Besan Cheela with Pea Shoots

Besan cheela are a healthy and savory Indian pancake made with nutty, protein-rich chickpea flour (besan), onions, tomatoes, and fragrant herbs and spices. Pea shoots add a delicious vibrance. Enjoy them with a bowl of dal or rolled up with a little ghee.


  • 1 cup chickpea flour 
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped 
  • ¼ cup tomato, finely chopped  
  • ½ cup pea shoots, chopped 
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped 
  • ½ -2/3 tsp jalapeño, minced (optional) 
  • ¼ tsp fresh oregano, minced 
  • ½ tsp ginger, minced 
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin 
  • 2-3 pinches ground turmeric 
  • ¼ tsp red chili powder 
  • ½ – 2/3 cup water 
  • Salt 
  • Canola oil, for cooking 


Place chickpea flour in a mixing bowl and add onions, tomatoes, pea shoots, cilantro, jalapeño, oregano, ginger, ground spices and salt. 

Add ½ cup water to start and whisk to mix. If batter looks thick, add 1-3 Tbsp more water. Mix batter to a smooth flowing consistency, breaking up lumps if any. 

Heat frying pan or skillet on low-medium heat. Spread a bit of oil on pan and let it become medium-hot.  

Pour one ladle of batter onto the pan and begin to spread it out, gently, with the back of the ladle. You want to make sure the cheela don’t break. Cook until the batter begins to look cooked. 

Drizzle ½ – 1 tsp on cheela at the edges and continue to cook until the base gets light-golden. Flip, and cook on the other side until you see golden spots. 

Remove from pan and serve immediately, as cheela are best when hot or warm.