Moong Dal Chilla is a delicious protein-packed Indian breakfast made with yellow moong dal along with simple spices and herbs, including chilies and onions. These savory lentil pancakes are nutritious, vegan and gluten-free.
I recently shared my besan chilla recipe which you all loved, so I am shared another vegan and gluten-free high-protein chilla recipe with you all.
This moong dal chilla is a great alternative for a quick breakfast if you don't eat eggs. It is a savory lentil pancake, you can enjoy with chutney or pickle, along with a cup of chai.
These are also great to use in place of traditional naan and roti's with curries. And kids love them too. So they are great for an easy lunch box meal too.
If you love moong dal, try my khichdi, quinoa khichdi and moong dal fry recipes.
What is Chilla?
Chilla or cheela also known as puda or pudla is an Indian savory pancake prepared from lentils or gram flour.
The gram flour version of chilla is called besan chilla. Moong dal chilla is made with split yellow moong dal. You can also make this chilla with green mung beans or with masoor dal.
It is also known as an ''eggless omelette'' - as it resembles the Masala omelette.
Why you'll love this moong chilla
- It's an excellent healthy breakfast or lunch
- It makes a high-protein wholesome meal
- It is vegan and gluten-free
- It is super easy to make and requires little planning
- It is kid friendly
Want more Vegan Recipes? Check out this collection of 65+ Vegan Indian Recipes.
- Yellow Moong Dal: These split yellow lentils are the star ingredient in this recipe. This dal is easy to digest and a great ingredient to add to your diet.
- Green chilies: Finely chopped green chilies add a kick to chilla. Adjust the level based on your tolerance.
- Ginger: freshly grated ginger adds aroma to the chilla. It also aids with digestion.
- Onion: Finely chopped red onions add a lot of flavor to the cheela
- Cilantro: Freshly chopped cilantro adds a ton of fresh, earthy flavor
- Spices: Turmeric powder and Kashmiri red chili powder are the only spices you need.
- Salt: Use salt according to taste.
- Water: it is needed to make the batter.
- Oil: Use any vegetable oil of your choice. You can also use ghee if you are not vegan.
How to make Moong Dal Chilla
- You have to try this once to know how simple it is to make.
- In a bowl, rinse the moong dal and soak in water for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Drain the water. Transfer dal to a blender and grind it along with water to make a smooth flow batter.
- Transfer the batter to a bowl. Add green chili, ginger, onion, cilantro, salt, turmeric, and red chili powder. Mix well, and add 1-2 tablespoons more water if needed. Ensure the batter is not too thick or too runny; it should have a pouring consistency.
- On a heated Tawa/ skillet, add a ladle full of the batter in the center and using the ladle, spread the batter in a circular clockwise direction.
- Allow the batter to set on medium heat till a pancake is formed.
- Drizzle some oil over the top of the pancake and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown or separate from the pan.
- Cook the pancake for another 1-2 minutes on the other side. To flip, use a thin spatula. When the chilla is cooked on both sides, remove to a plate.
- Enjoy with chutney and pickle!
- The batter must be of the right consistency - not too thick nor too watery. It must be flowing to get crispy chillas.
- It is super important to note that the tawa/ pan must not be too hot otherwise, the batter doesn't spread well and sticks to the pan.
- If the tawa is extremely hot, turn down the flame, cool it by sprinkling some water, wipe it clean with a paper towel, and then spread the batter. Sometimes, I just wipe it with a wet paper towel. After spreading the batter, increase the heat to medium again.
- Don't want oil - just make it on a non-stick pan. A little oil enhances the flavor and makes the chilla crispier.
- Adding Rice flour: You can also add some rice flour when making the batter. This can help to make the chilla's crispier.
- Other Lentils: You can also use split masoor dal (red lentils) or green mung beans (green gram) to make chilla.
- Vegetable Chilla: You can add grated carrot, beetroot, finely chopped green bell pepper, and cabbage to the batter - depending on what you like or have in the fridge.
- Spinach Chilla: Add lots of finely chopped spinach or spinach puree. If adding puree, adjust the water accordingly.
- Paneer Chilla: Many people like to make stuffed chilla. Add a stuffing of paneer bhurji to the chilla.
- Cheesy Chilla: Add grated cheese to the chilla after it is cooked. Fold the chilla in half. The kids love this version.
Moong Dal Cheela is usually served for breakfast or snacks. But they are also great for a gluten-free lunch or dinner with curries.
Chilla tastes best when served hot/ warm with mint cilantro chutney or tomato ketchup.
Enjoy it as a replacement for roti, paratha for dinner. Or make a wrap with paneer or chicken, similar to my paneer frankie.
How to store?
It is best to enjoy freshly made chilla. You can store them in an airtight container for 1-2 days, but they won't be as crispy and delicious.
However the batter is perfect to make ahead and store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
Is Moong Dal Chilla Healthy?
Moong Dal has an excellent nutritional profile. To make this healthier and lighter on the stomach, you can experiment with different vegetables and adapt the chilla to your likes.
More savory breakfast recipes
Moong Dal Chilla (Savory Lentil Pancakes)
- 1 cup Split Yellow Lentils (Moong Dal)
- 3 cups Water for soaking
- 2 Green Chili Pepper finely diced
- 1 teaspoon Ginger grated
- ⅓ cup Red onion finely chopped
- 3 tablespoon Cilantro leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon Salt adjust to taste
- 1,4 teaspoon Ground Turmeric (Haldi powder)
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder adjust to taste
- ⅔ cup Water or as needed
- 4 teaspoon Oil to cook the chilla
- Add moong dal to a medium bowl. Rinse the moong dal. Add 3 cups water and soak for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Drain the water. Transfer dal to a blender. Add about ⅔ cup water. Blend to make a smooth batter.
- Transfer the batter to a bowl. Add green chili, ginger, onion, cilantro, salt, turmeric and red chili powder. Mix well, and add 1-2 tablespoons more water if needed. Make sure the batter is not too thick or too runny, it should have a pouring consistency.
- Heat an iron skillet or non-stick pan on medium heat. Add some oil, and wipe it clean with a paper towel.
- Once the skillet is hot, turn the heat to low, take a ladle full of the batter, and pour it at the center of the pan. Using the same ladle, spread the batter on the tawa in a circular motion to make a round chilla. Now turn the heat to medium-high.
- Drizzle some oil at the edges of the chilla and at the center on the top. Total of about ¾ to 1 teaspoon.
- Cook the chilla on one side for a couple of minutes, then flip it using a spatula. You should see some golden spots on the top of the chilla after it was flipped.
- Now press with the spatula and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes.
- When the chilla is well cooked on both sides, remove to a plate. Same way make all the chilla's. Wipe the pan with a paper towel between each chilla.
- Serve moong dal chilla right way with chutney or tomato ketchup, and a cup of chai!
- The batter must be lump-free, smooth and flowy
- You can add other grated vegetables of your choice to the batter. eg. grated carrots
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
Moira Fox says
We had these for breakfast this morning and we both enjoyed them. They were much easier to cook than I had expected. We will definitely put these on the breakfast menu! I’m going to look at more like this as I have to eat gluten free so things like this are perfect.
Absolutely delish!! I added kimchi, YUM!
Meeta Arora says
Hi Reeze - Happy to hear you enjoyed the chilla.
Followed this recipe yesterday to treat my wife and kids with delicious moong dal chilla. Chilla came out nice and crispy ! Everyone loved it and I scored brownie points 🙂
Piping Pot Curry says
Hi - So good to hear that 🙂