Dal chilla recipe
Dal chilla recipe

Five days of grilled chicken and fish and salads, and I was craving some spicy Indian food yesterday. But was faced with the same high-protein, low-carb Indian meal conundrum. After some internal brainstorming, I decided to experiment with a dal chilla recipe. For those unfamiliar with what this is, a dal chilla is a spiced lentil pancake. I loved how they turned out; here's my recipe. Give it a whirl and tell me what you think.

I served these with a cucumber and tomato raita, but plain yogurt and pickle is great too.

Yields 10

Prep Time - 1 hr 15 min

Cook Time - 1 hr

Total Time - 2 hr


  1. Moong dal - 1 cup
  2. Urad dal - 1 cup
  3. Masoor dal - half a cup
  4. Green chillies - 2
  5. Onion - 1 medium or half a large
  6. Ginger - 1 inch
  7. Garlic - 2 large cloves
  8. Coriander - a large handful or small bunch
  9. Cumin powder - 1 level tsp
  10. Salt
  11. Vegetable oil


  1. Wash and soak the dals in 2 cups of water for at least an hour
  2. Then grind to a paste in a blender. You should achieve a thickish consistency that falls easily off the spoon
  3. Peel and finely chop the onion
  4. Peel and finely chop the garlic
  5. Peel and grate the ginger
  6. Finely chop the green chillies
  7. Chop the coriander
  8. Add the chopped ingredients to the dal paste, and mix through
  9. Sprinkle cumin powder and salt and mix through
  10. Allow to stand for 10 - 15 minutes, so the dal paste absorbs the flavours of the spices
  11. Heat a large flat-bottomed non-stick pan on medium
  12. When hot, drizzle half a teaspoon of oil in the centre and gently spread
  13. In 15 seconds, mix the chilla batter with a ladle and then drop a ladle full onto the centre of the pan. It should sizzle
  14. Immediately, using the back of the ladle, working your way from the centre to the edges, move your ladle in circles very lightly, spreading the batter, as you move outward into bigger circles. If the chilla appears to be breaking, fill the gaps with a little more batter
  15. You should achieve about a 2 mm thickness
  16. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil evenly on the batter, and swirl the pan, to spread the oil
  17. Allow to cook for 4 minutes or so, until the dal chilla lifts off the pan easily with a spatula and is brown on the underside
  18. Flip over and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side
  19. Flip over, cook for about 15 seconds, fold in half
  20. Do the same for the remaining batter
  21. Serve the dal chillas hot, with pickle and yogurt. I made a raita with chopped cucumber and tomato and a South Indian tempering to accompany the chillas. Cucumber raita recipe to follow.


  1. Spreading the batter on the pan with a ladle takes a bit of practice, so don't worry if you don't get it right the first time!