I remember this snack from chilly, rainy evenings in Bokaro – my Ma would give these to us fresh off the tava and I’d polish of mine with her delicious home-made ketchup (I should make that for the girls sometime; they’ll never like the store-bought stuff as much again), or pickle or some mint-coriander chutney if there was some.
I make these for the girls’ gouter now, sometimes. Noor really loves them. She calls them besan dosas 🙂
I do like to see them enjoying good ‘ole desi khana, and not just the croissants from the boulangerie in the neighborhood, excellent as those are.
8 tablespoons of besan (chickpea flour)
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
salt, coriander powder and red chilli powder to taste
1 onion, chopped fine (optional)
3/4 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
1 and a 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of fresh green coriander leaves, chopped very fine
sunflower oil to cook the cheelas
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make sure there are no lumps in the flour. Now add water a little bit at a time, blending it in well – a hand-held whisk is good for this – till the batter is thin enough to pour but not too runny (it should be thinner than the batter for dosas).
Heat a crepe pan till it is quite hot but not smoking, then rub a few drops of oil all over it’s surface with a kitchen towel.
Pour 3-4 tablespoons of batter on to the pan and spread it across the pan as evenly as you are able(this can be tricky because of the onions in the batter). Cook the cheela/poora on medium heat till the lower side looks done when you lift it up a little with a spatula, spreading oil (1/2 to 1 tablespoon) on it’s surface halfway through this time (at which point the surface of the cheela will begin to dry as the lower side cooks). Now flip the cheela over and cook the other side till it’s done.
These just have to be eaten hot off the pan !