We will not start this article with the dish’s health benefits but with the fundamental question for our international clients: What is a cheela?
The recipe for the week is Stuffed besan cheela, or one can say Indian chickpea tortilla or pancake. Chilla or cheela is a kind of Indian version of a pancake. It can be made with various lentil flours, mostly savory, but can be sweet too. Cheelas are generally vegan and gluten-free.
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/4tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4tsp black pepper
- Pinch of allspice
- 50 g paneer
- 1small onion chopped
- 2 green chili chopped finely
- 1tsp Cow’s ghee
- Mix chickpea flour with seasoning and water to make a batter
- Keep aside for 5 minutes
- Crumble paneer and veggies with the seasoning and keep aside
- Heat a pan and spread ghee on it
- On medium heat, pour some batter into the pan and spread it around nice and evenly and let it cook on medium heat
- Once the base is cooked, separate it from the pan and flip over
- Add paneer mix on half of the cheela and wrap the other half over it
- Cook till golden brown
We have stuffed it with paneer to be a high protein recipe, simple and easy to cook and comes together in less than 30 minutes right from the preparation to cooking the cheelas. Please go ahead and add all sorts of seasonal vegetables and herbs as you like to make the dish more nutritious. Traditionally, it is made for breakfast, but sometimes also for a quick snack, especially with evening indian chai or post-workout. This is one of the best recipes with chickpea flour.
What is Chickpea Flour?
Chickpea flour is also known as gram flour, besan, & garbanzo bean flour. It is made by grinding whole uncooked, dried chickpeas until a fine powder (flour) forms. This flour is very versatile, commonly used in Indian and Pakistani savory and sweet dishes.
Chickpea flour makes an excellent gluten-free flour due to its naturally sticky gluten-like properties and is a great flour to use in vegan recipes due to its outstanding binding properties, leaving no need for eggs.
Below are the top health benefits of chickpeas, which are also known as garbanzo beans:
Health Benefits of Chickpeas
Improves Heart Health
Chickpeas are loaded with selenium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B, fiber, and iron, all of which support heart health. For example, fiber helps lower the total cholesterol in the blood, which reduces the risk of heart disease. It may also remove plaque from the arteries and improve their health.
Chickpeas contain a plant sterol called sitosterol, which is structurally quite similar to the cholesterol in our body. It may interfere with the body’s absorption of cholesterol and thereby can help to lower blood cholesterol levels. ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188421/>)) , ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4016088/>))
Chickpeas have a low glycemic load (9.3)and low glycemic index (30)and contain amylose, a resistant starch that digests slowly. These factors, along with fiber and protein, help prevent sudden surges in blood sugar and insulin levels, improving overall blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18502235/>)), ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28303049/>)), ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4083349/>)), ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5883628/>))
Improves Gut Health
Chickpeas have soluble dietary fiber called raffinose which assists the colon in the digestive process. It maintains the health of the digestive tract by flushing out toxins and improving gut health. It may decrease digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colon cancer. ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559033/>)), ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188421/>))
Chickpeas are high-fiber and high-protein food that may help to promote the feeling of satiety and fullness by delaying digestion and adding bulk to meals. This factor can also help in better weight management. ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28303049/>)), ((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188421/>))
Chickpea flour is high in protein, iron, fiber and low in fat, has no cholesterol. Do mix it with other gluten-free flour to increase the protein, use it in sweet or savory baked goods. We can mix with equal parts water and use it as an egg replacement in your recipes. (1-2 tbsp chickpea flour mixed with 1-2 tbsp water = 1 egg) to make vegan omelets and quiches.
Apart from chickpea flour, another healthy ingredient in this dish is paneer or cottage cheese. Paneer is suitable for people who have diabetes. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is ideal for the mental development of kids. It is also beneficial for heart diseases as paneer regulates blood pressure and controls cholesterol levels.
So try out this Indian breakfast recipe this way, or with any individual variation.
We would love to hear what you think about this recipe in the comments section below!