Chickpea Chilla Base
30 Min

Chickpea Chilla

The chilla, a savory pancake made with chickpea flour, is my all-time favorite go-to breakfasts. There are two ways to make it. The longer version involves fermenting the batter for a few hours or overnight. And then it can stay in your refrigerator for a few weeks to use as you please. The instant one takes minutes to make and will keep for up to 24 hours. Either way, the chilla is deeply flavorful and can be made with dozens of variations. I don’t think I’ve ever made the same one twice. Chickpea flour is a protein-rich flour that packs a flavor punch. This recipe is my at-home version — you can top it with peanut butter, mashed avocado, fried eggs, almost any kinds of vegetables, even Indian pickles, and yogurt.

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Cook Time

30 Minutes OR 1 Day



For the fermented batter:
Step 1
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, water, salt, pepper, and turmeric until smooth. Add water to achieve a thick smooth pourable batter resembling pancake batter. You will need between 1 and 1.5 cups of water. If lumps persist, let the batter rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then whisk again.
Step 2
Pour this into a clean container, making sure there is enough room for the batter to rise when fermented. Cover lightly with plastic and set aside in a warm place in your kitchen (near a sunny window or an oven) for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. The batter will rise a little or at the very least, have bubbles on the top.
Step 3
Whisk in the olive oil and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the instant batter:
Step 1
Whisk the chickpea flour, olive oil, egg, yogurt, turmeric, black pepper, and salt together until smooth.
To make the chilla:
Step 1
Heat a non-stick or a well-seasoned pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and swirl the oil around to coat the pan.
Step 2
Using a ladle, drop small mounds of the chilla batter and spread slightly. At this point you can add any sorts of vegetables but make sure they are sliced or chopped thin. It is important to add the vegetables while the batter is wet. This way the vegetables will set inside the pancake and cook with it. Sprinkle salt on the vegetables.
Step 3
Turn the heat down to medium and within 2 minutes, gently test the edges of the chillas with a spatula and when the bottom appears to be done, flip them over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes or until the vegetables have a nice sear.
Step 4
Top the chilla with toppings as desired; Fried eggs, marinated raw vegetables, sliced avocado, cheese, pomegranate seeds, sprigs of lettuce or herbs.

Chilla batter (for fermenting)

2 cups chickpea flour

1+ cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/3 cup olive oil

Chilla batter (instant)

1/3 cup chickpea flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large eggs

2 to 3 tablespoons yogurt 

Pinch of ground turmeric 

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

To make chilla:

Olive oil or ghee for frying

Vegetables to top (Such as sliced mushrooms, sliced leeks or green onions, grated carrots, shredded cabbage, sliced asparagus, etc)

Salt for topping vegetables

Fried eggs

Plain yogurt

Fresh greens or herbs

Notes & Variations

  • You could add eggs to the fermented batter if you like. For 1/2 cup of batter, add one egg and a sprinkling of salt and cook as directed above.
  • When picking the vegetables to cook with the chilla, make sure they are sliced thinly so they can cook with the chilla and be careful not to put too many vegetables or they may not cook right.
  • To make the pancake vegan, replace eggs with 4 tablespoons of coconut milk.
30 Min

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