Today, when the world did not seem right, I made pudla, filled with spring onions (aka green onions in the US) and served them with a delish chutney gifted by a friend.
Pudla is a great quick and healthy snack that is endlessly versatile. There are various names for this chickpea flour pancake – Pudla, Cheela, Chilro, Besan Ja Chilra or Besan Chila.
Pudla is also sometimes called Puda. It is often also called Cheela, Chilla or Besan ka Cheela, especially when it is a thinner batter (like today). Although I am calling this a pudla, it is more like a Cheela this time. What is the distinction?
Pudla and Cheela are both made with lentil flours such as Besan and Moong Dal and are popular as breakfast and snack items. The Cheela is thinner and more like a dosa in style, the Pudla is thicker like a adai.
Cheela is spicy and comparable to Dosa. It is thin and can be crispy. The fresh vegetables included in the batter when making Cheela are limited to finely chopped Cilantro, chillies, and onions. This keeps the Cheela thin. The batter for Cheela has the same consistency as Dosa batter.
Pudla is thick like an adai. Fresh vegetables used in making Cheela can be added to Pudla batter because of this. Peas and larger vegetable cuts such as coarsely grated carrots may be added. The batter for Pudla is also slightly thicker than that for Cheela.
Over the time, the distinctions have disappeared. The names are used interchangeably. The distinction is arbitrary except in the states of origin.
Cheela, my style.
Take a cup’ish of chickpea flour/besan, add 2 Tblspn rice flour and 2 Tblspn plain wheat flour and 1 tspn eno or baking soda and 1/2-1 tspn salt.
Add enough water to make a batter about the thickness of a dosa batter (my Indian readers) or of pancake batter (otherwise). Heat a tawa or flat pan on the stove. Take a ladle-full and add to the pan (use a soup ladle or an Indian kitchen ladle) and either tilt the pan to spread the batter into a thin, circular, crepe-like covering, or spread the batter using the base of the ladle in a circular motion, Indian style. As it is cooking, drizzle a teaspoon of ghee over the top side.
Cook on one side for a minute or two (check as it is cooking) and then flip over and cook the other side. While the second side is cooking, spread a couple of Tblspns of tangy chutney one side of the top of the Puda and sprinkle heavily with spring onions. Fold the other side over it and serve.
Leave the filling out if so desired.