Savory Indian Crepes with Tomato-Shallot Chutney (Cheelas)

Serves 4 to 6


For the crepes

1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon carom (ajowan)
18 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ cup water
1 jalapeño (cored and seeded to make more mild), finely chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1½ teaspoons canola oil

For the chutney

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 jalapeño (cored and seeded to make more mild), finely chopped
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


To prepare the crepes, whisk the chickpea flour, salt, carom, and cayenne pepper together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the water (the batter should look like a thin pancake batter), and set the batter aside for 30 minutes. While the batter rests, make the chutney: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the shallots and salt, and cook until the shallots are transparent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, jalapeño, and cilantro; cover the saucepan; and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the tomatoes are very saucy, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover the saucepan, and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the chutney is thick and jammy, another 6 to 8 minutes. Set it aside while you make the crepes.

Gently stir the jalapeño and ¼ cup cilantro into the crepe batter, trying not to create any bubbles. Heat a medium nonstick skillet or griddle over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. You’ll know it’s hot enough when a few droplets of water sizzle on the skillet. Working quickly, pour ¼ cup of batter onto the center of the skillet, and spread it into a large and thin circle with the back of the measuring cup or back of a spoon (do it quickly – the batter cooks fast). Drizzle ¼ teaspoon of canola oil over the top of the crepe. Cook the underside of the crepe until browned, 1 to 1½ minutes. Flip, and cook the other side until it’s dry, about 30 seconds. Serve with a general scoop of chutney, and eat hot.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran