Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Main Dish, Millet Recipes, Vegan

Bajra Khichdi

Bajra is good for diabetics and helps maintain blood glucose levels. It has high fiber content and makes you full for a longer period of time thus reducing the tendency to snack. It is also good for the heart and reduces acidity problems. What’s more? Bajra can help you reduce weight. Bajra rotlas and bhakris are famous in the North.

Instead of rice and wheat, which is normally eaten thrice a day, I try to include bajra and ragi in my meals at least 3-4 times in a week, mostly as dosas. Bajra khichdi is something that I have picked up from Tarla Dalal’s recipe collection. Quick and nutritious yet super easy to make.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIngredients:
Bajra / Pearl millet – 1/2 cup
Yellow split mung dal – 1/2 cup
Oil / ghee – 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Tej pata /Bay leaf – 1 piece (optional)
Cinnamon / Dalchini – 1/2-inch piece (optional)
Hing powder / Asafoetida – 1/2 tsp
Haldi / Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves finely chopped – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 1

Method:
Wash and soak bajra in water overnight (8 hours). To increase the nutritive value, if you plan in advance, can even sprout the bajra. To sprout bajra, wash bajra, and soak in water for 8 hours. Drain all the water and keep the wet bajra in the same vessel. Keep it closed. You will notice sprouts in a day or 2. Wash sprouted bajra thoroughly, drain, and keep aside. Wash mung dal, drain and combine with the bajra. Add two cups of water (double of the combined quantity of bajra and mung dal) and pressure cook for four whistles. Allow the steam to escape naturally before opening the lid.
Heat oil/ghee in a kadai and add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds crackle, add asafoetida, tej pata, dalchini, and turmeric powder. Turn off the fire. Add this to the cooked bajra and moong dal. Add salt and black pepper powder. Mix well. You can garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with raita.

Recipe courtesy: Tarla Dalal

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Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Main Dish, Millet Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Steamed Barnyard Millet Dumplings (Odalu Kozhukatai)

Kodo rice milletRecently there has been a hype about health foods like quinoa. Why look at videshi options when we have plenty of easily accessible, swadeshi, and cost effective options? Ragi, bajra, jowar, kodon, and the list goes on. Our villagers survived solely on millets before rice and wheat took over. For the same reason, during those times, lifestyle diseases were unheard of and people were healthy, energetic, and lived long and strong.
Barnyard millet

Millets have much more calcium, protein, and iron than rice and wheat. These poor man’s grains are high in fiber, rich in minerals, low fat, and gluten free also. Millets are not just good for you but for the environment as well. Millets can grow in dry lands and even in poor soil quality. They need only one-fifth to one-tenth of the water that rice and wheat cultivation needs. As if these reasons werent enough, most millets are grown organically because they are naturally pest-resistant! Can you beat that?
So it is established that millets are miracle grains. Now what? How do we include them in our diet? Earlier I had written about sprouted ragi dosa and sprouted bajra dosa. To break the dosa monotony, here are steamed dumplings made of barnyard millet. Simple, easy to make, and great for health.

IngredientsIngredients:
Barnyard Millet/Odalu/Varagarisi – 1 cup
Water – 2-1/2 cups
Onion – 1 (optional)
Carrot – 1 small (optional)
Green chilies – 3
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Oil – 1 tsp
Asafetida – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Chana dal – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Serves 3-4

Method:
Wash the millet in water thoroughly. Drain and keep aside. Peel and chop onion and carrots finely. Slit the green chilies. On a thick bottom pan, pour oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to crackle, add urad dal and chana dal. When the dals turn red, add slit green chilies, asafetida, curry leaves, and chopped onion. When the onion turns pink, add finely chopped carrots. Saute for two minutes. Add 2-1/2 cups of water. Add salt. When the water starts boiling, stir in the washed millet. Keep stirring until it thickens. When the water has reduced and the millet, vegetable, and water mixture has become thick like upma, turn off the fire. Add the grated coconut. Mix well and let it cool. At this point the millet is half cooked.

When the cooked millet mixture has cooled down, take handfuls of the mixture and make small balls.

Dumplings

Place on an idli stand and steam for about 10-15 mins.

Steamed barnyard millet dumplings

I prefer serving steamed barnyard millet dumplings with sambar for a tangy combination. You can serve it with coconut chutney. Little ones can have it with sugar also.

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Breakfast, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Millet Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Sprouted Ragi Dosa

A variety of grains are cultivated in India. The best way to taste and experience grain varieties is to travel through villages. Rice and wheat (which is what most people in the city consume) is a luxury for most villagers. Villagers survive on cheaper millets such as bajra (pearl millet), jowar (sorghum), nachni (finger millet/ragi), etc. Generally labeled as food for the poor, these humble yet powerhouse grains rich in minerals are the secret to the villagers’ health and longevity. These grains are diabetic-friendly and gluten-free too!

Ragi is staple food of many villages in south India and Maharashtra. Ragi is the first solid food that is given to most South Indian kids. Ragi is rich in calcium and an excellent source of fiber. Most families living in villages include ragi in some form or the other in their everyday meal. Authentic Karnataka ragi recipes include Ragi Mudde and Ragi Roti. Bakhri of Maharashtra is an equivalent of ragi roti of Karnataka. City markets have sophisticated items like ragi cookies, biscuits, khakra, and even ragi puttu powder! Popped ragi powder called ragi huri hittu is also something found in city markets and can be used to make sweets. Ragi malt drink is a popular in many Udupi restaurants. Ragi dosa is also popular although not very commonly seen in restaurants.

Ragi dosa

One way of making ragi dosa is to get readymade ragi flour from the market and make instant ragi dosas that do not require fermentation. But I wanted to make it using whole grains and try sprouting the grain. The process is time consuming but the taste and feeling of satisfaction makes it a truly worthy experience. Sprouting ragi takes roughly 32 hours (depending on the climate in your region). This dosa batter needs fermentation. So plan for your sprouted ragi dosa at least 2 days in advance.

Ingredients:
For Batter:
Ragi – 1 cup
Raw rice – 2 cups (I used unpolished red raw rice)
Urad dal – 3/4 cup
Salt to taste

For Mixing In Batter:
Chopped onion – ½ cup
Green chilly – 2
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup

For Dosa:
Cooking Oil as needed

Method:
Sprouted RagiSprouting Ragi:
Wash and clean the ragi grains in water. Soak the grain overnight/8 hrs in a wide mouthed vessel. Colder climates may need more soaking time. After 8 hrs of soaking, remove excess water. Close the vessel using a thin wet cotton cloth. Leave it to rest for 10-12 hrs or up to 24 hrs. Within 10-12 hrs, you will notice sprouts appearing. The length of the sprouts will depend on the climate in your region. Since it’s cold at this time here, I could get only tiny sprouts.

IngredientsRoughly 6 hrs before you want to make the batter, soak 2 cups of raw rice and 3/4 cup of urad dal separately. After 6 hrs, drain excess water. When your ragi sprouts are also ready, it’s time to make the batter.

Making batter:
Grind the urad dal to a smooth paste. Then grind raw rice and sprouted ragi and mix with ground urad dal. Add salt. Mix well using your hand (this aids in fermentation). Leave undisturbed overnight (8-10 hrs). Fermentation causes batter to rise. Ensure that you choose a vessel that has some space to allow the batter to rise. After 8-10 hrs the batter would have risen and is ready to be used.

BatterChop onions, curry leaves, coriander leaves, and green chilies finely. Add to the sprouted ragi dosa batter. Crush cumin seeds and add it to the batter. If you like the plain variety, you could avoid this step. Mix well.

Making ragi dosaMaking Dosa:
Heat an iron griddle. When the griddle is adequately hot, turn fire to low, pour a drop of oil on the griddle, and spread it around using a cotton cloth. Take a ladle full of batter and using the flat bottom part of the ladle to spread the batter. Close the dosa on the griddle using a lid. Since raw rice is used in this batter, closing it with a lid aids in dosa getting cooked faster and makes it soft yet crispy. Turn the heat up to medium and cook the dosa for about half a minute. Remove the lid. When you see that the dosa edges have turned crisp and leaves the sides, drizzle half a teaspoon oil and flip over. Cook the other side for about half a minute. Remove from fire. Serve with sambhar, chutney, or podi. When served with sambhar, sprouted ragi dosa becomes a healthy and wholesome meal. Try experimenting and including this poor man’s grain in your diet. Benefits are many!

Breakfast, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Millet Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Bajra Dosa

A healthy, nutritious, protein dosa made from sprouted bajra.

Ingredients:

sprouted bajra and urad dalFor batter:
Bajra whole grain (millet, kambu): 2 cups
Urad dal: 1 cup
Salt to taste

For dosa:
Gingely oil/groundnut oil : 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 24 hrs.

Cooking Time: 5min.

Method:
Wash and soak bajra overnight/8 hrs. Drain the water and leave it as is for half an hour to one hour. Take a clean cotton cloth and put the bajra in this cloth and cover. Sprinkle water on this cotton cloth and ensure that it is wet. After about 12-15 hrs, you can see nice sprouts. Soak urad dal in water for about 4 hrs. Grind sprouted bajra and urad dal together to make a fine paste. Add salt and water and dilute. The batter should be of the normal dosa batter consistency. You can ferment the batter if preferred.

Place the griddle on the stove. Heat griddle and pour about a full ladle of batter on to the griddle. Spread the batter around carefully using the bottom of the ladle. Cook in medium flame for about 30-40 sec. When the edges get crisp, pour 1 tsp oil, and flip over the dosa. Lower the flame and cook for around 15 seconds. Remove dosa from the girdle. Protein dosa is ready. Serve with hot sambhar or chutney.

Trivia:
Bajra is packed with nutrients and minerals. Sprouted bajra dosa is rich in proteins and is good for the colon. This is a very good way for vegetarians to include protein in their diet.

You can make this dosa without sprouting the bajra also. The taste remains more or less same, only the nutrition quotient will be less compared to the sprouted dosa.

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