Kitchen and food, Recipes

Super Soft Protein Packed Savory Pancakes (Cheela)

Being a vegetarian I’m always struggling to manage my family’s protein intake. Some recipes are not tasty enough, some not easy enough and some are not nutritious enough…. It’s an everyday stress to decide on a dinner menu that meets all criteria.

To include more proteins I replaced roti with besan cheela (chickpea flour savory pancakes) in my dinner. Sometimes the cheela would be too dry so I grated Zucchini and added finely chopped onions to the batter, but the results still varied. One day I had a eureka moment and added lots of crumpled tofu in the batter along with the veggies. The result was a soft, tasty and super healthy cheela. Even my fussy kids happily ate it and asked again the next day. 

Recipe is pretty simple.

You need:

1 cup Besan* (Chickpea flour)

1 cup grated Zucchini (or Bottle gourd/Lauki)

2 tbsp finely chopped onions 

1/2 cup crumpled Tofu

1/4 tsp Ajwain (carrom seeds)

1/4 tsp Amchoor (dry mango powder)

Salt to taste

What you need to to:

  • Mix all ingredients together and add water in small quantities to reach pouring consistency
  • Whisk well so there are no lumps
  • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes 
  • Heat an iron skillet (tawa). Once its hot, add a few drops of oil and spread with a brush. Be more generous with the oil for making the first cheela
  • Pour couple of spoonfuls of the batter on the hot skillet, spread evenly and cook well on both sides until done
  • Enjoy hot with green chutney


  • Depending on my mood and availability I sometimes add a couple tablespoons of Jowar flour, Oats flour, Sooji or Ragi flour while keeping besan as the base. You can get as creative with the type and quantity of flour you are using.
  • You can add veggies like carrots, beans, cauliflower, spinach etc. in addition or in place of Zucchini and Onion. 
  • I don’t usually add chilies because my kids don’t eat very spicy foods but if you’d like you can add finely chopped green chilies. They lend a great flavor to the cheelas.
  • Don’t make the batter too watery, else the cheelas will take ages to cook. You can add more besan to thicken the batter.


Happy cooking!