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Q3 Langley - our Besan Cheela recipe

Our cookery class all set up ready to go

The final recipe for the Year 7's at Q3 Academy this Autumn Term and it's a breakfast dish from India, a savoury gram flour pancake.

I've wanted to give the students the opportunity to explore a range of cuisines, flavours and cookery skills in the classes that they have with our cookery team, giving them a few simple recipes to practice their safe knife skills and build up confidence in the kitchen.

As always it's been a delight working with the students at Q3 Academy Langley and it's been incredibly rewarding for the team to see how with just 3 cookery classes the students skills, confidence and interest has grown.

Back to the recipe! It's a challenge thinking of something that 24 11-12 yr olds can cook in the space of 45 minutes and I hope that they agree with me that this is a fun dish to put together.

Not something that we would normally prepare for breakfast in our English kitchens, this pancake is flavoured with mustard seeds, ginger, cumin seeds and then we've decided to fill ours with a slightly spicy potato filling, fresh with coriander and lime.

Happy cooking and let us know how you get on at home!

Besan Cheela –

Serves 2-3


For the Besan Cheela

  • 1 cup gram flour (besan)

  • 1 spring onion finely chopped

  • 0.5cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped

  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds or carom (ajwain) seeds

  • a small pinch of chilli flakes

  • pinch of mustard seeds

  • ½ - 2/3 cup of water as required

  • pinch of salt

For the Potato filling

  • 1 baking potato

  • 1 sweet potato

  • ½ dried red chilli or chilli flakes

  • 0.5cm piece of ginger

  • ¾ tsp. mustard seeds

  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric

  • 2 spring onions

  • a few sprigs of fresh coriander

  • ½ lime

  • salt and pepper

  • oil for frying


For the Cheela - Mix all ingredients except for the oil and water.

Then add ½ cup of water. Using a hand whisk, combine the ingredients to make a batter. If the batter looks thick, then add 1-3tbsp more of water. Mix until smooth, making sure to break down any lumps of gram flour.

For the filling – Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

  • Scrub and prick the potatoes, then bake until soft in the oven for 1 hour, or until cooked through.

  • Once cooked and cooled slightly, cut the potatoes open, then scoop out the flesh and roughly mash.

  • Crumble the dried chilli, then peel and finely chop the ginger.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over a medium heat; add the chillies, ginger, mustard seeds, turmeric and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Fry until smelling fantastic and the mustard seeds start to pop, shaking the pan regularly.

  • Meanwhile, trim and finely slice the spring onions, and pick and roughly chop the coriander leaves.

  • Pour the spice mixture over the potatoes then gently mix together with a knife. Taste and season if needed. Squeeze in the lime juice, add the spring onions and coriander, then mix together.

  • To make the Besan Cheela, heat a medium sized frying pan over a low flame. Add a small drop of oil to the pan and let the pan come up to temperature.

  • Using a spoon, scoop the batter into the pan and gently spread over the base of the frying pan. Cook until the cheela is looking cooked and firm around the edges and top, then flip to cook the other side.

  • The Cheela should be golden brown on each side.

  • Take the Cheela out of the pan and spread with the spicy potato mix, fold in half and eat warm. Delicious served with a chutney, we like mango chutney mixed with some natural yoghurt.

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