Remember the grimaces and frowns over health food that mother served us when we were small.. silently resolving all the time, that we will never make dull rustic food like this ever in our lives, and the irony of it is, we do!
We make it. Coz we are older, umm… wiser and usually because our ‘been there done that’ taste buds have come back home 🙂 We somehow find warmth, joy and taste in that bowl of porridge. I never thought I would. But now I eat my own words, savor the austere roti and lick that delicious hot bowl of goodness too.
Bajra or pearl millet is one of the oldest and most popular kind of millet. It is a gluten free grain with phenomenal nutritional benefits. Eating bajra provides us with disease fighting phytochemicals that lower cholesterol, antioxidants, plenty of fibre, folate, magnesium, copper, zinc, vitamins-E and B-complex, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It is particularly noted for its high iron content.
Being rich in fiber, it maintains your glucose levels hence excellent for diabetics.
The clincher for me –
This whole grain supports weight loss as the high fiber content leads to a feeling of fullness for a prolonged period of time. 😉
I have two very traditional North Indian delicacies made from pearl millet. A humble bowl of porridge ideal for breakfast or brunches and the very bucolic slightly thick nutty rotis made with its flour.
I have used the broken version of pearl millet, easily available in Indian stores. Bajra is typical winter food, generally/mostly extensively consumed when the weather is cold. According to Ayurveda, bajra when eaten with jaggery and ghee becomes more enriched with calcium and iron. Wow, isn’t it.
PEARL MILLET KHICHRI/DALIA/PORRIDGE
Ghaat, khichri, thuli, dalia, kheech are the various names for porridge in India. Multiple communities, multiple names! 🙂 But the aroma, one. The taste, one. Method? a tad different here and there… but the soul, the essence is the same.
To make 4 bowls of porridge –
- 1 cup of broken pearl millet
- 1 tbsp ghee or butter
- 1/2 cup of split green mung dal, with skin Chilke wali mung dal
- salt to taste
- 5-6 cups of water
Wash and soak the split green mung dal for at least 30 minutes.
In a deep heavy pot or pressure cooker, heat the ghee, dry roast broken pearl millet for 3-4 minutes. Then throw in the dal without the water. Roast the dal and bajra for another 2 minutes. To this, add 5-6 cups of boiling water. Season with salt. Keep mixing, else you will find knots and lumps in the final product. Keep stirring till you get a homogenous mix. Now at this stage pressure cook the contents for 7-8 whistles. Once done, cool. Remove. Give a good final stir.
Enjoy the porridge with ghee or curds or milk or kadhi.
BAJRE KI ROTI
To make this wonderful rustic flatbread you need pearl millet flour. Although absolutely simple to make, these rotis are delicious! I love to eat them with fresh white butter and jaggery!
- 1 cup pearl millet flour
- hot water to make the dough
- salt, optional
Using hot water, bind the dough to a soft texture. Knead well for 2-3 minutes. As is the case with all millet rotis, you need not wait to make the flatbread. The dough should be used immediately to make the rotis. Grabbing a handful of the dough, roll out into a thin roti. Generously dust the rotis with dry bajra flour or wheat flour to make the rolling easier. Cook the rotis on a hot tava (griddle) till both sides are light brown in colour.
Brush one side of the roti with melted ghee and serve hot.
These delicious rotis can be served with any curry, some onions and green chilies. A simple wholesome meal for thousands of people in India.
I find my 6-year-old cringing or making faces when porridge is served and I do not fret. Having been in her shoes, lived the part of a fussy persnickety child… I simply cajole her, sometimes bribe, sometimes bargain and just sometimes let it go. As I know she will come back. In Sometime.