Millet Pancakes

Considering this was my inspiration for the name of the blog, one of my first entries had to be my attempt the make the Gujarati bread, known as Dhebra.  My first thought when I was starting the process was :”Let’s hope this first try goes a lot better than the Puffed Rice Dosa attempt”!

This recipe for Gujarat Spicy Millet and Squash Bread is taken from Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking (with a few slight changes).  Millet is used in many of the breads of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Millet Pancake


1 cup millet flour (plus an extra cup added later – read on to find out the details)

1 cup chapati flour (or whole wheat)

1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

4 green chiles, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons garam masala

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons yogurt

1 1/2 cups grated snake squash or zucchini

water, as needed

1/2 cup ghee

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (only 1 cup of the millet flour), except the water and the ghee. This was easy enough.  Then things changed.

In the recipe, it says you may need to add a little water, as this is a coarse dough.  I took it too far.  The dough was so dry.

I added 1/4 cup of water and mixed. It still seemed dry so I added another 1/4 cup.  I mixed and kneaded and after a few minutes it came together and formed a moist dough.  The recipe then said to cover it and let it rest for 1/2 hour.

I did this and I had a dough that was just way too moist and gooey, but I still tried.

I used the procedure for rolling out the dough detailed in her recipe.  Place a ball of dough into between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll out.  This didn’t work because the dough was so sticky it stuck to the plastic wrap and would not release to go on the tawa/griddle.

So I added more flour.  Even though I added a whole extra cup of millet flour, I still had a pretty soft dough, but one I was able to work with.

I used the procedure of taking a ball of dough in between two pieces of plastic wrap.

I did not even need a rolling pin.  I just pressed down with the palm of my hand, until the dough spread into a circle.  I did this with all 12 balls of dough.

Next, was to cook them and I just prayed that these would release from the plastic, as the dough was getting softer from air exposure.  I heated my tawa/griddle and brushed with ghee.  I then removed one piece of plastic from one of my flattened dough balls.  It came off easily enough.  So next was to remove the plastic from the other side and place on the griddle.  I felt this was too risky and could see the dough falling apart in my hands and me being in tears at the thought of the wasted time and ingredients.

Instead, I placed the exposed side down on the griddle and removed the top plastic, when the dough was already on the griddle.  This has to be done carefully and quickly, so the plastic does not stick to the griddle.

Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

As I proceeded to cook what I think are Dhebra’s, I realized the consistency was not that of any Indian flatbread I had ever had.  Even with the additional flour, these were a little too fluffy and I realized I had made my own version of savory millet pancakes; not Dhebra.  I think they are a little closer to what an Adai is; but not quite!

It’s ok – because I created my own recipe by accident and they were still delicious, had here with some Tomato-Apple Chutney (purchased from a British market in NYC) , Cucumber Salad (persian cucumbers, chiles, curry leaves) and Roasted Masala Potatoes (fingerling potatoes, olive oil, Sabzi/Bhujia Spice Mix).  They are delicious and I will probably be making this “accident” again.

However, I still want to learn to make the traditional Dhebra, so I do have to try again and this time – don’t go so crazy with the water!  I need to knead for a lot longer to fully incorporate, before I start going pani crazy!  Look out for Dhebra Attempto #2…coming soon

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Sending this recipe to Spicy Treats’ Fiber Rich Event

Fiber Rich Event


Sorghum Methi Thepla

Thepla's with Coriander Chutney and Chickpea (Chana) Salad

Another first for me…thepla.   Not only have I never tried to make thepla, but I have never even tried them.  From my research, I have learned that Methi (Fenugreek) Thepla hails from the northwestern coastal state of Gujarat, whose cuisine is categorized by a mixture of sweet and spicy.  Although typical theplas are made with only whole wheat flour and  a little besan (chickpea flour) and/or millet flour, this recipe was created by a fellow blogger and is made with sorghum flour, which is rich in fiber, protein, iron and potassium.

This is a health friendly bread.  Due to the high fiber content of sorghum, it is filling and therefore will aid in weight loss goals.  Fenugreek has many health benefits, including helping to reduce sugar levels in diabetics.    Fresh fenugreek is hard to come by in New York; even gourmet supermarkets like Whole Foods and Fairway don’t have this item. The only place to get it is in markets in Indian or Pakistani/Bangladeshi neighborhoods.  I purchased this fresh bunch of methi from the Pakistani market in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.

fresh methi

This recipe is from Jayasri’s blog.

Since sorghum and cornmeal have less gluten than wheat, this is going to be a challenging thepla to make, but I’m up for the challenge!

Sorghum Methi Thepla


  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour (jowar in Indian markets)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup fenugreek leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder (cayenne)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups water
  • rice flour, to knead

Wash, drain and roughly chop the fenugreek leaves.

Bring about 2 cups of water to a boil.

Sift all the flours into a large bowl.  Add the fenugreek and the spices and mix to combine with the flours.

Start adding the water 1/3 cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed, that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn onto a well floured surface with rice flour and knead into a ball.

Divide into 8 evenly sized balls.

Dust surface liberally with rice flour and roll out each ball into a circle.  First, press down the balls using the palm of your hands.  After you do this, it will only take a few rolls with the rolling pin.  It is a very soft dough, so make sure the board and rolling pin are well floured.  I rolled them all out and placed in between pieces of waxed paper.  The first 3 or 4 were fine, but as the dough cooled, it was harder to roll without the dough cracking.

One of the problem theplas...kept on cracking

As I kept trying, more of the rice flour gets incorporated into the dough and then the dough becomes to dry to stay together (around 3 of them ended up in the garbage).

Heat a griddle/tawa. Brush with a little ghee and place rolled thepla on griddle.  Turn over, brush the top side with more ghee and cook until golden brown on the other side.

It is a very dense, heavy dough – not the light Naan and Paratha’s I am used to.  However, full of flavor, it is delicious and very filling – so a little goes a long way – a delicious bread to add to your meal if you have any weight loss goals.  It’s one of those things that just takes practice.  As I improve the speed of my rolling out the dough, I will be able to form better looking theplas, instead of my unevenly shaped ones.

stack of my thepla's

With all the flavorings, these are so delicious, I don’t think anything else is needed, however, you can serve with chutney or your favorite vegetarian curry, if desired.  Here, I had it with a chickpea salad with chaat masala.

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This recipe is being sent to Fiber Rich Event

Fiber Rich Event