Its been pouring cats and dogs here today. The bright and warm weather has started taking its turn into the usual drip-zilla.
These are the times when the urge of having a cuppa with some savoury snack like a Palak vada (spinach lentil fritters) or Ram laddoo (North Indian Moong dal vada) or maybe just some pan fried Idli bits. Anything that has spiced up taste and is Indian. I don’t particularly like having cold finger sandwiches with my tea, although these Ribbon chutney sandwiches might make a exception.
Does it happen to you? Do you feel compelled to have a snack that is rather associated with your childhood? Or you rely on the modern age, ready to eat nibblers instead. I would love to know your thoughts upon it.
So this Mung dal cheela. This is also one of the many dishes which were a weekend/monsoon special at our place. Hot cheelas were served with our typical U.P. ki chatpati dhaniya chutney (spicy coriander chutney), Tamatar ki khati meethi chatni (Sweet & sour tomato chutney) and fresh yogurt aside. We were not allowed to have tea back then. But elders at home never failed to cherish some Ginger chai along with these crepes.
Yes. Crepes. That’s what a Cheela or Dosa is for a Non-Indian. Savoury crepes made of grains like rice, lentils, chickpeas etc. are served with assorted chutneys or condiments. Making quite a filling and comforting meal.
These cheelas are mostly served for breakfast. Considering the fact that they are a bit on the heavy side to digest, it is a wise choice. They are fiber rich, high in protein and made of complex carbs. So ideal for breakfast or brunch when your metabolism is at its best.
Cheelas can be made using any dal, but Mung dal is the one most popular. And rightly so. Since it has the best texture and taste for making excellent crepes.
You might also want to call it Adai, which is basically just a dosa made of lentils without fermentation. It is still recommended to soak the lentils well before grinding and keeping the ground batter at rest later on. This helps in improving the digestibility of the grains, and also enhances the taste.
It is highly recommended to add ginger and cumin powder to the batter to help it digests better. I also tend to add a pinch of Garam masala to it to give a spicy touch.
Each Mung dal cheela (chilla/chila) takes about 5 min to cook so it is a really quick breakfast to have if the batter is ready. I usually prepare this on Saturday morning where I am running between errands to get everything done. This is also a No onion garlic recipe but if you want to add chopped onion into the batter, that would taste very good. Or you could just top the cheelas with sliced onion like in this Onion uttapam.
Here are some options that you can serve this Cheela with, based on your preferences:
- Fresh grated coconut + coriander leaves (cilantro)
- Grated Paneer + black pepper powder
- Chopped onion (to be mixed with batter-optional)
- Simple Aloo sabzi (that’s usually prepared for Dosa and Idli)
- Pan fried mushrooms with garlic
- Pan fried peppers in olive oil
- Authentic Coconut chutney
- Green mango coconut chutney
- Peanut coriander yogurt chutney
- Maharashtrian shengdana chuney (peanut garlic chutney)
Moong dal Cheela | Yellow mung savory crepe
- 1 ½ cup Yellow Moong dal
- inch An long thick piece of ginger grated
- 1-2 green chillies
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
- A pinch of garam masala
- A pinch of asafoetida hing
- leaves A handful of fresh cilantro coriander
- tbsp Oil for roasting- about 2 altogether
Rinse the Moong dal well a couple of time and soak in enough water for at least 3-4 hours. After that, drain the water and reserve. This can be used for grinding the batter + preparing other curries or rice. Do not keep it for more than 4-5 hours though.
Grind the soaked lentils with all the spices, ginger and green chilies to a coarse paste, adding just the enough water, a few teaspoons at a time. Transfer it to a mixing bowl and whisk well. Add more water only if required. The batter should be of pouring consistency.
Heat a pan or tawa and pour about half a teaspoon of oil over it, and spread with the help of a spatula. One the oil reaches at a medium hot point, turn the gas to low. Leave it for a few seconds like that. This is done to ensure oil is at the right temperature so it cooks the cheela properly and not undercook or burn it.
Fill a spoonful of the Mung dhal batter and pour on the hot pan, spreading it like a dosa in concentric circles. Do not make it too thick or thin. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 3-5 minutes at low gas.
Take the lid off, let the cheela cook for 3-5 minutes more. Then drop a few drops of oil around the corner of the cheela and drizzle a few on top. I do not use more than 1 teaspoon of oil altogether for one cheela.
Once cooked from the bottom side, flip it and let the other side cook for about 3-5 minutes at low. Once cooked from both the sides (check by pressing a corner by spoon, if the batter doesn’t peek out its cooked), transfer to a serving plate and enjoy with chutney or fresh curd (yogurt)
Check out complete recipe on the website to check out some awesome options to serve these Cheelas with
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