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Indian cook-along: besan ka chilla, Indori aloo and coriander chutney

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  • Chef: Preeti
  • Type: India
  • Serves: 4
  • Time: Prep: 20 minutes, cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Cost: £6 for the whole meal

As part of our series of ‘cultural cook-alongs’ Preeti, food ambassador, showed us how to make besan ka chilla (chickpea pancakes), Indori aloo (spicy potatoes) and coriander chutney. Preeti is from Madhya Pradesh, a central state in India. These are popular dishes and enjoyed throughout the year, eaten at breakfast and supper.


Photo credit: Preeti


Besan Ka Chilla (chickpea flour pancakes)


  • 225g of chickpea (gram) flour
  • 50g of semolina
  • 1 or 2 green chillis, finely chopped
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons of yogurt or curd (optional)
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh coriander
  • vegetable oil



  1. Place the gram flour in the mixing bowl, add salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, asafoetida and semolina and mix it well.
  2. Add 1 cup of water. Mix everything together with a spoon or whisk. If the batter looks thick then add some more water.
  3. Stir through the yogurt if using and make it lump free. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Make sure all your veggies are finely chopped (onion, carrot, chillis, tomatoes). Add to the batter and mix well.
  5. Heat a little oil in a non stick pan on a medium to low heat and ladle batter onto the centre like pancakes. Continue to cook the chilla until the top begins to look cooked or you start seeing some air pockets. Flip over so they cook both sides.
  6. Continue cooking until you see golden brown spots. Cook evenly and well.
  7. Fold your chilla and serve them while they are hot. Continue to make all chillas this way. Besan chilla are best served hot and crisp as soon as they are made. Serve with chutney or mint dip.


You can also fill your chilla with grated paneer or with the indori aloo below.


Indori aloo (spicy potatoes)



  • 4 to 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 green chillis
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • Quarter teaspoon of chilli powder
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped for garnish



  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling add peeled potatoes cubes to the pot. (Boiling time for potatoes will depend on the size and type of potatoes. Don’t boil like you might for mashed potatoes). After 10 minutes check with a fork – when fork slides through, drain your potatoes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or non stick frying pan on a medium heat. Once the oil is hot add mustard seeds and once they start to sputter add the curry leaves, turmeric powder and the boiled potatoes. Stir well and add coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt. Give it a good stir to get the spices nicely mixed and cook untouched for 2 to 3 minutes then stir and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. When the potatoes start turning golden brown remove from the heat.
  3. Add the garam masala and lemon juice, mix well. Garnish with coriander



Coriander chutney



  • 50g of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 to 3 green chillis, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • A pinch of black salt (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped





  1. Put all the ingredients into a blender then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water.
  2. Blend or grind all the ingredients until smooth. Check the seasoning and add more salt or lemon juice as needed.