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Oats Chilla (pronounced chee-la)

Tanya Dhingra October 16, 2018

Most of us mere mortals perform rituals only occasionally.

But some of us enjoy the sweet, savory and crispy taste of a crepe any morning they please. It is made of a simple yet dynamic (to some once a mundane and tasteless) ingredient.

It is ritualistic. It is fresh.

It is only $1.69 at Fresh Grocer plus anything and everything in your fridge. What else could you want from your morning ritual except everything and anything for one-sixty-nine. This is the first post from your global kitchen qween (columnist). Are you  ready?

I like my morning coffee (the same single-origin coffee I carefully transport with me from India every summer) in my favorite coffee mug. She is blue and white – careful chinese pottery. After I put the coffee on, I like to lather my hands up with citrus soap and wash some dishes in lukewarm water. It’s my early morning therapy (or perhaps an unnecessary ritual, considering we are about to cook breakfast).

My earliest memory of a ritual begins at home with my mother. She would boil that morning’s milk on the gas burner, pouring it into my bowl of chocos. I would take the hot, hot bowl outside and join my dad as he enjoyed a few moments looking for colourful, long-tailed birds (in a less glamorous version of this memory I would watch Spongebob).

Oats chilla is a more recent morning ritual for me. However, it still begins with my mother. She made me this breakfast for the first time this past summer, when I was home in New Delhi. Knowing how much I dislike oatmeal (the king of all robotic breakfasts) she decided to play a practical joke on me.

So, in front of me one morning I was presented with a beautiful, golden-crisped vegetable chilla. I can taste the onions, the green peppers, the green chillies, the coriander leaves, the salt, the red chilli powder, the semolina, the yogurt. But what I can’t understand is how it is all bonded together so beautifully. The secret is hidden somewhere in my mom’s dimpled and smiling face.

“It’s so simple beta! (a colloquial way of saying “honey” in Hindi)”

“It’s oats!”

Recipe:-

1 cup quick oats (blended in food processor)

1/2 cup semolina (coarse wheat flour, also known as Durum wheat)

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt or greek yogurt

1/2 – 3/4 cup water

1/2 cup assorted veggies finely chopped (onions, peppers, green chilis, carrots, green beans, jalapeños, cilantro leaves) (basically anything you can find in your refrigerator)  

1 Tsp Salt (or to taste)

1 Tsp Chilli Powder/Paprika

Method:-

  1. In a food processor blend the oats coarsely.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, semolina, water and yogurt. Let sit for 10 minutes. (I would chop the veggies while you do this step!)
  3. Add the veggies to your batter with the spices. The batter should be a pouring consistency. If it isn’t, add a bit more water. (see picture 3)
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil on a pan on medium heat (I use Ghee, which is clarified butter, but feel free to use canola or vegetable oil). Pour three tablespoons of the batter on the pan and flatten with a spoon or spatula.

NOTE: It’s always good to be easy on yourself for the first try! But here’s a tip: be gentle when spreading the batter – if you create a lot of holes, then you won’t able to flip it easily.

  1. When you start to see the edges turn a golden brown, flip the chilla on its back. Cook until golden, approximately 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and enjoy!

(I like to eat these with tamarind chutney, coriander/mint chutney or salsa verde.)