One of my most favorite dal or lentils is the moong dal, because you really can’t doubt on its versatility. Plus, it is highly nutritious, filling and is a great choice when you want to manage your weight effortlessly. According to Ayurveda, moong dal is also tridoshic, that is, balances all 3 doshas. Try this Moong Dal Chilla (or Moong Dal Cheela) – an Indian style spiced Mung Bean Pancake made with husked and split mung lentils. These savory tasty pancakes makes for a great breakfast, brunch or even a lunch when you want to have something different and healthy at the same time.
Table of Contents
Chilla or Cheela is nothing but an Indian style pancake. Traditionally, these are popular in North India where both sweet and salty variants are available.
This Mung Bean Pancake is one such savory variation. Others in this category are made with Indian cottage cheese (paneer), semolina (rava) or the classic Besan Chilla made with gram flour. A popular sweet cheela variation is made with a whole whet flour batter and sugar/jaggery.
A cheela can be made either soft or crisp. If the batter is poured and not spread much, just like an uttapam, then what you get is a soft cheela. If the batter is spread thinly and evenly, then you get a crisp chilla.
Chilla is also known as pudla, puda or poli in various other regions in India. These versions can be found in Maharashtra and Gujarat. A close cousin of the Moong Dal Chilla is the Pesarattu Dosa of Andhra Pradesh in South India. These are more crepe like but made with moong dal batter.
About Moong Dal Chilla
You must really not underestimate the power of moong dal in terms of taste as well! This Mung Bean Pancake will prove that. It is one of those healthy dishes which is also full of flavors and simply delicious.
This chilla recipe is one of the first recipes that I learnt from my mother. She would make them often then; she still makes them often now.
Moong Dal Chilla can be made with both split and husked moong or whole moong. In this recipe, I have used yellow moong lentils. Some basic spices and herbs are also added.
While the chilla with besan is super quick to make, the moong dal ones require soaking of the moong lentils.
So, when you want to make these mung lentil pancakes for breakfast, soak the moong dal overnight. And if you are planning these as an evening or after school snack for kids, then soak the moong lentils for just 3 to 4 hours.
You can make the Moong Dal Chilla more wholesome by adding some grated carrot or beetroot, chopped capsicum or shredded cabbage.
Serve these Mung Bean Pancake stuffed with crumbled/grated paneer or as is with tomato ketchup or green chutney. Have these chillas for breakfast or as a snack.
How to make Moong Dal Chilla
Soak and Grind Moong Dal
1. Rinse 1 cup moong dal 3 to 4 times in water.
2. Then, soak moong dal in 2 to 3 cups water for about 3 to 4 hours.
3. The moong dal will swell or double up in size. Discard the water.
4. Add the drained moong dal and ¼ cup of water in a grinder or blender jar. Grind or blend to a fine and smooth batter.
Don’t add too much water at once, else the moong dal won’t grind very well. In case you are not able to grind the lentils, you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons more water.
Spice Up Moong Dal Batter
5. Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon red chili powder and ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder or cumin powder.
6. Add 1 teaspoon salt or add as required.
7. Stir and mix very well. Keep aside.
8. Chop coriander leaves, onion, green chilies, ginger and keep them ready. You will need:
- ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
- ¼ cup finely chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 to 2 finely chopped green chilies or about ½ to 1 teaspoon finely chopped
9. Add the chopped ingredients to the moong dal batter.
10. Mix very well.
11. Add 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) and mix again.
12. Allow the batter to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. The onions will leave moisture and the consistency of the batter will change slightly.
Check the consistency of the batter. If its too thick, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons water. I added 1 tablespoon water to make it to a pouring consistency.
Adding too much water will not be good as the batter will not spread evenly on the skillet or tawa. The batter should be of a medium pouring consistency, neither too thick nor too thin.
Make Moong Dal Chilla
13. Heat a well seasoned pan. This is important as the pan has to be hot before you make the cheela. Add a scoopful of batter on the center of the pan.
Tip 1: If using a cast iron pan, spread some ½ teaspoon oil evenly all over the pan or tawa before adding the batter.
Tip 2: If using a non-stick pan, there is no need to spread oil on it.
14. Rotate the batter with the back of spatula giving a round and even shape.
15. Cook chilla on medium heat.
16. After a minute or so, they will look crisp and brown.
At this point drizzle a bit of oil at the sides and on top of the chilla. Spread the oil evenly with a spoon on the top of the cooked chilla.
17. Flip the chilla and cook the other side for a minute or till golden brown and crisp.
18. Once the chilla appears crisp and brown, fold it.
19. Again fold them forming a triangular shape or you can just keep them round. Similarly make rest of the chillas. To speed up the cooking, use two pans and make chilla on them.
You can stuff the chilla with crumbled paneer, and then fold them. If using crumbled paneer, then fold from one side.
20. Serve the Moong Dal Chilla hot or warm with tomato ketchup or chutney. Since these chillas stay soft, you can also pack them in a tiffin box.
- Make a gluten-free Moong Dal Cheela without asafoetida (hing).
- For a spicier chilla, add more red chili powder or use hotter green chilies. You can alter these quantities to make it less spicy.
- Add the rest of the spice powders too as per what suits your preferences.
- While the batter is kept for resting, the onions in it will leave some moisture and change the consistency slightly. In case of a thick batter, add 1 or 2 tablespoons water to make it of medium pouring consistency. Avoid adding excess water because a thin batter will not spread evenly while cooking.
- Boost the nutritional profile of this Moong Dal Cheela by adding some veggies like beetroot, carrot, cabbage and capsicum. You can also include some greens like spinach or kale or fenugreek leaves.
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Moong Dal Chilla (Indian Mung Bean Pancake)
- 1 cup moong dal (split & husked yellow moong lentils)
- 2 to 3 cups water – for soaking
- ¼ cup water – for grinding lentils or add as required
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder or cumin powder (ground cumin)
- 1 pinch hing (asafoetida), optional
- ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- ¼ cup finely chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger or finely chopped ginger
- 1 to 2 green chilies – finely chopped or ½ to 1 teaspoon finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt or add as required
- 2 to 3 tablespoons oil for cooking chillas or add as required
Soaking and grinding moong dal
- Rinse the moong dal 3 to 4 times in water.
- Soak the lentils with 2 to 3 cups of water for 3 to 4 hours or overnight if you plan to make the chilla for breakfast.
- The moong dal will swell or double up in size. Discard the water. Rinse the mung lentils again a few times in water. Drain all the water.
- In a grinder, add the soaked moong lentils and ¼ cup of water. Grind to a smooth and fine consistency.
- Don't add too much water as the lentils might not grind evenly. We need a smooth and lump free batter for moong dal chilla.
Making moong dal chilla batter
- Take the finely ground batter in a bowl. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder and salt or as required.
- Mix very well.
- Then add add chopped coriander leaves, chopped onions, grated ginger, finely chopped green chilies and a pinch of asafoetida.
- Again mix very well.
- Allow the batter to rest for 15 to 20 mins.
- The onions will leave some moisture. Check the consistency of the batter. If its too thick, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons more water. But remember not to add too much of water as the batter will not spread evenly on the skillet or tawa.
- The consistency of the batter has to be of pouring consistency, neither too thick nor too thin.
Making moong dal chilla
- Heat a well seasoned pan. This is important as the pan has to be hot before you make the cheelas.If using a cast iron pan, spread ½ teaspoon of oil evenly on the pan.If using a non-stick pan, do not spread oil on it.
- Add a scoopful of batter towards the center of the pan.
- The batter will spread a little on its own.
- Just rotate the batter with the back of spatula giving a round and even shape.
- Cook the chilla on medium heat. After a minute they will look crisp and brown from the bottom.
- At this point drizzle a bit of oil around the edges and in the center of the chilla. Spread the oil drops with a spoon all over the cooked chilla.
- Flip the chilla and cook the other side for a minute.
- Once the moong dal chilla appear crisp and golden, remove and place aside.
- Similarly make all other chilla. You can opt to stuff the chilla with some grated paneer if you want.
- Serve moong dal chilla with tomato ketchup or green chutney.
- Add the ground spice powders less or more depending on your preferences.
- You can skip or reduce green chilies, if you want.
- For a spicy chilla, you can increase red chili powder or use hot green chilies.
- Some grated veggies like carrots, beetroot, cabbage and capsicum can be added to give a nutritional boost in the chillas.
- For a gluten free moong dal chilla, skip adding asafoetida (hing).
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Moong Dal Chilla recipe post from the archives first published in July 2016 has been republished and updated on 6 July 2022.