03 April, 2008

My Old Coffee Mug and Moong Dal Chilla/Cheela

Moong Dal Chilla

It was time… It was time for me to say good bye…. It was my last day in my hostel… It was the time for the final cleanup of my room and I knew I will be fined by warden if I don’t do it right. Actually, I had more important things in my mind… Everything seemed secondary… The thought of never being able to participate in any of birthday bashes and midnight parties, never having to pay fines for attendance shortage, never having to say ‘sorry’ to the professors for bunking their classes and labs, never feeling upset for not getting good grades, never having to wait for monthly money transfers, never having to do our laundry, never having to drink water-y coffee, never having to eat bullet-proof chapattis kept lurking in between… Life would go on even if Dhaba and Tapri (corner coffee shop) lost one of its loyal customers, I thought as I picked my things to pack. Then my eyes fell on my old coffee mug without a handle!!!

There was it, sitting in one corner… My old coffee cup without a handle! It all began on the day three of us joined the hostel on same day were given same room… The thought of sharing my room with other two never appealed to me and with total strangers didn’t help either. I thought they were nut cases as one would go to bed at 9 in the night and another at 3 in the morning making my 12 to 7 time almost difficult to sleep peacefully. When one finished singing in her dream other would start talking making it one hell of Jugalbandi that I never liked to listen to. I never liked the idea of sharing my things in the beginning but slowly started getting used to it. With time, gradually I began to look beyond my roommates minor flaws and started enjoying their company. Never realised how the time flew and we were no more freshers. I remember one of my roommates returning my coffee mug sans its handle the day she came to say goodbye. Never realised how it went to her and her dupatta was with me.

As I continued to rummage my belongings, I realised the huge amount of unwanted stuffs I had been hoarding during the period of my hostel life. There were definitely many that I wanted to keep with me for the memories attached to them. And the one I was sure to take it with me was that old coffee mug without its handle. The one which was used to drink gallons of coffee over gossips and during exams night out, the same mug used to cook Maggi in hot water, the one which would tag along with me whenever I would raid into my friends room to get my share of home goodies they bought from home!!! That broken coffee mug is a link to my hostel day memories…

It was with my roommates and hostel mates I shared some of wonderful and memorable part of my life. It was because of their cheerful nature which transferred every gloomy, dark hostel days into joyous rainbow. It was because of my friends I was given a chance to taste and appreciate multi-cuisines of diverse Indian states. There was never a dull moment in my hostel life. Every week we would raid into our friend’s rooms as soon as they are back from their visit to home. If it was Khakra and Patra one week, then it would be delicious Gongura pickle other week. If it was Chakkuli and Sev one week, then it would be Rosgulla and Cham Cham next week. The fun part would be when we would visit our close relatives residing in a same place. Our aunts and uncles would make sure that we were fed well during our visits to their home and also sent back lots of goodies to share with our roommates and friends.

One dish I remember sharing with my friends was Chilla/Cheela, a flavoured pancake made using Besan/Gram Flour or lentils like Moong/Mung Dal (Split Green Lentils). Its taste still lingers in my memory and I had sudden cravings for it other day. I came across Ashwini’s recipe of Moong Dal Chilla and I could no longer wait to give it a shot. Thank you Ashwini, this recipe will be regular in our menu from now onwards. With few modifications in the ingredients used (how typical of me ;) here is my version of Moong Dal Chilla/Cheela. Without much delay I am sending this gujarati version of Dosa to my dear friend Srivalli’s Dosa Mela before she books next flight to UK to kick me for not yet sending her my entry ;) Valli, hope you give it a try and your kids and everyone enjoys it as much as we did. And as for that old coffee mug, it came with me when I left my hostel... Somethings are priceless because of the memories they bring back...

Moong Dal Chilla (Flavoured Split Moong Pancakes)
Prep Time: 10 mins (Excluding soaking time)
Cooking Time: 3-4 mins per Chilla
Makes: 8 small Chillas

1 cup Moong Dal (Split Green Gram)
½ cup Sweet Corn, cooked in hot water for 3 mins or canned
2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped (Adjust acc to taste)
2-3 Spring Onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
¼ inch Ginger, finely chopped
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
Moong Dal Chilla Batter

For the Batter:
Wash the moong dal thoroughly and soak them over night or for at least 3-4 hours in about 3 cups of water.
Drain the water and reserve it. To this add ginger, garlic, green chillies, hing and salt to taste and grind using reserved water to smooth paste. The batter should be that of pancake consistency.
Pour this batter into a bowl and mix finely chopped spring onion, sweet corn and coriander leaves and mix well.

To make Chilla:
Heat dosa pan/griddle and pour ladleful of batter in the centre. With the help of back of a ladle spread the batter in circle to make thick pancakes (about 4-5 inch in diameter). Make sure that chilla is not too thick or thin.
Drizzle little oil along the edge of the pancake. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Flip it and cook it on the other side till it gets brown patches on surface on a medium heat. Once it’s nicely browned on both the sides serve it hot with any Chutneys of your choice and enjoy.

Moong Dal Chilla with Dry Garlic-Coconut Chutney

Use green peas as Ashwini had used in her recipe in place of sweet corn.
Mix in different vegetables like carrot, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach or other greens of your choice to make it more nutritious.
Other Dosa Recipes posted in Monsoon Spice are


  1. Hi Sia...this is mouthwatering. I always wonder how you have the heart to make such a beautiful stack & then take snaps. I would be chomping away after I click just the first one.The recipe & the tale of the broken mug are lovely...

  2. That is really a very tempting chilla :) . I would love to try your version sometime.

    Something are priceless because the memories they bring back -- so true... I have a lits of such items which is garbage for others but for me its really priceless. Your experience of hostel life really reminded me of mine.
    And you know the funny thing is I still have some of my room mates things with me , just coz they wanted me to keep it with me , for their memories, also some of mine is with them still... life seems always dull compared to those college days spent as a loyal customer to dhabas and tapris he he he ...
    Hugs to you , you post always seems short to me , no matter how much you write.

  3. Have never heard of this before, but it sounds awesome! I love the variations you can have, too. Thanks for sharing, Sia! :)

  4. Dhoka...dhoka in your last post. It's still 1st April here :D

  5. Sia, I am so glad you liked the chilla. Ever since the kind neighbour aunty gave the recipe to us, it has become a family favorite.

  6. dang!! i want to see that coffee mug.

  7. Unique blog - btw I have a request - please don't make it an "invited readers only" blog in the near / or far future.
    Its a real inspiration to amateur cooks like me ...that's why, just thought I'd let you know :)
    I know that many many people might have said this before, but the reason I said 'unique' blog was because most of the recipes are unique - never seen or heard of watermelon rind dosa before in my life, and it looks yummy. Thanks for tackling unusual recipes.

    I have a request (and this might be because its my first visit to your site and I haven't explored it completely yet) - it would be great if you could do a compilation of sorts for quick cooking - was talking about something from an Indian student abroad's point of view - cooking is a pain, so I tend to cook once a week - I'd really be grateful if you could suggest something where it would be feasible to cook inventive stuff like every other day in under 15 to 30 minutes - all grad students will really thank you (coz I'll circulate it once its up :) )

    Keep blogging, cheers!


  8. that looks so pretty! bookmarked :)

  9. *sigh*. Don't do this to me. Almost one in the morning and I'm dying to eat these *now*.

  10. my dear friend, you made my day. What a lovely looking dosas!...yummy..though we make dosas with moong dal, never added corns..it must've been so yummy...

    and so true, because you said you have one ready for me, I was quite, else I might have done just that..

    thanks for the lovely entry!...

  11. and yes great memories as usual..though I have never stayed at hostel and I have always wanted too...i know it must've been so much fun!...

  12. Oh my!!! Sups You just made me relive my wonderful 4 years in hostel. Exactly the same way as you mentioned. I remember running home within 2 days of joining hostel, everything seemed untidy, dirty and sharing room!! oh no!! But then you wouldn't believe Sups, not a day passed without us living life to the fullest.
    Now when we talk, the first thing in our conversation was how happy and carefree live we lived in the hostel!!
    Ooops look I cannot stop now!! Thank you so much for taking me down your wonderful times as well!!

  13. This looks lovely, have to try this. Thank you

  14. Sia those chillahs look awesome

  15. I have many fond memories of hostel too! Still have things linked to that place tho' I don't really notice them everyday.

  16. I'm a fan of chilas, but have only made besan chilas so far...thats an interesting story you've shared with us :) SInce i;ve never stayed in hostels, i always like reading other's hostel life tales :)
    The photo of the chilas is very appetising

  17. aren't hostel days the best ;) and who can forget the chai ki tapri!
    nice moong chilla, Sia.

  18. Love the stacked up Chillas, great entry for Dosa mela. Enjoy your trip Sia, will see you when you come back. Hugs to you!:)

  19. wonderful creation from your kitchen again, Sia! Awesome pictures. Nice write up too.

  20. Those chilla looks so good, never had before it looks healthy too.

  21. Sia, Nice to here about ur Hostel days.. Pls do put d pic of ur Coffe mug.. Even i want to see it after listening to ur story :D !!

    Great entry for dosa mela..unique dosa.. Loved it !!

  22. that was a heartening read! Those were the days right.. I reminiscence about my college days as well...

    nice pics...but I was expecting to see the pic of the mug as well!!

  23. that was a heartening read! Those were the days right.. I reminiscence about my college days as well...

    nice pics...but I was expecting to see the pic of the mug as well!!

  24. Hi Sia, wonderful blog, excellent recipes. This one is also looks very tempting, keep it going!

    plz do visit @


  25. wow this looks mind blowing...out of this world!!

  26. hi sia..very nice recipe!!!i loved it..nice photo too!!

  27. Sia, I make this too pretty much the same way, just add more veggies:) your photo looks great gal!:)

  28. Chillas are often regulars on my Sunday brunch menu, however I usually make them with sooji. Can't wait to try out your wonderful version next!

    - Meena (http://www.hookedonheat.com/)

  29. oh, I just love the stack!! and the cilantro on top of it looks so fresh!!!

  30. nice april fool joke supriya! isn't it interesting how we treasure some of these old things? I have a old mug too - "best sister in the world" from my brother :)

  31. Luvly ...longtime never seen your recent posts ... awesome recipes.

  32. That is onee nostaligic post !! I was alwaysss a day-scholar :|

  33. Funny that we get attached to our coffee mugs!!!! WHat's that last post? Hah, didn't believe a word of it!! Chilla is tempting, will try it one of these days.

  34. Aww memories of the good old days!! Such a cute heartfelt story of your hostel life. Love the chilla girly :O)

  35. I so love your story of the coffee cup. How sad to leave, how exciting to be facing a new life.

  36. Hey i also made these a long time back.Arent they just delicious? If you want to make the chillas like a chaat dish- garnish the chillas with some boiled veggies of your choice with some chaat masala- mint-yogurt chutney and tamarind chutney- tastes awesome.

  37. cheela goes best with meethi chutney(saunth aur gur waali)
    any ideas?

  38. hi sia,
    thanks for bringing back ashwinis chila. It has become a low carb breakfast staple for me. I sometimes make it into an Indian rosti with an excess of cabbage.

    Love the new look by the way.

  39. What an easy and simple recipe, and at the same time so very healthy and full of the goodness of moong dal and a variety of spices! Today, with more and more lifestyle related diseases like obesity and diabetes plaguing us Indians, such a recipe would do us a world of good, not to mention cater to our taste buds! For some expert tips on healthy eating habits check out our blog at http://knorratseven.blogspot.com/


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