Besan Cheela (Vegan Gluten-free Omelette)


Being a vegetarian never came to me as a forethought. That's the way I was brought up at home, in a way my identity too which I was secretly proud of. Never did the urge to try out meat strike at me. And though it's not about being rigid or religiously steadfast, I am content just being vegetarian. Though I do believe for the ones who have been living on meat throughout life, treading the path of being a vegetarian or vegan is not an easy venture at all. It's enduring, challenging, gutsy and calls for exuberant will power to quit all that you've loved eating throughout. My salutes!

If I see from the view of a convert, it can be hard to be a vegetarian or vegan eater. If you’re out to eat, the restaurant might not have options that fit your diet, especially if a vegan. If you mostly cook at home, it can be hard to find recipes that fit into your vegetarian or vegan meal plan. Don’t get me wrong, there may be plenty of recipes that will work, but what about the times when you find an awesome recipe that contains ingredients, like gelatin or eggs you would rather not use? That’s when it’s time for substitutions, the smart way.

One of my readers, Carolyn recently shared her thoughts on being vegan and cooking vegan food. She says substitutions can be easy, but some not really. When it comes to spices and flavor enhancers the idea is simple: Find something that tastes similar. For example, if your recipe calls for lemon or lime juice, they can usually be interchanged without any issues. If you need cinnamon but don’t have any, you could use nutmeg or allspice instead. These types of substitutions are fairly easy, but what about when it comes to more substantial ingredients in the dish? Tofu is a decent substitute for some kinds of meat, but you might be better off just leaving it out altogether. For dairy, there are many soy alternatives available that are almost exactly the same as the original.

When it comes to baking and sweets, it can get tricky. Also comes the egg conundrum! One of the biggest substitution issues, especially in baking, comes with eggs. It can be challenging to get the right substitutions, so always start by figuring out what role the eggs play in the dish. In pancakes, for example, eggs don’t play much of a role in structure or taste. If you understand what substitution works where, you’ll be surprised at how many more dishes you’ll be able to add to your cooking repertoire.

Personally for me, though I consume eggs in camouflaged form in desserts, I have never liked anything beyond that. Infact, in the past year and half, since my pregnancy and delivery, I never bought eggs home. I can't stand the smell of eggs fried on an open pan and the air wafting from omelette stalls even in far distance make me pukish.

On similar lines of what is stated above, I often make this Besan Cheela, a pancake made with spiced gram flour (also called as chickpea flour, garbanzo flour or besan) batter for our breakfast. Besan Cheela, a popular North Indian street food snack is sure to satisfy your rumbling appetite.

Besan Cheela / Vegan Gluten-free Omelette


2 cups besan (also called as gram flour, chickpea flour, garbanzo flour)
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tsp chopped green chillies
1/2 cup chopped coriander (dhania)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 cup water
Oil for cooking


Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and gradually add a cup of water to get smooth, dropping consistency batter, similar to the one we get when an egg is whipped.

Heat a non-stick pan/tava on a medium flame. Grease it well with a teaspoon of oil. Pour a ladle full of batter and spread the batter evenly in the pan.

Cover it with the lid and allow to cook for 4 to 5 minutes on a medium flame or till it browns in colour and the edges crisp. Open the lid, drizzle some oil and turn it upside down and cook the other side till it turns to brown in colour and crispy. Repeat the same process with the remaining batter. Serve hot with tomato sauce.

Served hot with either green chutney or tomato ketchup, this Besan Cheela is a lip smacking dish that easily makes up for an excellent eggless, vegan and gluten-free omlette with similar textures and flavors to that of it's egg-y counterparts, ofcourse devoid of that awful smell or taste from eggs. Gram flour has relatively high proportions of protein in comparison to other flours, so you'll not miss out on that. Though this is quite satisfying for our breakfast, this is a fantastic tea-time snack too. Simple and easy to make, it can be put together in less than 5 mins and is a good rescue for bachelor cooking or to serve at-the-drop-of-hat guests.


  1. The Besan Cheela looks so yum! I am drooling over this!

  2. WOW...looks colourful and delicious! How you been dear? ;)

  3. Yummy n colorful dosa :P Lovely presentation too!!

  4. Besan cheela looks colourful and absolutely droolworthy..

  5. I too like this n make it quite often...i like 2 stuff it in bread n eat..

  6. i make this thing in maida..this sounds very delicious..will try this out

  7. These taste suspiciously like pakoras, without all the fat and guilt. I make these often for my hungry kids when they come back from school.

    Right, being born vegetarian is easy, giving up meat must be tough, even tougher to be vegan...

  8. This sounds interesting....yummy

  9. Mallika,
    Following your blog..Therez something special at your elegant,I must say..
    Plz visit my space as time permits.Thanxs in advance!

  10. Thank you so much for all your warm comments.

    Deeps I am so glad you loved my space. Hope to see you more here. Will be glad to visit your's too.

    LOVE2COOK MALAYSIA♥, I am doing good. Thankfully been able to keep up with blogging despite the tight schedule!

  11. I love Besan Chillas.. Pictures looks great!

  12. looks delicious.. good substitute for eggs ...

  13. The besan chillas have come out really well. Pictures are great.

  14. I love this idea...and the photos have such a warm feeling...

    Gluten free food makes my Dad happy (he's GF), so we're always finding great recipes for him! Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. the chilla came out perfect.! its always a go to breakfast for us too.. i dont have a problem substituting eggs in baking.. cakes, cookies or anything are far simpler without eggs. :)

  16. I liked your blog very much. Innovative recipe. Looks yummy and tempting. Wonderful presentation.

  17. I don't really think about it to be honest. When I ate meat I never ate much anyway so it was relatively easy. I'm not going to say I didn't crave cheeseburgers but I'm here and 6 years in. Woo hoo!

  18. Yummmmmm... haven't made this in a long time. looks wonderful and fulfilling!

  19. love the colour of the any time fav ...looking very nice...good click..

  20. Made these for dinner - so good, even with a couple missing ingredients!

    Thank you. :) Inspiring option for an enthusiastic cook/eater of many foods who is realizing she can't have gluten or dairy.

  21. Have been dying to eat lip smacking gluten free snacks! Thank you so much for sharing this! :)