The Great Indian Breakfast: Protein Rich Pancakes with Paneer Filling/Masoor Chilla

Make the most of your breakfast with these delicious high-powered, protein-rich pancakes with wholesome paneer filling!

These healthy pancakes made from red lentils (masoor) and paneer filling offer a high source of protein to kickstart your day. They can be had for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and are best enjoyed with raita, chutneys, or any pickle of your choice.

Also known as masoor chilla, this recipe is quick and easy to make and does not require fermentation. This recipe is ideal for those who are on the go and are looking for a healthy and quick breakfast meal.

Chilla is the Indian version of savory pancakes made from unleavened batter and is gluten-free. There are many recipes you can follow, incorporating a variety of flours, grains, millets, or lentils.

Moong Dal Chilla

Are Proteins Good For Me ?

  • Proteins are the building blocks of life and form a very important food group. 
  • Every cell in our body contains proteins, from hair to nails.
  • Proteins help our body in cell and tissue formation, cell growth, and cell renewal.
  • It helps to boost our immunity and aids in healthy digestion.
  • It ensures muscle development and releases energy to fuel our body
  • It is important for growing children and expectant mothers to include proteins as part of a daily healthy diet. 
  • A protein-rich diet is also helpful for people on a weight loss journey and beneficial for the muscle recovery process after exercise.
  • Proteins included during breakfast are important to help restore nutrients in our body, especially after the “night long fasting” hiatus. 
  • The recommended daily amount of protein is 1 gm per kg of your ideal body weight. To check your ideal body weight you can use a BMI calculator which uses your gender, weight, and height.

Red lentils (masoor) are a very nutritious and popular legume consumed worldwide. In the Indian subcontinent, it is cultivated extensively and consumed mainly by vegetarians. They are red in color, split, and without skin. When cooked they turn slightly golden and have a mild earthy flavor.

Red lentils offer an impressive nutrient composition, not only with an impressive amount of protein but also a rich source of iron, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and E.

These vitamins are essential for eye and skin health, strengthening our muscles, and promotes healthy digestion. Red lentils are also pro diabetic, helping control sudden sugar spikes.

Paneer is another source of healthy protein and is also high in calcium, vitamins, minerals like iron, potassium, and vitamin B. The nutrients in paneer are beneficial for maintaining good skin, and better bone health. It is also good for memory and brain health. Paneer has the added advantage of soaking up any flavor and making it an ideal combination with a variety of different cuisines.

Paneer Filling Alternatives: 

Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes- Potatoes, although high in carbohydrates, are easily available, versatile, and loved by everyone.

Vegetables– Mix cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, or capsicum in a processor and use it as a filling according to your flavor preference.

Salad– If you prefer not using a filling you can enjoy any dish with a simple salad of cucumber, onion and tomatoes with grated carrots. 

How to Make a Protein Rich Pancake

  • Preparing the batter: Thoroughly wash the red lentils/masoor. Keep the washed lentils aside in a bowl and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Once soaked, put the lentils in a blender with grated ginger, chopped green chillies, and ½ cup of water. Blend until consistency is smooth. Now add the asafoetida and fennel seeds, add ¼ cup of water to the blended mixture and blend until smooth. It is advised to blend in two batches to achieve a smooth texture. A total of ¾ cup of water is required.
  • Once you are happy with the consistency of your batter, empty the batter into a clean bowl and add 2 tablespoons of chickpea powder (besan), turmeric, and salt. Mix well with the batter.
  • For the paneer filling:  Heat a pan and pour peanut oil. After a couple minutes, add chopped onions, chopped capsicum, chopped or grated garlic and salt. Sauté lightly and add pav bhaji masala (optional). Take the paneer and mash it using a fork or grate and then add the mashed paneer to the pan. Now add chopped tomatoes and mix the ingredients lightly.
  • Keep cooking on low heat until the water evaporates. Once the water has evaporated, keep aside till the pancakes/chillas are ready.

Making the Pancakes/Chilla

  • Take the batter you prepared earlier, and heat a skillet/tawa, and grease it with peanut oil. Keeping a low, pour 1/3 cup of batter on the skillet and spread it evenly in a circular motion. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on each side and pour oil/butter/ghee if the batter gets too sticky.
  • Cook the pancakes till both the sides are lightly toasted. Remove the pancake from the flame and gently lay it on a plate. Keep repeating the process until all of the batter is used. 
  • Take 2 to 3 spoonfuls of the prepared paneer filling and spread it over or on half the cooked pancake. Gently fold the other side of the pancake covering the paneer filling.  Repeat the filling process with the remaining pancakes and paneer.

How to Make the Yoghurt Dip

  • You will need to start with ½ cup yoghurt, beaten until smooth. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to thin down the consistency. Add ½ teaspoonful chaat masala. If chaat masala is not available, you can always add ½ teaspoonful roasted cumin powder and salt (as per taste). Mix the yoghurt and the spices thoroughly.

The Finishing Touch

Garnish the pancakes/chilla with chopped coriander and serve warm with cut lemon wedges and onion slices. 

Your delicious protein-rich pancakes are now ready. Enjoy this flavorful, quick, and easy meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

High Protein Pancakes with Paneer Filling

Recipe for 12 -14 Pancakes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cuisine: Indian Main

Author: Healthy Nidhi 


1 cup split red lentils/masoor

2-3 green chilies finely chopped

A small piece of ginger, chopped or grated

2 tablespoons of chickpea flour (besan)

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

A pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)(optional)

A teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds (optional)

Salt to taste

Peanut oil for cooking

Paneer Filling

½ cup finely chopped onion (medium)

½ cup finely chopped capsicum (small)

1 teaspoon garlic

350 grams paneer (see notes)

2 tablespoon Pav Bhaji Masala (see notes)

½ cup chopped tomatoes

Salt to taste 

2 teaspoons of peanut oil


½ cup vegan yogurt

1 teaspoon chaat masala

To Serve

Onion slices

Lemon wedges

Chopped coriander


  • Wash and soak the lentils for 10 minutes. Add the ginger and green chillies, and ½ cup of water. Blend until smooth. Add fennel seeds, asafoetida at this stage if using for better blending.
  • Blending in 2 batches is advisable for a smooth paste consistency . Add a total ¾ cup water into the mixture.
  • Empty the batter into a bowl and add salt, turmeric, chickpea flour (besan). Mix well until smooth.
  • Heat a skillet at low heat and add peanut oil.
  • Pour ⅓ cup of batter on the pan and swirl it around to make pancakes.
  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully flip and cook the other side. Add peanut oil if the batter is sticky.
  • Stuff each pancake with the filling, chopped onions, and garnish with coriander. Serve warm with yoghurt dip and lemon wedges.

Paneer Filling

  • Heat a pan and add peanut oil.
  • Add chopped onion, chopped capsicum, chopped garlic, salt, and stir.
  • Add the pav bhaji masala if using.
  • Add the mashed paneer with a spoon.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and mix.
  • Cook till the water in the mixture evaporates.
  • Keep aside to cool until the pancakes are ready.

Yoghurt Dip

  • Take ½ cup of yogurt (your choice)
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to thin it down.
  • Add chat masala or roasted cumin powder and salt and serve along with the pancakes.

Helpful Tips:

  • Use moong dal (split green gram) if split red lentils are not available, though the quantity and texture may vary.
  • This batter is a little sticky so remember to grease the pan before cooking.
  • Use a ceramic coated pan or a well-seasoned cast iron.
  • Mustard oil can be substituted if peanut oil is not available.
  • Pancakes are tricky for beginners so it’s acceptable to spoil your first attempt.
  • For the filling, you can use either, tofu, paneer (cottage cheese), boiled eggs, or potatoes.
  • In case pav bhaji masala is not available try sambhar masala or Szechuan sauce. For variation, you can even try some curry powder

Crafted by: Nidhi  for Happily Health

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