Bajra Blitz / Traditional delicacies with Pearl Millet

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.

Pearl Millet - broken

Pearl Millet – broken

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.

Khichri / Kheech / Thuli / Dalia

Khichri / Kheech / Thuli / Dalia

Bajra Roti / Flatbread

Bajra Roti / Flatbread

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.

A closer view

A closer view

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.

Bajre ka dalia

Bajre ka dalia

To make 4 bowls of porridge –

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

Wash and soak the split green mung dal for at least 30 minutes.

chilke wali mung dal or green split mung dal with skin

chilke wali mung dal or green split mung dal with skin

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.

Best with pure desi ghee

Best with pure desi ghee

My fav combination - with milk!

My fav combination – with milk!

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!

Gud and makkhan take this humble roti to another level!

Gud and makkhan take this humble roti to another level!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl millet flour
  • hot water to make the dough
  • salt, optional

Method

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.

Simple, tasty and highly nutritious meal

Simple, tasty and highly nutritious meal

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.

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Lentil Nugget Peas Curry/ Mangodi Matar

Summers Now: Lots of Frozen Yoghurt, Lemonade, Swimming Camps, Crash Courses for kids, Playdates and Exotic Holidays.

Summers Then: Relentless play under the sun, Nimbupaani, matka kulfis from kulfiwalas, Nani house and Mom making pickles, stocking spices for the entire year and drying mangodis.

Mangodi Matar

Mangodi Matar

Mangodis/Mung Wadiyan, are nothing but sun dried mung lentil nuggets. They are usually made in the summers when ample sunshine dries them perfectly to store for an entire year.

In my house, a day was pre-decided and fixed to make these nuggets. Work started early, with soaking, grinding and then dropping them on to clean plastic sheets(spread on the terrace for maximum sun). I particularly remember the task mom gave us. To find 4 stoppers, like a brick or a stool/table or some unused broken box – to place on the corners of the plastic spread, to prevent it from flying away. Now why didn’t mom use thalis/plates? Well, at that time, they made huge batches to stock for a year catering to at least 12 or more people. Thats why, plastic sheets worked better than thalis.

Yearly stock of mangodis

Yearly stock of mangodis

It is actually very easy to make these, but I’ve never attempted it.

Simply because, my yearly supply comes from both sides – mother and mother in law. Hence never found the need really. If you ever want to attempt making these nuggets, I did find a very resourceful link here.

Usually these nuggets are mixed with some fresh vegetable like potatoes or peas or corn. You can make them plain too, but combine it with a veggie and you are in for a treat.

Simple Curry, takes less than 10 minutes to make this.

Simple Curry, takes less than 10 minutes to make this.

I made a simple no onion, no garlic mangodi-matar. It’s so quick, that I put that wok on fire just 10 minutes before we sat for lunch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mangodi
  • 1 cup fresh peas, you can use frozen too.
  • 1 tsp ghee/clarified butter
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • a pinch of hing/asafetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder, salt to taste
  • lots of fresh coriander to garnish

Method

First, heat an empty thick bottomed pan, dry roast the mangodis, till they are slightly brown. I usually do it on an iron tawa/flat griddle(used for making rotis). Keep turning the nuggets else they will not brown uniformly. Once done, keep aside.

In a deep pan, heat ghee. Once hot, splutter cumin seeds, add hing/asafoetida. Throw in the peas, along with salt, turmeric, red chili powder and little water. Once the peas are almost done, add 2 cups of boiling water( I have a kettle, so it works faster for me). Add the mangodis, give it a mix, and let it boil for another 4-5 minutes. The lentil nuggets absorb water and swell up. Making sure it is not completely dry, you can switch the flame off.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Best when served hot with phulkas/puffed chappathis.

No onions, no garlic

No onions, no garlic

It is advisable not to mix too much with your ladle once the mangodis are inside. The nuggets tend to break and mash. We don’t want that. The curry should show the mangodis in their distinct shape, as my mom says.

yummy Bite

yummy Bite

This is a perfect recipe for days when you want to cook without onions and garlic or when you’re just too lazy to make something fancy. With hardly any chopping required, mangodi matar proves to be scrumptious and filling.