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Masoor Dal Chilla - Spicy pancakes with red lentils




Perfectly soft Masoor Dal Chilla, lightly spiced with green chili and ginger. These protein-rich savory lentil pancakes are great for breakfast, snack or main meals. They are a delicious gluten-free and vegan substitute for traditional Indian Chapatis, Parathas or Naan.


What is Chilla?

Chilla or Chela, also known as Puda or Pudla, are savory pancakes made from lentils. In India, Pudla is often enjoyed for breakfast with chutney and pickles. I love serving them instead of naan or parathas as a healthy, gluten-free and vegan flatbread. I use Masoor Dal (red lentils) in this recipe, but you can also make it with Moong Dal (yellow lentils).


Ingredients for Masoor Dal Chilla

Masoor Dal - Dried red lentils are the most popular lentils because they taste good and cook quickly. They are a staple food throughout India and are most commonly used in dals. You can get them in supermarkets, health food stores or Asian stores. You can also use Moong Dal instead.

Green Chili - Indian green chili adds earthy and spicy flavors to these pancakes. Unlike the thicker chilies of Mexican cuisine or the tiny bird's eye chilies of the Thai, Indian chilies are long, thin and green. They are green because they are unripe. You can add more or less depending on the spice level you want.

Coriander leaves- Coriander leaves are popular in Indian cooking because of their bright color and citrusy flavor. This herb loses its unique flavor when cooked, so it should be added to the batter just before preparing the Chillas.

Ginger - Fresh ginger adds a touch of spice and peppery flavor. It is usually used at the beginning of the preparation so that it loses some of its refreshing spiciness and can support the spices that follow.


FAQs

Why won't my Chilla batter spread?

If the pan is too hot or the batter is too thick, the batter will clump together and not spread. The pan needs to be hot, but not extremely hot. The batter needs to be thick but have a pourable and spreadable consistency. You can splash some water to check if the pan is hot and only then spread the batter.


Why is my Chilla batter sticking to the ladle?

If the pan is not hot enough or the batter is too thick, it will stick to the bottom of the ladle.

Add a little water to the batter and stir well so that a pourable and spreadable consistency is achieved.


Serving suggestions

Serve hot Chilla with your favorite pickle, chutney or Dhaniya Pudina Chutney as breakfast or snack, along with a cup of Masala Chai. Masoor Dal Chillas also taste great with main dishes along with curries like Achari Paneer, Aloo Matar or Paneer Bhurji.They also go well with Beef Pickle and Chicken Curry.


Storage suggestions

These savory pancakes are a perfect recipe to make ahead. Refrigerate them in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. To reheat, simply place on a hot skillet and fry for 1 to 2 minutes on both sides.


An easy way to reheat the Chillas is to heat them in the oven. Preheat your oven to 250 C and place 2 to 3 Chillas on a baking sheet. I make mine in 2 baking sheets. Heat for 2 to 3 min. The bottom tray takes a little longer.


Ingredients for 6 to 8 Chillas

  • 1 cup split red lentils (Masoor Dal)

  • 3 cups of water for soaking the lentils

  • 1 green Chili

  • 2,5cm Ginger

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • ½ cup water (for the batter)

  • 2 tablespoons Coriander leaves, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions

Rinse and drain Masoor Dal and soak in water overnight or at least 4 hours.

Drain all the water. Put the lentils in a blender cup.Add green Chili, Ginger, Salt and water and make a fine paste with a pourable consistency.

Add Coriander leaves and stir briefly. Let the batter rest for five minutes.

Preheat a skillet (preferably 20 cm in diameter) over low to medium heat until very hot.

Pour a small ladle of batter (about ⅓ cup) into the pan and spread until the bottom is covered to make a large pancake.

Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle with a few drops of oil and carefully flip the Chilla. Drizzle a little oil over the top again and bake for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the Chilla has light brown spots.


Remove the Chilla from the pan and repeat the process with the remaining batter.


Serve hot Chilla with your favorite pickle, chutney or Dhaniya Pudina Chutney as breakfast or snack, along with a cup of Masala Chai. Masoor Dal Chillas also taste great with main dishes along with curries like Achari Paneer, Aloo Matar or Paneer Bhurji.They also go well with Beef Pickle and Chicken Curry.



Tips

  • Generally, I do not add leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder to Masoor Dal Chilla. But, for a fluffy soft Chilla with the consistency of a vegan omelet, you can add a pinch of baking soda or ¼ teaspoon of baking powder to the batter.

  • Add grated vegetables like Carrots, Beetroots, Cabbage and Bell Peppers to give your Masoor Dal Chillas a nutritional boost.

  • Prepare the batter (without adding vegetables) and store it in a container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Let it sit for some time before preparing the Chillas. Add the vegetables as desired and stir. If needed, add a few tablespoons of water to achieve a pourable consistency.

  • An easy way to reheat the Chillas is to heat them in the oven. Preheat your oven to 250 C and place 2 to 3 Chillas on a baking sheet. I make mine in 2 baking sheets. Heat for 2 to 3 min. The bottom tray takes a little longer.




I look forward to hearing from you...

...if you like my blog, my recipes inspire you and your curiosity for Indian cuisine has been piqued.


Feel free to give me feedback if you would like to share your cooking accomplishments or have a suggestion for improvement. I appreciate any kind feedback. Whether via the comment function, email, Facebook or Instagram (best tagged with #heutemalindisch and @heutemalindisch, then your cooking success can also inspire others).

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