Breakfast for dinner - Moong Dal Chilla
If I am talking about brunch can pancakes be far behind? My husband grew up in a predominantly Gujarati area of Bombay and would often eat these pancakes at his friends' homes. When he told me about them, I had no idea what they were. So he tried to help in all earnest, "they were made of some dal, had cilantro or something green and were fried". That really narrowed my search :-)
So on our last visit to India we went hunting for the mystery dish. Help was forthcoming from all quarters and it didn't take us long to figure out they were moong dal chillas (or chilley to be precise).
Traditionally a chilla is made with besan (chickpea flour) and spices, but there are several variations (with bajra, whole moong, sprouts etc.). I added some peas to my batter today to make an all round satisfying brunch party.
MOONG DAL CHILLA (Split Green Gram Pancakes)
(makes 6 of regular size)
1 cup yellow moong dal (split and husked green gram)
a handful of peas, cooked
1" ginger, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1-2 small green chillies, halved
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
1 small onion chopped fine
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped fine
oil for frying
salt to taste
Wash the dal thoroughly. Put in a bowl and soak overnight in 3 cups of water. Drain while reserving the water. Add ginger, garlic, chillies, asafoetida and turmeric. Season to taste.
Grind with 1/2 cup of reserved water in a blender to make a smooth batter. Pour batter into a bowl and add onion, cilantro and peas. Mix well.
To make chilla -
Heat a pan with a teaspoon oil. Drop a ladleful of batter in the centre of the pan. Using the back of the ladle spread the batter into a circle. Make sure the chilla is not too thick so it gets cooked evenly.
Add a little oil along the edges of the chilla, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the chilla over and cook on the otherside until it gets brown patches. Serve hot with cilantro chutney or ketchup.
A chilla is sometimes called a vegetable omelet. And it does taste like a lacy French omelet because of the lightness of the ground dal. Adding vegetables like cabbage, peas, corn or tomatoes also makes it nutritious.
MATTHA (Spiced Buttermilk)
1 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
thinly sliced pieces of ginger (optional)
1 tsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Whisk yoghurt, water and salt together. Cover and chill.
Heat a pan. Add cumin seeds and roast till they become aromatic. Pound coarsely with a rolling pin or pestle. Add to buttermilk along with ginger and chopped herbs. Allow flavours to blend for about five minutes and serve.
ARF Tuesday too. How sneaky am I?!