A cheela is a savory crepe to make you acquainted with this term.
A couple of weeks back I was at a wedding party (In Lucknow) and mung ka cheela was being served as a part of a huge range of appetizers. I told an Oriya friend of mine to take her kids to that counter as kids like it very much. They were tasting mung ka cheela for the first time and this friend was intrigued enough to ask me how did I know that her kids would love it more than the other fancier and exotic looking things around. I chuckled in my mind.
The reason why I knew it was, Mithi loved it too. I remembered the time when other kids used to play with Mithi and this mung ka cheela used to be a hot favorite with all of them whenever they were together in my home. Probably it is the mildly favored slightly chewy nature of this cheela that kids find great to munch on, not that we adults find it like baby food.
It is a great breakfast dish but more popular as an appetizer in wedding parties I guess. The rolled up cheela sliced in 2 - 3 small portions seems to be very popular as I have witnessed. I am talking about the wedding parties in UP .
When I saw these small kids enjoying this cheela I realy felt good and when we came back home I soaked mung daal and made cheelas with freshly made paneer. Nostalgic I was but in a good way. Now that her proud momma has learned to remember her good healthy days with a smile the nostalgia is good.
skimmed milk 500 ml
2-3 tsp of white synthetic vinegar or lemon juice to curdle the milk
soaked mung daal withou skin 2 cups
turmeric powder (optional) 1 tsp
chopped onions 3/4 cup
chopped green chillies as per taste
salt to taste
black pepper powder 1 tsp for the stuffing
ghee to make the cheelas 1 tsp per cheela
Heat the milk in a saucepan and grind the soaked mung daal while the milk comes to boiling temperature.
Mung daal paste is quick to make as the daal is quite soft. Add salt to taste and turmeric if using, adjust consistency to make thin pancakes or crepes.
Add the vinegar or lemon juice as soon as the milk reaches boiling temperature. Slowly adding the curdling agent helps in getting softer paneer or chhenna as it is called in some parts of UP. Strain the curdled milk as soon as you see the clear whey separating from the curdled milk.The solid part is panner also called cottage cheese. The whey can be used to knead chapati dough .
Add chopped onions, green chillies, salt and pepper to the paneer and mash to make a soft crumbly mixture .
Make thin crepes on hot griddle using very little ghee, it is usually cooked on one side as mung daal cooks quickly. Other side can be cooked if you feel like.
Spread the mixture over the crepe then fold the sides overlapping each other, pressing to flatten the rolled up cheela so the paneer stuffing sticks well to the moist inner layer of cheela.
Serve hot with any chutney of your choice, it can be served with a raita of your choice if you are having it for a meal.
A green coriander chutney goes well with it when it is served as a snack. The cheela can be roasted deep brown or light brown.
Mithi used to like this cheela any time of the day and it was a great distraction for her too. I could keep her occupied by giving her this cheela broken into small bits ( sometimes little paneer with just salt as a stuffing and sometimes plain cheela) as she used to pick up every bit with care using her thumb and index finger, popping the bits in her mouth immaculately, neatly. Those are happy memories ...
Make this cheela if you haven't had it already and let me know if it becomes your favorite....I made another version with tofu and i am sure you would like that too...
Note : some readers have indicated that this mung ka cheela could be similar to Andhra pesarettu. I have posted pesarttu earlier. The only similarity between this cheela (crepe) and pesarettu is the ingredient mung daal but the similarity ends there. This is an interesting example of how an ingredient behaves differently in it's different forms. In pesarettu the mung daal used is with skin and the texture and taste of the dosa is very different. Here the husked mung results into a mild flavor and an almost glutinous texture. I have indicated that the roll sticks by itself and stays in shape, that is because if the slightly sticky nature of the mung crepe here. The flavor of the yellow mung is so delicate that another version of mung ka cheela , which includes some seasoning in the batter, tastes very different from this one.