Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Besan Chilla/Cheela) – Traditional Pancakes Taken To The Next Level

Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Besan Chilla/Cheela) - Traditional Pancakes Taken To The Next Level |

This is the most fun I’ve had making breakfast for ages. I’d been wanting to try chickpea flour pancakes (sometimes known as besan or garbanzo flour too, or even besan chilla and cheela) and there are nearly as many different ways to make them as there are names!

Actually, I’d heard of so many that I got a little stuck with where to start. I knew I wanted to keep them pretty traditional (I absolutely love Indian food and these have a lot of history in Northern India) and so I wanted to keep that lovely Indian flavour but I also wanted to give them a modern, western twist so they’d be really quick and use no mysterious ingredients I’d have to travel across Europe for.

After plenty of trial and error, this is what was born. Different to most pancakes that we’ve made in the past, these are decidedly savoury.

Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Besan Chilla/Cheela) - Traditional Pancakes Taken To The Next Level |

Our now world-famous 2 ingredient pancakes can be eaten both sweet or savoury, as can these high protein cottage cheese, but these chickpea pancakes are something else entirely. With a pleasingly aromatic smell, these pancakes immediately ask to be paired with pickles and chutneys, or a yogurt or cream dip. Hummus and guacamole also go really well.

And so, dear readers, we give you chickpea pancakes. A high protein, high fibre breakfast, lunch or dinner that tastes like the best of Indian cuisine while being easy to make, and even easier to eat. Any vegans out there will also be pleased to hear that these are right up their street, as well will gluten or lactose avoiders.

Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Besan Chilla/Cheela) - Traditional Pancakes Taken To The Next Level | hurrythefoodup.comChickpea Flour Pancakes (Besan Chilla/Cheela) - Traditional Pancakes Taken To The Next Level |

Chickpea Pancakes – What I Learnt

As mentioned, these chickpea (or besan/chillas) pancakes are exceptionally easy to make, and made even better when these simple rules are followed.

  • Use a large pan. These pancakes are far superior when they’re thin – easier to flip and the veggies get cooked better too.
  • Use a non-stick pan, and use a little tissue to make sure the surface is evenly coated in oil.
  • Use whatever veg you have laying around. This dish works on so many levels that virtually any vegetable will work with it, so here’s your chance to use those leftovers!
  • Dice the veg finely. The smaller it’s chopped, the better it cooks.
  • Eat them hot! In my humble opinion this is imperative, so if you’re cooking multiple pancakes then keep them warm in the oven.
  • Once they’re all ready, don’t dawdle 🙂

Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Besan Chilla/Cheela) - Traditional Pancakes Taken To The Next Level |

To ghee or not to ghee, that is the question.

Throughout my experiments with this recipe, I came across a very interesting topic, worthy of our time. Ghee is often used in Indian cooking, and, as may well be expected, goes very well as the cooking base in this dish (it replaces the oil).

It is made by melting butter and then removing the milk solids. It still has that buttery taste, and has a really high smoke point, so it’s perfect for pancakes. It’s also high in vitamins A and E, and according to Care2 it can last for a verrrrry long time!

It is not vegan of course, however it does seem to be one of the only dairy products that is lactose-free, or so low in lactose that it won’t cause a reaction to dairy intolerant people anyway. You should always check with your doctor of course and that doesn’t mean it’s safe for dairy allergic peeps however, so if you are, we highly advise you stay away!

If you’re interested in ghee and would like to try it, it’s easy to find. You can click here or in the recipe below if you’d like to look at the different types available.

So – up to you. Whether you go with ghee or stick with olive oil, you’re in for a treat. Welcome to the next level of pancake!Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Besan Chilla/Cheela) - Traditional Pancakes Taken To The Next Level |

Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Besan Chilla/Cheela) - Traditional Pancakes Taken To The Next Level |
4.67 from 3 votes

Chickpea Flour Pancakes

A savory pancake begging to be eaten with pickles and chutneys or yogurts and cream. East meets West with this beautifully, wonderfully healthy dish.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 pancakes
Calories 253 kcal
Author HurryTheFoodUp



  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup peas


  1. Add the flour, water, turmeric, salt, pepper and chili flakes (if using) to a mixing bowl and give it a quick blend using a fork or an immersion blender Leave it to settle for a few minutes while you heat up the a tbsp of oil or ghee in a non-stick pan. The batter needs to look very runny!

  2. Dice the veggies finely and add them to the mixture.

  3. Use a tissue or similar (a spray oil would work wonders here) to ensure the bottom of the pan is coated well in oil.

  4. Add about a ladle of the mixture and veggies when the pan is hot - a medium heat should be just right.

  5. Cook for about 3 minutes - the mixture will quickly start to firm. If you’re using two pans, you can make two pancakes at the same time.

  6. Make sure you use a large pan (or pans) here, you’re aiming for thin pancakes. They’re MUCH easier to handle!

  7. Use a large spatula to help you flip the pancakes, adding more oil underneath if necessary. After another 2-3 minutes your pancake will be ready!

  8. Keep it somewhere warm while you repeat with the second pancake, adding more oil when necessary.

  9. Done! Add your desired toppings and enjoy. Remember - it’s important to eat these pancakes warm - don’t let them get cold!

Serving suggestions:

  1. Any chutneys (red onion is a favourite of ours) yogurt dip, hummus, avocado, guacamole, Branston Pickle (if you can find it where you are it goes incredibly well!).

Recipe Notes

IF YOU LIKED THIS RECIPE: then check out Kat’s Overnight Oats for another great breakfast idea. Otherwise this lovely Mango Lassi is a beautiful Indian way to wake up!

Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Besan Chilla/Cheela) - Traditional Pancakes Taken To The Next Level |
(1 serving = 2 pancakes)


  1. These are my new “go-to” for a quick dinner. Full disclosure, I don’t get all fancy with them. Last night I just spiced the batter with salt, pepper, and sage, and put a little butter on them when I ate them. Best ever was when I had some leftover spiralized butternut squash and tossed that in. So, don’t get hung up on tradition. Once you realize that 1/3 cup of garbo flour mixed with 1/3C water magically turns into dinner while you’re busy feeding the tortoise, you can spread your wings and fly wherever the cupboard takes you. 🙂

  2. I love this recipe and have just discovered this flour (called Gram flour in my local UK Asian store). I use rice bran oil, vegan, healthy and high temperature cooking. It is also brilliant for roasting potatoes and other vegetables and making onion bhajis!

    • Yes, it has various names I noticed. Ah never heard of rice bran oil! Will keep an eye out for it. Thanks Kate 😀

    • Really glad to hear you like the recipe so much too Kate! I just saw this comment and went to make some, then I realised I’m out of chickpea flour. Will pick up more now. Good to know the UK name too, it’ll be easier to find it when I’m next back 🙂

  3. HI I have been making socca for awhile now but now want to make a more filling chickpea
    Pancake with some greens, veggies, herbs etc. but these pancakes are turning out fairly soft,
    Not thin and crispy as I had hoped. Any suggestions?

    • Hiya Karen, good question! Let’s see if we can help you get them nice and crispy. First – could it be that too many veggies are making them too watery (and therefore cooking soft)? Or are you using frozen veg at all perhaps? Otherwise, maybe a little more oil, and a slightly higher heat spring to mind. A good, big pan is definitely the way forward too! I’ll keep thinking about it too 🙂

      • Thanks. I agree maybe too much spinach and cilantro. Should just stick with smaller diced veggies. Will try with the cast iron pan in the oven on high heat next time. Would like to get a flavored pancake rather than just socca bread with toppings, do you know what I mean. Appreciate your reply!

        • Haha yes, certainly! I’d be very interested to hear how they turn out now. Improving/changing recipes is always very important to us, and feedback really helps us! I eat these often too, so I’m glad other people are enjoying them 🙂

  4. This recipe looks great! I like to make my breakfasts ahead of time on Sunday so I don’t have to cook during the week. I know you say don’t let them get cold but is it ok to make these in advance, put them in the fridge and microwave them when ready to eat? What is the downside to this? Thanks!

    • Hi Octavia, I’m really glad you found it – it’s one of my faves! Actually, I can’t see why that wouldn’t work to be honest. Cold they’re not very nice, but reheated they should be fine. Please let me know how it goes!

  5. These are good. Great recipe. Added Pea, spring onion and sweetcorn. tried one with cumin seeds but preferred the turmeric flavour without cumin seeds. Pinned to my recipe board now. Thanks for this one.

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