Chhir Chot: A Kashmiri Pancake Eaten For Breakfast And Tea-Time
Image Credit: Pixabay, These light and crispy pancakes are made from rice flour and ajwain.

The beautiful Kashmir valley is a gem of a place in India. The rich diversity in culture and language is what makes the region so vibrant. Despite the controversial and conflict-ridden situation of Kashmir, their scenic views have continued to attract tourists time and again. And it is not just to immerse oneself in the tranquility of nature but also to dig into the luscious and appetizing dishes that people travel all the way to this Paradise on earth. If you think that their mornings start with a heavy meal like the Punjabis, it is not the case. 

Kashmiris are popular for their range of breads and tea that they serve for breakfast. Kahwa is one of them. This herbal green tea is sweetened with honey or sugar and you’d find nuts in the cup too. Then there’s something called noon chai or pink tea which not only has a beautiful colour but a distinct salty taste too. To pair with these beverages, there are plenty of breads like bakarkhani, kashmiri kulcha and lavassa. Since pancakes are an important part of breakfast across the world, Kashmiris have their own pancakes called chhir chot. 

Different from the regular-style pancakes found across the globe, this desi version is not sweet but savoury. A very simple and basic preparation made from rice flour and ajwain seeds i.e. carom seeds, chhir chot is a tea-time favourite in the region. The crispy and light snack pairs when with a cup of tea during the evening. However, that is not to say that these pancakes cannot be eaten for breakfast. 

The versatile taste of the pancakes makes them suitable for breakfast as well as dinner. Since Kashmiris like to the start their mornings on a light note, the chhir chot works well in this regard. While bakarkhani is more on the biscuit side with a crumbly texture, fermented and cooked in a tandoor, chhir chot is a rustic batter made from two ingredients that doesn’t require much hassle or cooking. 

To prepare chhir chot at home, all you need is rice flour, ajwain or carom seeds, salt, water and oil. The batter is prepared by sieving the rice flour in a bowl. Next, ajwain seeds and salt are added to it. Water is slowly poured into the bowl and mixed. Till the batter attains a pancake-like consistency, water is added. This is then poured on to a non-stick pan with a drizzle of oil on all sides. The circular pancake is then cooked from both sides and covered with a lid to prevent it from drying. Once it attains a crispy texture, it is taken out on a plate. 

Simultaneously, a hot and spicy tomato garlic chutney is ground to be served with the chhir chot. Chutneys are as intrinsic to the Kashmiri cuisine as are the breads and beverages. These are then served hot with a cup of kahwa in the morning or during the evening.