Tag Archives: besan

Besan ke Cheele/Poore

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 ūüôā

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.

Besan Cheelas

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 !


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Dhokla – A very quick recipe

I have never been able to make good idlis, and so  had never tried to make dhokla either, since typically that would use the same technique of steaming, which I never had much success with.

Until, that is, my friend Pooja gave me this recipe a couple of weeks ago for making dhokla in the microwave. The preparation time is only about 5 minutes, and the cooking time is only about that as well.

The results were good enough that I have made dhokla more than once since and the girls have really taken to it which is great.


Besan (chickpea flour) 1 cup ( or a mixture of besan and suji i.e. semolina in equal or varying proportions)

125 ml of whisked yogurt

some (about 1/4 cup) water

3/4 tsp of grated ginger

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

2  tbsp of sunflower oil

lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Eno fruit salt – 1 tsp

salt to taste

1/2 tsp of mustard seeds and 4-5 curry leaves (chopped) for tempering

1  tbsp grated (fresh or desiccated) coconut and 2 tsp of chopped green coriander for garnish

Mix the yogurt, the water, the salt, the ginger , the oil and the turmeric powder in to the besan till the batter has a smooth consistency that is easy to pour(but not too runny). Stir in the fruit salt at the end, and pour the mixture immediately in to a microwave bowl after oiling its sides lightly.

Cover the bowl with an airtight lid and cook the mixture for about 4-5 minutes (at about an 800 W setting).  Check, by inserting a knife in the middle if the dhokla is done else cook for another minute. Leave the bowl in the microwave for half a minute before taking it out.

In a small pan, heat a tbsp of oil, then add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves and fry till the mustard seeds crackle. Pour this mixture over the dhokla, spread the coconut and coriander evenly,  then cut the dhokla after a few minutes in to pieces as big or small as you like.

With some coriander chutney, this is just a delicious treat.

Thank you, Pooja !!

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Filed under Breakfast Ideas, Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments

Crispy Peanuts

Some days ago, I asked my mother for ideas for a starter, to serve to guests we had invited to dinner last weekend.

She suggested these peanuts, that are coated in chick pea flour and then fried. As she described how to make them, the memory of having eaten them, long ago when I still lived at home, gradually came back and I remembered that they have a great crispy texture.

I therefore did go along with her suggestion and make them, and was glad I did. Our friends really liked the taste (I gathered from Naveen that this is a Rajasthani recipe and this may explain how my mother knows it since that is where she grew up), as did all the children, especially Noor, and Sarita and Naveen’s two and a half year old Kriti.

The thing I really loved about them is how quick they are to cook !

Crispy Peanuts

200 gms of unsalted and grilled or plain peanuts, without the skin

1 small cup – 175 ml measure –¬† of besan (chickpea flour), though you may find you need a little more

1/2 tsp of turmeric

1/2-1 tsp of kashmiri or other chilli powder (adjust according to your taste)

1 tsp of coriander powder

1 tsp of amchur (dry mango powder)- optional

salt to taste

750 ml sunflower oil, to deep fry

Put the oil in a wok/karhai and leave it to heat till it is of a temperature high enough to deep fry without letting it reach smoking point.

In the meanwhile mix the salt and all the spices in to the besan, and rub it through your fingers for a minute to make sure that there are no lumps. Put the peanuts in a bowl, and wash them under running water, draining out any excess. Now add the besan in to this bowl, and coat it well on the peanuts, adding a little bit of water if required but don’t let the besan become at all pasty or runny – it should have the texture and feel of sticky dough.

Take the peanuts in to your hand about 1-2tbsp at a time, and drop them gradually in to the oil, trying to separate them as you go. Now wait till they start to rise to the surface of the oil and then with a slotted frying spoon gently try and separate the peanuts as much as you can by gently pushing at the little clumps that will have formed.

Turn the peanuts over a couple of times and take them out as they start to look crisp while still retaining a yellowish rather than a brown color, and drain the excess oil on absorbent paper. Take care not to let the peanuts brown too much or they – and the besan – will acquire a bitter kind of taste.

These peanuts won’t seem very crisp at first, right after you take them out, but they get a lot crispier after a while, so leave them to cool and then store in an airtight box after they have cooled and acquired the right bite. You can try to separate them some more once they have cooled.

My mother suggests serving these with a sprinkling of chaat masala; I forgot that part on Saturday but everyone enjoyed them anyway.

As a postscript, I would like to add that I made them again yesterday, a much larger quantity this time (500 grams of peanuts). This was for the birthday party of a friend’s daughter this afternoon. And it was gratifying to see them go pretty quick this time too !

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Filed under Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks