Monday, April 27, 2009

Besan Ka Cheela and Pepper Shrimp


We are done with 7 days of Challenge, woo hoo. Am I glad or what.

Saturday with all that fasting-shasting I was pretty crappy and so was the husband. We were spiteful and had huge rows. Low carb/sugar was showing its effects.

"But I feel lighter", I said to myself, "Maybe I have lost inches(or feet) if not pounds. If I lose my marriage so what, at least I will be thin"

And then came along dear N and made me re-read the rules again. As always I had just skimmed through the rules. I have been doing this since time immemorial. The only times I read and re-read the rules was during TOEFL and that because I thought I wouldn't understand Amriki accent over my headphone

Ok so as it goes I have broken errrr worked around several rules of the challenge. I had potatoes, honey with my yogurt and did no exercise

No wonder the husband was gladly gliding along until the fasting started.

Let me quickly sum up the pros of this process before I crib

* You feel much better about yourself
* All that eating right makes you feel a whole lot better. You do feel light believe me and may even lose pounds if you are strictly adhering to the rules. Actually the husband did lose noticeable inches as claimed by him.
* Remember the guilt after wolfing down a pizza. Well now you don't have any, neither pizza nor guilt
* You learn a whole new lesson on self-restraint and "giving up". If you continue you might achieve moksha soon

Things that did not quiet work for me

* We spent a whole lot of time cooking and packing lunches during the weekday. I was packing 3 dabbas each !!! This was definitely not good for me as I prefer spending weekday evening with my kids rather than in the kitchen. Maybe we also went overboard with the idea, but next time I plan to keep it even simpler

* Don't know why but since so much after-work time was spent in the kitchen that I didn't feel like going to gym at all. That would have cut into my time with the girls but Exercise would have helped

* No eating out on Weekends were tough, I am not going to do weekends next time. Such nice weather and yet we couldn't grab anything and had to be back home for dinner

* This challenge saw both of us(D & me) together in the kitchen a lot and by that I mean A LOT. Now this might be a total incentive for honey-baby-lovey-dovey kind of couples(with no disrespect meant to anyone). But for me this is a hindrance. I have known the husband for a loooong time now and don't feel the need to bond over how to grill salmon just right.
The hubby is a good cook and definitely a help in the kitchen but when he is in there I would rather spend my time with the baby who needs me more. Once the kids are older and can be in the kitchen too maybe we all can have coochie-coo Kitchen time.

On the whole the Challenge was worth it and I am going to do it maybe every alternate week or so. Take it up and feel good.


On Saturday after the fast I didn't want to settle down for anything less but cheela -- a savory gram flour pancake and some hot spicy pepper shrimp. The very thought of it pepped me up until I broke the fast an hour early. Lovely light besan ka cheela with the hot shrimp did heal bruised egos and rumbling appetites to some extent. The Pepper Shrimp is frameworked on Cham's Pepper Mushroom recipe which I altered around a bit to suit my convenience and loved a whole lot


Besan Ka Cheela or Gram Flour Pancakes

Makes enough for 2(5-6 cheelas)

In a wide mouthed deep bowl add 1 cup of besan(chickpea flour) and fluff with a fork to break lumps if any and aerate

Make a batter with the above Besan + about 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onions + 3 finely chopped green chilli + 1/2 tsp of Carrom Seeds/Ajwain + 1/2 tsp of Cumin Seeds + little Asafoetida/Hing + salt. Add a little more than 1 cup of water slowly to make the batter.

Heat a flat tawa or frying pan.

Grease it with little oil

Pour a ladleful of batter and spread it out to make a circle. This step is same as you would do for dosa or pancake. Add less than 1/2 tsp of oil in droplets along the edges

When your spatula slids under the edges easily, flip the cheela and cook the other side

Pepper Shrimp

Defrost about 10-12 frozen shrimp. I used frozen raw shrimp, substitute with whatever kind you like. Sprinkle some sea salt on them and let them rest for 15-20 minutes.

Heat oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan. A little more oil boosts the flavors in this dish

Add 5-6 Kari Patta(Curry Leaves) to the hot oil

Add 1/3 cup of chopped red onions and fry

Once the onion turns pink and translucent add 1 tsp of garlic paste

Add 1 tsp of Pepper Powder and saute for half a minute

Add the shrimp

Add 1/4 tsp of Red Chilli powder and 1/4 tsp of Fennel Powder

Add salt and fry the shrimp. You need to sprinkle a little water to bring the spices together and fry

Once the shrimp is cooked you are done. Don't cook shrimp for too long, it might get rubbery.

* If you are not a shrimp eater replace shrimp with mushroom and do not add any water while cooking. Also cook till all the water released by mushroom dries up


  1. pepper shrimps are yummy looking and the besan ka cheela with shrimps seems to be a great combo have tried the cmbo though

  2. Yep, it is the cooking all the three meals a day that really gets to you, after the first couple of weeks on SBD, I found take-out alternatives :)

    If you can do this challenge, you can definitely do SBD, you get to each much more for sure, and no exercise or fasting required ;)

  3. Tomake salute:-D Congrats on completing..
    moksha... LOL

    but the shrimp looks good. I had seen the mushroom & chicken at cham's & will do it sometimes, but shrimp is a good idea & quicker too.

  4. LOL! Thin vs marriage and thin wins? I can identify. Everytime someone tells me my low-carb eating habits are my nemesis and health is what matters, not weight, I tell them I don't care for my health as long as I'm thin, and I was promptly labelled Queen of All Things Shallow!

  5. Hi Sandeepa, was a cute read :) congrats on completing the challenge. Hmmm... I agree on a lots of things that u've mentioned. The initial diet mode can really take a toll on the mind and body, once we are on track...and see that's working well for us it really feels like a easy bridge at like the attainment of moksha, no inches no flinches... pizza no craving...hari om!lovely sandeepa.
    check out my latest post it might interest u dear!
    aiyo sorry forgot to mention....besan chilla zindabaad and love the peppery shrimps all spiced up.

  6. Congratulations on completing the challenge dear....hmm not eating out on weekends can be tough...for me it would be impossible :)....besan chilla looks delicious..

  7. The cheela sounds interesting!

  8. I love anything with shrimp but never had it anything other than rice. This combo looks inviting and interesting too. And yay good job on doing this challenge Sandeepa!

  9. yummy combo,..specially pepper shrimp,..;-)

  10. Interesting exercise! Glad you survived with your wit intact. :)

  11. Sandeepa, ur write-up is really hilarious... yup, i agree with u.. if hubby is in the kitchen, i love to sit and play with S...
    Loved ur pepper shrimps recipe... i do an exact thing with chicken.. will have to try out with shrimp next time...

  12. Now that look like Heavenly plate to me. Great combo, full of protein and great for dieting too. Make it spicy, kick that metabolism to high gear!:D

    Making your Doi Dim today, will post next week and then take a 3 weeks break from May 7th!:)

  13. Hats Off Sandeepa! Its like everything else the last few minutes tests your patience like any other. I can stand DH for 5 minutes max in the kitchen before I throw a fit. He takes advantage of that is another matter altogether.

    The cheela with shrimp looks totally awesome. you had to eat diet food (?) after breaking the fast to complete it?

    Sandeepa, don't completely cut out the carbs eat it like you would say rasgulla and you don't have to diet ;)

  14. Sandeepa, you did great girl. I'm so motivated to give this a try myself. :)

  15. Sandeepa,
    besan ka cheela and pepper chingri looks very apptezing :))..
    hugs and smiles

  16. Yaay, you did it!! :) Maybe somethng was in the air this weekend coz N and I were spiteful and had huge fights too!
    besan cheela and pepper shrimp both look great! And sound like a great combi

  17. Glad that u completed with ease! Once we are used to cut back the sugar and grains, it will easy to stick in diet! I agree that we feel lighter which is better!
    Weekend, we use to go out and it is hard for us too!
    Cheela and pepper shrimp, u make me drool....

  18. Thanks every one Don't know about the combo. I wanted some non-veg with the cheela and did not want to do eggs :) It went well.

    I chose to fast till Saturday 2:00 PM. Since the challenge was till Sunday, could not go off diet on Saturday :)

  19. Well done Sandeepa...I'm not sure I would have been able to do all this :-)

  20. Hehe :) you will get used to it. I do it one week a month now. Its my way of gettin back into control. A bakes like a mad baker. So, I really need it :)

    But good going, Sandeepa! I did it mostly to figure out if I can really work on self control. And enjoyed it too. Ya cooking these meals is a pain. So, this month, I'm planning my menu for all 7 days. will let you know how it goes!

    Love cheela. And mebbe I can eat besan tooooo! :D

  21. ROFL @ "But I feel lighter", I said to myself, "Maybe I have lost inches(or feet) if not pounds. If I lose my marriage so what, at least I will be thin"May be I should have joined the challenge :)

  22. hehehe, when I saw the potatoes in your prev post, I meant to comment, but let it pass under the table :D I stuck to it for 5 days, the fasting was a little easier for me. I had dinner at 7pm on Friday, and since I woke up only at 10am on Sat, in a couple of hours the fasting time was done :))

    Planning is definitely the key to the whole diet. The mind constantly attaches a carb to all everything, and to train it out of it is tough. And it was actually surprising to me that not having carbs does not really make you weak. I missed my coffee & tea the most though :( Will surely try taking it up once a month.

  23. From a frequent lurker on your blog - congratulations for sticking with it! I've never tried fasting but I recently used Livestrong's food tracker tool ( to lose a few pounds. The pro is that you get a good sense of your daily calorie quota and it helps you exercise portion control while letting you eat everything. The con that made me quit tracking after 2 weeks is that most Indian dishes are not included so I had to manually create meals from individual ingredients (e.g. if I ate alu gobi for dinner I would create the dish with specific quantities of key ingredients i.e. potatoes, cauliflower, oil, etc.). Took up a good 45 minutes/day . They do have a pretty comprehensive food list though, including popular restaurant menu items and Indian store items.

    The exercise did give me a good sense of how much I should be eating for my weight & activity level. I did include some light to moderate exercise ~3 days/week.

    Least to say, I love reading your posts/recipes:) The cheela and shrimp look delicious!

  24. i have missed out on on so many many great images and a hell lot of recipes :(((( I have to play catch-up......and I always have shrimps in my pepper shrimp it is this sunday :)

  25. Why didn't I think of having non veg with cheela ... at least I'll be able to eat a cheela.
    Congrats on the completion ... a little cutting corners is ok. ;-)

  26. my dear, maybe he likes the coochie-coo time. :D

  27. I hear you on having cootchie coo time in a different time and place! ;)

    Congrats on lasting the week - hope you can find something which is not so much of a chore and becomes a way of life rather than a "diet".

    The pepper shrimp looks amazing!

  28. The pepper shrimp sounds amazing . And to have it with chillas is a brilliant idea !

  29. Great recipe!
    I tried Besan Ka Cheela:

    Thank you, they were delicious!


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