Pudla, or besan chilla, is a savory pancake made from besan (chickpea flour). They are a type of Gujarati comfort food. My mom used to make them often as a quick lunch or snack, especially if she was rushing to put something together for us.
Why This Recipe
This is my tried and true recipe for pudla, and it’s as authentically Gujarati as they come. It’s a recipe my mom taught me that I have made countless times myself over the years.
It’s also highly adaptable. It’s easy to make with ingredients that you have on hand, or for a “clean out the fridge” night, when you want to use up your vegetables. It’s gluten-free, vegan, and packed with protein and vegetables. Pudla are an easy, nutritious meal.
Pudla are accurately described as “pancakes, ” or “chickpea crepes,” but I often think of them as “vegan omelettes.” I hadn’t made the connection until one day a long time ago when a coworker started asking me about Indian vegan omelettes. I had no idea what she was talking about until it finally hit me. Pudla!
Pudla are just like omelettes because they fluff up like eggs, and you can pack them with similar ingredients. You can throw just about any vegetable or spice into them that you feel like. In fact, some products are being sold today as “vegan eggs” that are made from chickpeas and similar lentils.
You can snack on pudla plain, but they have a bit of a mouth-drying quality and taste best with some kind of dipping sauce. I like to have them with cilantro-mint chutney. Some people prefer to dip them in yogurt. When we were kids, my brother always enjoyed them with ketchup. Pudla and ketchup is definitely a kid-friendly combination.
Pudla are eaten much like a flatbread. In addition to chutneys or yogurt, they are also good with pickle. Try them with Gujarati green chili pickle, you won’t be disappointed.
Today, I usually make pudla as a simple dinner when I am in a hurry to get something on the table. But growing up we treated it more as a snack food and often served it with cha.
Pudla | Vegan Omelette
- 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
- ¼ cup rice flour optional but it helps crisp up the pancakes
- ½ cup spinach can substitute carrots, peas, boiled potatoes, beets, opo squash, or zucchini
- ½ serrano chili
- 1 tsp whole cumin powdered cumin will work too
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp chili powder
- salt to taste
- 1 cup water may need a little more or less
- ½ Tbsp oil
- Mix all the ingredients and add water until you get a batter like consistency.
- Heat a non-stick skillet on medium high with a little oil.
- Add the batter when the pan is nice and hot and spread as thin as you can with the back of a spoon or ladle. Work fast before it sets.
- Let it cook on one side for about 2 minutes and flip.
- Let cook for an additional minute and serve.
Pudla are a dish meant to be altered. Here are some suggestions:
- If you don’t have whole cumin seeds, leave them out
- Chili and turmeric are optional
- Add garam masala
- I’ve added dried thyme ,which is good in this
- Add carom seeds (ajmo)
- Grated Zucchini
- Grated carrot
- Shredded cabbage
- Sliced onion
- Mashed or chopped cauliflower, leftover cauliflower rice
- Greens: kale, chard, spinach
- Tomatoes are good, but watch out for the increase in water. You may have to add some extra besan (or leave out some water)
(Originally published June 11, 2012 with major updates January 12, 2023)