Soul Food – Two Traditional Indian Sweet Gruels – Atta Lapsi and Besan Seera


There is nothing like hot, aromatic, flavourful food on winter days. When it comes to sweets there are many which are my favorite winter desserts like various halwas, Jalebi, kheers, gulab jamun etc. but when I am battling cough and cold I crave for besan seera and atta lapsi, two traditional sweet gruels which are full of health and taste.

Many of my childhood memories are associated with these sweet dishes especially of the days when I was fighting a bad cough and cold at the beginning of winter and would long for hot seera from mom’s kitchen while sitting in a cozy quilt at night. Slowly I would sip or eat spoonfuls of it and doze off into blissful sleep. It is one of the sure shot home remedies for cough and cold, best to be eaten at night before sleeping. Soothes the throat and warms the body in a jiffy.

Many variations of lapsi and seera are made across the country, these two recipes are the basic ones that I make for my family. These traditional Indian desserts are not just sweet dishes but tried and tested home cure too. So who doesn’t want soul food on such difficult days 🙂

Atta Lapsi 

Made from whole wheat flour this lapsi has a good amount of complex carbohydrates for instant energy. It has other nutritional benefits too which you can Google. Some people call this dessert Atta halwa or whole wheat pudding because of its smooth velvety pudding like texture but I prefer to make it like a gruel like it was made in olden days.Rural folks still call it lapsi but now a days one doesn’t hear this word so often.  Lapsi can be made with ragi flour too and it tastes equally delicious.

For whole wheat Lapsi/Lapsee you will need:

Whole Wheat Flour – 1/2 cup

Sugar or Jaggery – 1/2 cup or less ( depends on how sweet you want it)

Water -2 cups (depends on how flowy you like it)

Black peppercorns – 6-7 crushed

Black cardamom seeds –  1/4 teaspoon crushed

To make Atta Lapsi 

First place a heavy bottom wok or pan on the stove.

Add wheat flour and dry roast it on low medium heat till it starts giving a nice aroma and the colour turns to golden almond brown. Add the crushed spices and stir. Black peppercorn and black cardamom are helpful in alleviating the symptoms of many respiratory ailments including  cold, cough or a congested chest.

Now slowly add the water stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed. Keep stirring till the mixture it smooth and gets the required texture and consistency. You can reduce or increase the amount of water as per your need. I like to keep the lapsi gruel like).  Add sugar/ grated jaggery at this point.

This recipe doesnt not require any oil or ghee(clarified butter).

Keep the flame low and cover the pan with lid for a few minutes.

Turn off the heat and serve hot.

You can add raisins and other dry fruits in it if you are making it as a dessert. Keep the consistency pudding like for the halwa.

Besan ka Seera 

 

Besan seera is one of the more popular dishes used as a home remedy for cough and common cold. This dish is gluten-free and very nutritious. Gram flour is made by finely grinding the chickpeas and is rich in protein , folate, thiamine, B6 and other vitamins,  and minerals like iron, magnesium etc. Spices like cardamom and black peppercorns are beneficial in curing many respiratory ailments including chest congestion, cold etc. I put both green and black cardamoms in this dish. Both are a good source of many nutrients like iron, manganese, essential volatile oils, calcium, magnesium etc. and they add a nice flavor to the dessert.

 

 

For Besan Seera you will need :

Besan (Gram flour) – 1/2 cup

Sugar – 1/2 cup

Ghee/ Clarified butter – 1/4 cup

Water – 2 cups

Green Cardamom seeds –  two pinches of powdered seeds

Black Cardamom seeds – two pinches of powdered seeds

 

To make Besan Seera 

Keep a heavy bottom pan or wok on medium heat. Once the pan is hot add ghee / clarified butter and warm it up. Turn the heat low once the ghee is hot then add besan/ gram flour to it and roast it till it starts giving a nice aroma and turns brown in color.

Make sure the flour doesn’t burn or get over roasted. You will be able to make out from the distinct aroma when its done.

Stir in the powdered spices.

Now slowly add water to it and keep stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed. The mixture should have a smooth velvety texture. Add or reduce water to match the consistency you need.  I like to keep it gruel like so I can sip or eat with a spoon whichever way I like.

Note– You can use milk 2 cups in case of dry cough without much mucus or use water 2 cups if there is a lot of persistent mucus with cough. I avoid milk in both the cases.

Add sugar and stir properly.  Turn off the heat and serve hot.

You need to sip it spoon by spoon before going to bed at night. Make sure you don’t get up after having it. Just cozy up and sleep. 🙂 This is if you are suffering from cold, cough and chest congestion.

You can always make this delicious sweet dish any time throughout winter and enjoy it by adding crushed almonds, raisins etc to it.

I hope you like these rustic desserts and make your winter sumptuous. Let me know your experiences.  If you have any variations to these recipes please post them in the comment section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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