Chickpea Flour and Swiss Chard Savory Crepes with Mint Ginger Raita (Besan ka Cheela or Chilla)

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on June 14, 2010

 

Chickpea or Garbanzo flour is a staple in Indian households, because its so quick to cook and versatile. Back home in India, when those unexpected visitors dropped in, chickpea flour always came to the rescue. We’d make a batter of the flour and water, dip some potatoes in it and deep fry them for quick, yummy bajjis or fritters for the unannounced guests. Or, we’d make a thinner batter with the chickpea flour, throw in some spices and make golden, crispy crepes. When cooked, chickpea flour (besan) has a beautiful creamy texture and a nutty flavor. Its chock full of protein too.  

I added some shredded, wilted swiss chard to the crepe batter for extra nutrition. You could add any greens you like. The shredded chard in the batter does make it a wee bit difficult to spread around in the pan. But once youve made one crepe, you’ll get the hang of it. Just make sure you spread the batter as thin as you can.

For a simpler method, dont add the chard to the batter; instead, cook the crepes without swiss chard, then place the wilted chard (or any other filling) over cooked crepes, and roll them up.

As far as savory crepes go, this Indian style garbanzo flour crepe is one of my favorites. Its quick, filling, gluten free and vegan friendly (think of these as vegan omelettes!).  And you can customize this dish however you like. Change up the spices or fill the crepes with spiced potatoes, sauteed mushrooms or whatever left over vegetables you have on hand

I like to serve these crepes with an easy mint and ginger raita (recipe below). But you can serve it with pretty much any chutney you like. Mint chutney, coriander or cilantro chutney, coconut chutney, date-tamarind chutney will all be great. Or try this with store bought mango chutney.

Chickpea Flour and Swiss Chard Crepes with Mint Ginger Raita (Besan Ka Chilla or Cheela) Recipe

serves about 2

4 large leaves of swiss chard (1 1/2 cups when shredded)
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin or carom (ajwain) seeds

1 cup chickpea flour (also called garbanzo flour or gram flour or besan)
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida
1/8 teaspoon baking powder, optional
1 green or red chilli finely chopped
salt
Oil for cooking crepes

Removed and discard the stems from swiss chard leaves.  Stack the swiss chard leaves and roll them tightly. Chop the roll into fine shreds. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of shredded swiss chard.

Heat oil in a small non-stick pan, add cumin or carom seeds. When they start to sizzle, add shredded swiss card and 1/2 teaspoon water and toss on medium heat till the swiss chard has wilted to half its original volume. This will take about a minute. You should now have about 3/4 cups of wilted chard.

In a mixing bowl, add the wilted swiss chard, and all other remaining ingredients except oil. Whisk till everything is combined. The batter should be slightly thinner than pancake batter and should be easily pourable. If the batter is too thick, add more water.

Heat a non-stick pan. Pour a ladle of batter on the hot pan. Using the ladle or back of a spoon, spread the batter around to form a thin crepe. Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon oil over the crepe. Cook on medium heat for about 1 minutes or till the bottom side is golden and sides start to crisp. Using a spatula, flip the crepe over and cook the other side till golden. Serve hot.

Ginger Mint Raita
makes 1 cup

1 cup yogurt (I recommend Greek yogurt)
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons mint leaves loosely packed
Chaat masala to taste or salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend till smooth. Serve chilled.

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Comments

comments

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cate June 14, 2010 at 6:05 pm

I’ve noticed chickpea flour in more and more recipes lately, and since there’s a huge bin of it at our local natural foods co-op, I think I’m definitely going to buy some and give this a try. It’s an added bonus that it uses chard…one of my new favorite vegetables! Thanks for the inspiration!

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2 Rosie Girl June 14, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Oh my, this looks so incredibly tasty. Man, I miss a cold ramekin of raita with just about anything!

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3 Happy Cook June 14, 2010 at 11:22 pm

you whipp up so many delcious veg dishes. This looks absloutley delicious.

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4 Rosa June 14, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Chickpea crepes are so good and really versatile! That is an interesting and healthy combo. Yummy!

Cheers,

Rosa

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5 sally June 15, 2010 at 12:07 am

Your photos are fantastic! I’m always looking for new ways to use swiss chard. I love the idea of putting it in a crepe.

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6 nandini.p June 15, 2010 at 12:23 am

Gorgeous!!!! Though i have come across this recipe , never tried it at home.. Yours look so great , and i can eat anything with a tub of raita . Will try it soon…

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7 Asha June 15, 2010 at 4:54 am

LOVE the photos, so gorgeous. I grow red Chard too, they grow nicely in Summer. Perfect meal, good one! :)

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8 Priti June 15, 2010 at 4:55 am

Wow a simple chilla looks so interesting…..beautiful pics

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9 arthi June 15, 2010 at 4:56 am

Wow sala…cant tell you how much I love besan chilla…and this one looks absolutely perfect..Love the pictures…absolutely drool worthy!

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10 Cynthia June 15, 2010 at 11:09 am

Ah ha! So that is the beautiful face behind the warm and generous personality and outstanding food blogger! I am smiling here all silly like a teenager :) It is so lovely to put a face to the name!

Tight hugs. Will email soon. I promise!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Cynthia, you are so sweet! Tiiiiggghhhtttt hugs back! Yes, email me! :)

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11 Miryam June 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I love your food pictures and recipes, just found your blog. I have always love Indian food and even cooked it at home. I have pretty much all of the spices but I have not used them in a while. I have to start to upgrade my Indian recipe repertoire. I wish you lived closer so that we could get together and cook. I need a cook buddy!!

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12 Sanjeeta kk June 16, 2010 at 8:03 am

Wow! great blog and picture perfect photos. Came here from Jugalbandi ‘s site. Shall keep coming for more.

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13 Parita June 16, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Never seen a besan chilla so beautiful!!! Awesome pictures!

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14 A&N June 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I love the cup too! :) And I’ve never made chilas though made the South Indian version of Adai.

This is such an easy go-to meal for busy nights! Thanks, Sala

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15 Soma June 16, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I esp. love the use of chard here. I do not usually make chillas with besan, but use mung dal instead. will add greens to my chillas next time. that is one cute 1/4 cup ;-)

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16 lisa June 16, 2010 at 9:08 pm

These look incredible. I’m definitely going to try these crepes. I love that they are GF and vegan. Such a nice healthy meal!

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17 Nithya June 17, 2010 at 4:57 am

Yummy Crepes. Mom makes this pretty much the same way and as you said its a big time savior when we have unexpected guests at home :)

I am a big fan of your clicks. They are just to amazing always :)

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18 Sanura June 17, 2010 at 5:40 am

I brought chickpea flour for a particular recipe, and I’ve thought about doing crepes with them. However, I couldn’t find the appropriate recipe. Thank you for sharing!

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19 shweta June 17, 2010 at 5:41 am

love love love your pics, and the idea of including swiss chard. i make mine usually with chopped onions, tomatoes and fresh green chillies. i will swiss chard next time, its a very healthy green.

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20 Brian June 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Chickpea flour? Love it! Swiss Chard? Love it! Mint and Ginger? Love them!!!!

This sounds perfect!

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21 Dana June 18, 2010 at 10:29 am

Fabulous Sala! I have some chickpea flour in my pantry from making socca a few years ago. I have heard that it makes great crepes. You make it look so easy and lovely (as usual)! Two questions. Did you use a crepe pan or a cast iron one? How big? And where did you get that adorable measuring cup? (I guess that is three questions.) :)

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Hi Dana! I used a 10 inch non-stick pan. For this sized pan, you will probably need to pour about 1/4 cup batter to make a thin crepe. I got the measuring cup for 99c at the thrift store :)

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22 Viswa June 18, 2010 at 11:01 am

Love it. I guess this can be tried with any dosa batter.

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23 Kitchen Butterfly June 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Yum. Photos and recipe. Was planning on trying chapatis with only gram flour but most recipes include atta so I am mighty glad that I could make crepes instead! Superb.

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24 Cooking with Kait June 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm

These crepes sounds amazing. I am a huge fan of chickpeas and chickpea flour.

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25 Vrajavala August 2, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I made my own besan flour and tried to make some “padus” by adding shredded zucchini, sliced tomatoes, little mozzarella cheese, little water, assorted spices and cooking like a crepe on an oilsed pan.
Problem is that they seem to be rather crumbly.
I tried adding some rice flour (which I also made) and got similar results.
I’m thinking that perhaps I didn’tmake the chickpea flour properly.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Yes, it could be the chickpea flour you made. I dont know how to make chickpea flour, I just buy it from the store and this recipe is perfect each time :)

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26 Leelabean August 11, 2013 at 8:39 am

I just made these (without the chard) and love them! I will try to sneak in some spinach next time for the kids! Yum!! Thanks for the recipe!

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