other sites say 1/2:1 ratio or 1/2 cup besan to 1 cup water. Try both ways and see what you like better. I have a problem cooking the thinner version, when it's too watery. I will have to improve myself!

As I did a little Internet research on this recipe, I found that it is also called 'cheela', though I am not sure what language this is. Cheelas, like western pancakes come in many varities, like besan, moong dhal (which I have made), oats (which I have yet to make), and others I do not yet know. Links for these will be at the end of the post.

3/4 cup besan (chick pea flour)
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp red chili pepper
1/4 tsp (heaping) ginger paste
1/8 cup finely chopped onion
1-2 green chilies, the small Indian kind
pinch of green herb like dried fenugreek, finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves), parsley, etc. for color

1. Place besan flour and water in a blender and blend out any lumps. The mixture should be a little thinner than pudding. It should not be watery or it won't cook nicely. This could vary slightly on the quality of besan.
2. Transfer to a bowl, add salt, cumin seeds, red chili powder, ginger paste, green chilies, onions and green herb.
Note about chilis: It is ok to reduce or leave out if you don't like hot spices, the other spices will give flavor. For green chilies if you can't find Indian kind, use what you like but it will give a different taste. I finely slice the green chili, adding the chili and seeds into the batter. I gauge the amount by the number of slices, usually 8-10. Sometimes one chili is enough, sometimes two are required. You can add more if you like it hotter!
3. Heat a pan and put oil on it. Heat pan on high. When it is really hot, reduce heat to 3/4, take the pan off the flame and place half the batter on the pan and even it out. Fry on flame two minutes and flip. Flip a few times until you get a golden brown color. The pancake may appear soft and not done all the way through. Sometimes if you let it set for a few minutes after cooking to cool it, it will set itself when the ratio of water to besan is correct.

Alternative: For a green feel and another texture, others add peas. I have not tried this, though it seems interesting. Here's a recipe, green peas cheela.

This makes two servings, two pancakes. Besan pancakes are filling, and can be heavy.

Eat with a side of your favorite sauce (ketchup, salsa, green chili sauce), sour cream or cream cheese.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Related posts/sites
Throw away the recipe; Learn the ratio instead (NPR)
My old besan pancake recipe