Friday, 10 February 2017

Besan Wrap Omelette Pancake Recipe

When I got the idea to create this recipe, I decided to look online and see if there was something similar. I didn't know it was actually an Indian dish called the cheela or besan pancake. Although Trinidad has a large East Indian population I have never seen this being sold here, strangely enough. It is the perfect flourless substitute for sadha roti which is like a flatbread made with white flour, eaten with sauteed vegetables in the morning.

 Besan is the Indian name for chickpea flour, which has a nutty, savory flavor that is simply delicious in my opinion - and is reminiscent of eggs if you crave eggs in the morning. I find it to be quite addictive, which is great because it's wheat and gluten free and packed with protein!
So this recipe is the perfect multipurpose recipe for substituting flour or eggs in your meal. Who doesn't love a wrap or an omelette or pancake? But they taste best when made with flour or eggs, it's true. Having an animal free diet can be challenging at times, but it doesn't have to be, you just need to be creative and understand how ingredients work together to make the right textures and flavors.

What makes this recipe the ultimate is that it doesn't require kneading. The wraps are made like a pancake batter and don't take long to prepare. I am providing two versions of the recipe below. And as a bonus, a simple guide to make sauteed vegetables for filling. These wraps also taste great with just a raw salad and a creamy dressing - they look more like tacos.

Simple and Quick Besan Wraps

1 cup besan/chickpea flour
1 cup slightly warm water
2 tsp flax meal
1 tsp chia seeds is optional
Dashes of cumin, turmeric and sea/pink salt.

coconut oil and nonstick frying pan
large bowl


Mix or whisk everything together well and allow to stand 3 minutes. Or while the frying pan heats up.

The longer it stands the more egg-like the batter will become – it will have a gooey texture like an omelette.

On a low flame heat a non-stick frying pan with a little coconut oil and using a 1/3 cup measure for the batter. Scoop the batter into the middle of the frying pan.

Use a spoon and starting from the center make a circular motion to evenly spread the batter in the pan. you will want to make the pancake flat and not too thick.

Allow to cook for a couple minutes until the top layer gets firm, then flip. Gently pry away all the edges first then flip.

Cook the next side for another couple of minutes then remove from pan.Put a little oil in the pan each time you make a new one but not too much that it will soak into the pancake.

Makes 4 wraps which I personally can eat in one serving.

Seasoned Besan Omelette or Wraps

Note this is the older recipe so the instructions are a little different.

2 cups of chickpea flour/besan
1 tbs ground flax meal
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of ground seasonings: turmeric, cumin, garlic and ginger
½ onion
1 clove garlic if not using ground garlic
1 bunch parley
1 pimento
1 scotch bonnect or chilli pepper (optional)

Coconut oil
1 flat non stick fry pan or hot plate for pancakes
Food processor/blender
Large bowl
1 spoon
1 spatula


In a food processor, place onion, garlic, parsley and peppers and blend til fine. Set aside.

In a big bowl add the besan, salt, flax meal and ground seasonings.

Add 1 cup water and mix with large wooden spoon, then for the second cup add gradually until the mixture becomes a wet batter that is very much like a regular pancake batter. You want it to be wet and creamy but not runny. You may not use the full second cup of water but most of it, or all.

Then add the processed fresh seasonings and mix well.

Heat the fry pan to a low  heat. Do not add oil!

You will use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop out the batter onto the fry pan as you would /regular pancakes, but you will use the small wooden spoon or a tablespoon sized metal spoon and quickly smooth out the batter into a large circle. 

Start with the middle making circular movements, to get the batter to spread into a big circle and quickly smooth out the outer edges which will be thick. Keep the circular motion and flatten the edges and smooth the entire circle to one thickness. Basically you must get it as flat and as even as possible, working in a circular motion. Don’t make the ends too thin or the pancake will be crusty and harder to roll. It should look like a regular pancake.

Allow it to cook two minutes until your spatula can be inserted underneath. The pancake should be golden brown but not dark on the bottom. Using a small teaspoon sprinkle some coconut oil on top and then flip. Allow the second side to cook for another minute or so, until it too has a few brown spots. Then remove and put on a plate.

Repeat til all the batter is gone. Should make 8 pancakes/wraps.

The hardest part in making cheelas is to get the spreading done right, but once you keep to a circular motion, it will be fine. I find it helps to remove the frying pan from the fire when adding the other wraps because it makes spreading easier. The batter starts to cook immediately and the flame really has to be low bordering on medium.

The finished wrap will be soft like an omelette and easy to roll. Keep covered on a plate when not in use, or in a storage container.

These wraps can be rolled with raw or sautéed vegetables and even fried lentils! Just ensure that your toppings are not watery.

Sauteed Veggie Fillings

Tomato or Okra or Christophene/Cho-Cho Side Dish

‘Choker’ is what Trinidadians call a spicy vegetable or fruit dish. Tomato choker is simply tomatoes sautéed with fresh seasonings and ground spices. You can mix the tomatoes with okra as well.

6 or more tomatoes
1 bunch parsley
3 cloves garlic
½ a large onion or 1 small onion
4 stalks chive
1 shadon beni leaf (optional)
1 hot pepper or ground black pepper
1 green pimento pepper
(3 okra optional)
Salt to taste
Dried basil and kelp/dulse seasoning (optional)
Coconut oil
Fry pan
Wooden sppon


You can roast the tomatoes first, if you wish.

Otherwise, remove the seeds and dice the tomatoes

You can place the parsley, garlic, onion, chive, pepper etc. into a processor or chop everything finely by hand. I do it by hand.

Heat a little coconut oil in the frying pan. Most people will sautee the seasonings first before adding the tomatoes (and okra) but I put everything together at once so that the flavor and health benefits of the onions etc isn’t lost.

Sautee with wooden spoon for no more than three minutes. You don’t want to overcook the tomatoes.

Follow this same recipe for any other vegetable:

if Okra - use 10 okras and slice into circles.

if Cho-Cho - peel, slice in half, remove seed and then grate the vegetable.

if greens -  1 head pakchoi or bok choy or chard or half a cabbage


I really hope you give it a try, it's simple and delicious! The perfect weekend brunch meal!

Sis Ila Addis

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