Sooji Chilla or Indian-style savoury pancakes made from semolina, are delicious eaten on their own or a with a side of some Green Chutney or plain old ketchup.
Growing up, we weren’t used to having traditional Indian breakfasts on a daily basis. In fact, weekday mornings for my Mom were often rushed – with getting us ready for school, making and packing our lunch boxes, and just making sure that we all got out of the house clean, fed and on time. Our breakfasts on these mornings usually consisted of toast, eggs and cereal. Add in some fruit and a cup of milk and we were set to take on the day.
Indian breakfasts like this Sooji Chilla recipe, Puri–Bhaji or even Parathas, were saved for the weekends. Weekends were when we (and by we, I actually mean I – since everyone else in my family were early risers!) were allowed to sleep in. I would often wake up with the aroma of something scrumptious wafting in the air and I knew I was in for a treat. There were many times of course, when I was also woken up on Sunday mornings with the sound of the fire alarm going – a usual sight in many Indian kitchens when you’re trying to crisp up Parathas on high heat!
This recipe for Sooji Chilla was introduced to me by Hubby Dear in the initial days of our relationship. He was used to eating it for breakfast and made it for me on Sunday morning. I was floored! I had never tasted anything like it before and the mere simplicity of the recipe and ingredients used blew me away. Needless to say, I took his recipe and ran with it. With him in tow of course!
Although I still don’t make Chillas as a regular breakfast for us, it does make a regular appearance on our weeknight dinner menu. It’s super quick to prep and doesn’t need too many ingredients. It’s a perfect contender for pantry cooking and works well when you’re stuck indoors with a roaring blizzard and can’t get to the grocery store!
I love to serve these Sooji Chillas with a side of my Cilantro Chutney, but they’d go great with some Indian pickle or even ketchup. You can add in whatever veggies you fancy – carrots, zucchini and beets work extremely well, just remember to finely grate them. You want to make sure that the batter is not too chunky and can spread as easily and smoothly as possible.
Sooji Chilla (Savoury Semolina Pancakes)
- 1 1/2 cups sooji also known as semolina
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- salt to taste
- water as required
- oil for frying
- Mix the sooji, onion, fresh cilantro, red chilli powder and salt in a large bowl, and add in enough water to form a slightly thinner pancake-like batter consistency. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
- After the batter has had time to rest, give it a good mix and add in more water if necessary to get it to pouring consistency.
- Heat a frying pan and add in a few drops of oil. Add about a 1/4 cup of the batter and spread evenly to form a thin round pancake.
- Let it fry on one side until it starts to get crisp along the edges, before adding a couple more drops of oil and flipping to the other side. Fry until both sides are crisp and the pancake is cooked through.
- Serve warm.
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