I was so pleased with how my yellow Carrot Besan Dosas came out that I decided to experiment further. To continue the series of colourful, flavourful, gluten-free wraps I made these gorgeous beet cheelas (cheela is the instant, no-ferment version of dosa; while dosa is made from rice and lentils, and requires hours of soaking and fermenting, cheela is made from chickpea flour and is cooked straight away) and a batch of green Spinach Cheelas.
I used raw beet in this recipe - less cooking, more nutrient retention. Plus it saves a lot of time. The cheelas need no more than 1.5 - 2 minutes to be done and the key to preventing them from browning is to use medium-low heat. The colour of the cheelas is breathtaking: as soon as they're cooked they are dark pink, and as they sit their colour changes to blood red.
On a side note, the unexpected thing about them was the sweet aroma which reminded me of the best beet juice I made a while ago (the ABC 123 juice, one of the 7 Vegetable Juice Recipes by Pamela, author of My Man's Belly - I've already made 5 out of 7 and totally loved this beet juice and the spicy sweet potato one).
These beet wraps are great for snacks and packed lunches, particularly for kids who love their colour. They're a delicious, easy way to incorporate more healthy foods into a meal - chickpea flour is an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron and folate; beet has fiber, iron and folate; ginger and lemon improve digestion; garlic is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and promotes cardiovascular health.
I like them spread with hummus (and watercress or rocket when I have some) and rolled up, but you can add whatever you prefer. Just keep in mind that they are moist and delicate, so they can break if overstuffed. Cheelas are also great with curries.
Beet Cheela (Instant Beet Dosa, Beet Wraps)
- 1 cup besan (chickpea flour, gram flour), sifted
- 1/4 cup rice flour (the powder type, not the slightly grainy one) - or replace with more besan
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional, but I love the added flavour)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 Tb grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup finely grated raw beet (1 medium beet, peeled)
- 1/4 cup oil for cooking (I use sunflower oil)
Note: 1 cup = 250 ml. I use a 16.5 cm/6.5'' pan. If you use a larger pan and wish to make large cheelas, simply increase the amount of batter for each.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the water and mix to form a smooth paste. Add everything else (except oil) and mix well with a spoon.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Add a few drops of oil and spread it around. Drop almost 1/4 cup batter in the centre of the pan and use the back of a spoon to quickly spread it, starting from the centre and going in circles outwards (it doesn't necessarily have to be a circular motion, as long as you quickly spread the batter to form a full, evenly thick circle). Smooth the surface.
As soon as the top changes colour (no more wet batter), drizzle 1/2 tsp oil and spread it all over the surface with the back of your teaspoon. Loosen the edges with a spatula and lift one side a little bit to check whether it is browning; if so, then lower the heat. Flip the cheela over. I found that the best way to do this is to carefully lift one side with one hand and quickly slide the spatula underneath with the other, then turn it upside-down. That's because you're cooking the cheela on medium-low heat so it stays moist and so it's not easy to slide the spatula under it without a little help, or else it can break.
Cook on the other side for about 30 seconds, until light brown spots appear. From time to time, press the cheela gently with the spatula, and move the pan around without lifting it off the heat, so that the whole surface gets cooked well.
As soon as the cheela is done, transfer it to a plate and immediately cover it with another plate turned face-down or a matching lid. This keeps it moist and pliable. Stack the cheelas as you make them, keeping them covered all the time. You can serve right away or cover the plate with cling film and save for later use (I just place another plate on top). I had some the following day and they were just as delicious and pliable.
If your stuffing of choice has a rather neutral taste, simply increase the amount of ginger and lemon for added flavour. You can add finely chopped red chilis for some heat, and play around with the spices. I kept these at a minimum because I wanted the sweetness of beet and the taste of ginger to come through.
Enjoy and spread the magic!:)
If you've tried these wraps I would greatly appreciate your feedback. Thank you!