Pearl Millet Pancakes|Chamchamiya

February 27, 2022mayurisjikoni



Pearl Millet Pancakes|Chamchamiya is a Gujarati specialty. Pearl Millet flour also known as bajri atta is mixed with fresh fenugreek, spices, yogurt to make these healthy and tasty pancakes, cheela or chamchamiya. A winter specialty, Chamchamiya is usually enjoyed as a hot breakfast with pickles, chutney, hot masala tea or plain yogurt.

While hubby loves it with pickles and tea, I go for yogurt with a bit of cumin and red chilli powders added to it. Some households like to add a bit of chickpea flour (besan) while some don’t. I add some as I feel it makes the chamchamiya more crispy. Also besides fresh methi, I like to add fresh spinach and dried fenugreek leaves( kasuri methi). However, that is not really necessary. We love the flavour of kasuri methi.

Winter Months

Some parts of India experience very cold weather during the winter months. Gujarat does get its fair share of cold weather but not to the point that you have to wrap up in layers. A sweater or shawl is sufficient, as it is only early mornings and nights that are cold.

During the winter months, there are certain kinds of food that are consumed more often than other times of the year. Pearl Millet is one of them. Also winter season means a galore of fresh leafy greens. Spinach, fenugreek, coriander, amaranth, mustard greens, pigsweed (also known as goosefoot, bathua). etc. Red carrots, sesame seeds, jaggery, gondh (edible gum) are some of the other winter special foods.

When in Mombasa, we tend to consume pearl millet flour almost throughout the year as we don’t have any winter season. But Canada winter is totally different and the consummation of pearl millet has increased. Mostly I like to make chamchamiya for brunch. It barely takes 5 minutes to prepare the batter and a hot meal is ready within 10 minutes.


First Ever Winter Experience

Hubby and I arrived in Canada during the second week of July when it was pretty hot and summer. Slowly we got comfortable with Fall, equating the chill to Nairobi and Bangalore during the cold season. Whenever we told people we will be experiencing our first winter in Canada, most of them gave us a weird look, probably thinking we are mad leaving the tropics! Some got us a bit scared by telling us it gets too cold, getting around town will be difficult. However, my son constantly reminded us “whatever the weather, dress up right and go out. Even if it is for 10 minutes.” And that is what we have done.

Winter is a beautiful season, and I do wish I had the courage to put on skating shoes to experience ice skating. However, I am scared that I will fall and break a bone or two! But walking on snow is like walking on dry sand, a good workout for my thighs. We’re into now third month of winter but every time I go out, my eyes water and always have a leaky nose! All the pockets in my winter coat are filled with tissues!

The first time it snowed, I went crazy, excited like a kid and stood out trying the catch the snowflakes. I don’t get tired of watching the pure white landscape with leafless trees. The lake is completely frozen. Icicles at the edges of roofs is natures wonder! When the sun is out, snow sparkles like diamonds. And has caused migraine too 🙂

Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday is a group of Food Bloggers. Every Sunday we  share some fun, traditional, hearty or easy recipes to make Sunday Family Meals a bit more exciting. To join this fun group, visit the Sunday Funday Facebook Page. Request to join in.


Stacy who blogs at Food Lust People Love suggested we share pancake recipes from any cuisine or culture. She suggested this particular theme as THE NATIONAL PANCAKE WEEK is from Feb 27th till March 5th this year. Also SHROVE TUESDAY is just round the corner on 1st March. Though a Christian Festival, I’ve got into the habit of making pancakes on that day from the time I was teaching in school. Montessori schools stress on the importance of introducing different festivals and religious events to kids. So, on that day teachers from different cultures would make pancakes and bring them to school. We would also have normal pancake treats for the whole school on that day.

Just a few days before Stacy suggested the theme, I had taken the photos and video clippings of chamchamiya. And mentioned to hubby that for all I know, the recipe may not see the light of day as I still have too many posts to write or redo. That evening, I go onto Facebook and see that Stacy has posted pancake theme! Did a happy dance and signed up.



I am a huge fan of pancakes. I can have them everyday. When I tell hubby that, he can only think of those fluffy fat pancakes loaded with fruits, honey, chocolate and cream which is so common in most brunch places here! He rolls his eyes up and tells me ‘go ahead have them everyday and pile it on your hips!’

However, he has no idea that some of the flatbreads he enjoys for breakfast or brunch are actually pancakes. Take for example gluten free chickpea flour pancakes or cheela are super healthy. Or take the simple yet yummy rice flour Swahili pancakes Vibibi. My other favourite besides pearl millet pancakes|chamchamiya is the super thin crispy Ragi Dosa (finger millet pancakes).

Actually, I love all different kinds of pancakes, sweet or svaoury. No wonder I have a huge collection of pancake recipes on my blog and adding one more today. Check out my collection.

Check Out How Other Members Are Celebrating National Pancake Week


Ingredients Required For Pearl Millet Pancakes|Chamchamiya

  • Pearl Millet Flour – known as bajre ka atta in hindi, bajri no lot in Gujarati and mawele in Kiswahili. This flour is readily available in supermarkets in Kenya and India. Other places, best to check it out at the Indian Stores or online.
  • Fresh Fenugreek – known as methi, easily available in the fresh produce markets, Indian stores or even in the frozen section of Indian stores. I mix both spinach and fenugreek to make it up to a cup. The proportion varies depending on how much fenugreek I have. Sometimes I use fenugreek on its own.
  • Fresh Spinach – finely chopped. I mix both spinach and fenugreek to make it up to a cup. The proportion varies depending on how much fenugreek I have. Sometimes I use fenugreek on its own.
  • Fresh Coriander/ Cilantro – available in all the supermarkets, fresh produce markets and Indian stores.
  • Ginger – peel and grate it finely or crush to a paste.
  • Green Chillis – finely chopped or paste.
  • Garlic – peel and minced
  • Kasuri Methi – is dried fenugreek leaves. It is easily available in Indian Stores or online.
  • Sesame Seeds – can use white or black ones. I have used white ones. Need some to add to the batter and some for topping.
  • Salt – add according to your taste.
  • Carom Seeds – ajwain, ajmo or bishop’s weed. It is easily available in Indian Stores or online.
  • Asafetida – hing. This is an optional ingredient. For gluten free option don’t add it.
  • Turmeric Powder – haldi, hardar. Available in all the supermarkets.
  • Chickpea Flour – besan, chane ka atta. It is easily available in Indian Stores or online.
  • Plain Yogurt – preferably thick. If you use homemade yogurt that is watery than add less water to the batter. For a vegan option, use vegan yogurt.
  • Oil/Ghee– any oil of your choice. I would recommend using ghee for these pancakes as they taste awesome.If you don’t like the smell of ghee, then replace it with butter or oil.
  • Water– normal tap water.
  • Baking Soda – soda bicarbonate. Optional. I like to add a bit as it makes the pancakes soft and fluffy.






Pearl Millet Pancakes|Chamchamiya is a Gujarati specialty. Pearl Millet flour also known as bajri atta is mixed with fresh fenugreek, spices, yogurt to make these healthy and tasty pancakes, cheela or chamchamiya.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Gujarati
Servings 8


  • cups pearl millet flour/bajri atta
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour/besan
  • ½ cup fresh spinach and fenugreek mixed chopped
  • ½ cup fresh coriander chopped
  • 2 tbsp kasuri methi
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp carom seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp asafetida optional
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • ½ cup plain yogurt thick
  • 1¼ -1½ cups water
  • some oil/ghee
  • extra sesame seeds optional
  • ¼ tsp baking soda


  • Mix all the dry ingredients except baking soda and extra sesame seeds in a mixing bowl.
  • Add chopped spinach, fenugreek, coriander, ginger, garlic and chilli pastes. Mix well.
  • Add the yogurt and water. Add only 1¼ cup of water at first.
  • Mix well. If the batter is too thick then add more water. The batter should not be too thin or too thick.
  • At the end add the baking soda and whip it well.
  • Heat a tawa or skillet over medium heat.
  • Brush the tawa or skillet with some ghee or oil.
  • Sprinkle about ½ tsp sesame seeds on it.
  • Take about ¼ or ⅓ cup of the batter, spread it out a bit.
  • You can make them as thick or thin as you like. I like to leave them a bit thick like pancakes. Mine are about 5-6 inches in diameter.
  • Drizzle some ghee or oil around the edges.
  • Sprinkle about ½ tsp of sesame seeds on top.
  • Allow the chamchamiya to cook till you see that the edges are light brown and the top is getting a little dry or cooked. You may need to adjust the heat.
  • Using a spatula, slowly flip the chamchamiya over.
  • Drizzle oil or ghee around it and allow it to cook till it is golden brown.
  • Make rest of the chamchamiya following the above steps.
  • Serve hot chamchamiya with your favourite pickle, chutney, masala tea or yogurt.


  • Traditionally chamchamiya are made with fresh fenugreek and coriander. However, I like to add spinach too.
  • Can make them thick like pancakes/uttapam or thin.
  • For gluten free version don't add asafetida. It is an optional ingredient.
  • For vegan version, use vegan yogurt.
  • Adjust the green chillis and garlic according to your taste.
  • Can add finely chopped chillis instead of the paste.
  • Best enjoyed hot but you can warm up the cold ones in the microwave oven.
Keyword bajre ka chamchamiya, bajri na chamchamiya, chamchamiya, pearl millet pancakes

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  • Stacy

    February 27, 2022 at 8:40 am

    Your chanchamiya look wonderful, Mayuri! Full of spice and greens, my ideal breakfast or brunch. I’ve added bajri atta to my shopping list for next time I head to my favorite Indian supermarket!

    I am not a fan of the cold in winter but I do admit that it’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing your memories and photos.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 27, 2022 at 6:06 pm

      Thank you so much Stacy.Enjoy chamchamiya when you make them. Since you made the savoury Korean pancakes, am sure you’ll like these ones.

  • Karen’s Kitchen Stories

    February 27, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    I loved reading the story of your first winter in Canada. Your pancakes sound wonderful.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 27, 2022 at 6:04 pm

      Thank you so much Karen.

  • Wendy Klik

    February 27, 2022 at 12:47 pm

    These savory pancakes sound amazing and I enjoyed the beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing both.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 27, 2022 at 6:03 pm

      Thank you so much Wendy. It is a traditional recipe that my grandaunt loves.

  • Sneha Ghate

    February 28, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Wonderful Recipe. Definately Gonna try it Next Time.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 28, 2022 at 8:12 pm

      You’re welcome Sneha. Enjoy when you try out the recipe.

  • Jayashree T.Rao

    March 1, 2022 at 11:44 am

    5 stars
    Chamchamiya is quite new to me. I love these kind of flatbreads, they are filling and my breakfast for the day or dinner is sorted. Will try when I get bajra flour.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 1, 2022 at 11:41 pm

      Thank you Jayashree, it is one of the easiest flatbread to make and so tasty. Enjoy when you make them.

  • Priya Vj

    March 1, 2022 at 11:51 am

    5 stars
    I absolutely love bajra cheelas loaded with the goodness of greens . Have eaten these at my friend’s place but dint know they are also called as chamchamiyas . The name is so very fascinating and intriguing. I too love my flat breads with thick dahi ,pinch of salt and jeera powder .

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 1, 2022 at 11:39 pm

      Thank you so much Priya, I too have no idea why they are called chamchamiya but it sure is a cute name. I love them for breakfast especially during the cold weather.

  • Archana

    March 2, 2022 at 2:21 am

    5 stars
    Mayuri you made Canada’s winter dance before my eyes. I will love to see it too. You are really enjoying the weather. Your pics are a treat. Now, these pearl millets pancakes are new to me. I will have to wait for a full year to make them but I love them will make them. (It’s hot here)

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 2, 2022 at 6:04 pm

      Thank you so much Archana, it is a pleasure sharing both the winter photos and the recipe too.

  • Seema

    March 3, 2022 at 4:14 pm

    5 stars
    What a lively name, feels like a start to a lovely dance music. I love the ingredients that go into this chamchamiya. My winter is coming up so will soon give this a go.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 3, 2022 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks Seema, yes it sure is a different name. Enjoy chamchamiya during your winter months.

  • Preethicuisine

    March 5, 2022 at 3:02 am

    5 stars
    Pearl Millet Pancakes / Chamchamiy looks absolutely incredible. This is so nutritious and delicious. Would love to try it .

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 6, 2022 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks Preethi. Enjoy when you make this easy recipe.

  • Kalyani

    March 10, 2022 at 12:11 am

    5 stars
    it’s amazing how you have adjusted to your new life there, Mayuri. The chamchamiya (loving the musical name 🙂 looks so doable as I get all the ingredients here. !

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 10, 2022 at 9:05 pm

      Thank you so much Kalyani. A bit difficult but overall very peaceful and relaxing. Chamchamiya is a very easy and healthy recipe. So give it a try.

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