Mung Bean Pancakes (Chila)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
mung bean chila

My obsession with savory Indian pancakes for breakfast with some spicy chutney or a dollop of yogurt continues. I make up a decent sized batch to last my husband and I a good few days — they can be reheated in foil wrap if made ahead of time as they preserve their rather delicate texture and slightly spicy, wholesome flavor for days. Or, needless to say, they can be simply served up right away, hot from the skillet. I never do mind room temperature food either myself, and if I am really hungry, I just plop any leftovers on the plate right from the fridge. When hunger hits, you won't be standing in front of an open fridge door for long if you know these nourishing delights are waiting for you.

They are of course a perfect and substantial accompaniment to any Indian meal, any time of day, or just as a snack. Consider rolling these ones up with a vegetable curry, or maybe a paneer curry, served with some rice on the side. The possibilities are endless, and once you experience the delight of making these in your own kitchen there is no turning back from Indian flatbreads and you'll be exploring many other variations. They really are easy to prepare — the only time consuming aspect is frying up each pancake, though the process can be streamlined by using two pans or a large electric skillet.

mung bean urad dal pancakes

Mung Bean Pancakes (Chila)Mung Bean Pancakes (Chila)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on January 6, 2013

Simple, soft and fragrant and lightly spiced savory pancakes made from mung beans and urad dal and without flour

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1 cup dried whole mung beans
  • 1/4 cup skinless urad dal
  • 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 fresh green chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • generous dash of asafetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • sesame oil for frying
  • Thoroughly rinse the mung beans and urad dal in a strainer for a few minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a few inches of water, and let soak overnight.

  • Drain the beans and dal and transfer to a food processor or blender along with the water, ginger, chilies, spices, baking soda, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Let stand for 3 to 4 hours. Add more water if necessary to achieve a semi-thick batter.

  • In a non-stick skillet, heat a teaspoon of oil over medium heat. When hot, ladle about 1/2 cup of the batter into the pan and use the bottom of the ladle to spread the batter out into a roughly 6-inch circle. Fry for a few minutes until bubbles appear on the top and the bottom is nicely browned. Sprinkle a bit of oil on top of the pancake, flip, and cook for another minute or two or until the other side is browned. Remove to an oven-safe plate and keep warm in a 150°F oven. Repeat until all of the batter is used.

  • Serve hot or warm with chutney, yogurt or curry. Refrigerate leftovers and reheat in foil at 300°F for 10 minutes.

Makes 12 to 14 pancakes

More Indian breads you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Home-Style Chila
Besan Roti
Rice Flour Pancakes
Fenugreek Roti


Yogi Kitchen said...

Hi Lisa, greetings from Mysore! We are here again for 3 months and wish that the food available in the restaurants was as interesting and delicious as I'm sure yours is. Sadly home cooking is hard to find, luckily we are pretty set up to cook and I have asked Adam to make these for me.

Your continued interest and inspiration in all foods, but especially Indian is impressive! Thanks for keeping up with your blog.

Home Cooked food said...

first time here. nice collection. do visit mine too. love Chillas.

Indian Khana said...

healthy n yum ...looks gud

Lisa Turner said...

Hello Yogi Kitchen! Wish I were there to experience the flavours coming out of your kitchen. I have been enjoying Ms. Sandhya's elegant book lately.

Thanks for dropping by kitchen Queen and Priti.

Anonymous said...

Chila looks delicious Lisa! I will definitely be trying this soon. Best wishes for the new year!

Terry Magee said...

Hi Lisa, just found your site, it looks great, and am looking forward to trying multiple dishes. Some of the ingredients are new to me so it should be an adventure. I am intrigued by the mung bean pancakes and plan on trying that one first but I am a little unsure about not cooking the mung beans before putting them in the food processor. Although I guess if I process sufficiently then the pancake cooking time alone will suffice. Can you reassure me - I haven't missed a step.
Thanks, Terry

Lisa Turner said...

Thanks for visiting Terry and for your kind words. You haven't missed a step. Because the ground up beans soak for a while and because they are fried up, the cooking time works fine and they are easy to digest. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Split mung works in these pancakes as well.