Cooking With Millets – Recipe – Jowar Ke Laddu ( Sorghum Flour Laddoo)


I have decided to do a few posts with one of the millets as a main ingredient. Millets were once part of our daily food routine but then the usage of these traditional grains slowly dwindled away as rice and wheat took over. With recent studies about rice especially polished rice and increase in gluten intolerance a lot of people are going back to cooking with millets like finger millet, pearl millet, sama etc.for healthy living. The humble grain that was always stereotyped as food for underprivileged is now making it to the health food racks of super stores. I am glad that for whatever reason ,at least the millets are back and it is a good sign. I am reading and learning more about them as I experiment more with each one.

Millets are far more nutrition dense than rice or wheat. One can pound/grind them into flour or pop them to make delicious dishes. Their use is not limited to make rotis or flatbread. They are rich in magnesium so a good choice for those with diabetics. They also have high levels of calcium, folic acid, dietary fiber, zinc, iron, B vitamins esp niacin and B6 among other things. Easy to digest, they can be eaten by all age groups.

I have started using millet flour for making pancakes, muffins, breads,  flatbread, dosa, laddus, idlis, paisam ( with sama) etc. The whole grains like bajra I use for khichadi, upma, Ragi ( finger millet) as a health drink in milk is one of my favorites. As I earlier said, the use of millets is not limited to rotis these days. I use mixed millet flour in winters to make theplas, rotis, bhakris etc.

Jowar flour ( sorghum flour) Laddus (laddoo)

Diwali is round the corner and I am making some healthy mithai these days in small quantity everyday. Today’s special is Jowar Laddoos or Sorghum flour laddoos. I used to make multi grain indian style granola or panjeeri every winter in large amount but now I make a little. I feel these laddus are more convenient to carry around and boys like them. Though the besan laddu remains a favorite  along with the wheat flour + green gram or moong bean laddu.

The good thing here is the use of unrefined organic jaggery granules which I bought from I Say Organics. Usually I use the organic flour too. Jaggery adds to the nutritive value along with dates, and a mixed bag of nuts, and seeds. You can add them as per your liking. Use of jaggery also ensures less use of fat 9 ghee) as binding agent so these are low-fat laddus.

You can use jowar pops and flour both for these. It take just about 15 minutes to make 10-15 laddus.You can use palm jaggery or the sugarcane jaggery. I use both depending on availability. The laddoos are good source of iron and that’s why highly recommended for women.

Ingredients:

Jowar ( Sorghum ) flour – 1/2 cup

Jaggery – 1/2 cup

dates –  chopped roughly 2 tablespoon

sesame seed (white ) 1 tablespoon

mixed nuts – walnuts, almonds, peanuts

Raisins – 1 tablespoon

Seeds – melon seeds or magaz – 1 tablespoon

Ghee – 2 -3 tablespoon

Method –

If you are using Jowar grains then you will need to pop them first. Heat a pan well and toss a handful of grains. Never crowd a pan for roasting grains. They won’t get roasted evenly and might get burnt too. A quarter cup of raw grain will give you a cup of popped grain so measure and use accordingly.

Alternately use the jowar flour which is easily available in winter all over India.

In a heavy bottom non stick pan dry roast the flour on slow heat. Never hurry with these things. Good dish requires patience and passion.

Once the flour starts to give out a roasted aroma and turns slightly brown remove it from the heat and keep aside.

Dry roast all the nuts and seeds separatly. Chop the dates roughly. If you are using jaggery blocks then grate or pound them a bit.

Now, In a grinder add the roasted nuts,seeds, raisins and dates and the jaggery. Grind till everything mixes into a smooth guey texture.

In a bowl , spoon the roasted jowar flour and this mixture. Mix it with your fingers. Actually rub it in.

Now heat the ghee. Once it is hot just pour it over the mixture and mix thoroughly. Quickly make lemon size balls and keep in a plate.

Your delicious power packed laddoos are ready. Let them cool and then enjoy the earthy flavours.

You can store them in air tight containers and eat one or two everyday. Children love it so encourage them to have these healthy sweets. You can carry them in your bag while travelling.

Enjoy something healthy this diwali. 

Diwali Special – Roasted Whole Wheat And Green Gram (Moong) Ladoos


No Indian festival is complete without sweets. There is a tradition to make special sweets for each festival but on Diwali one can indulge in a whole variety of them. Winter is time for healthy ladoos made from either whole wheat or gram flour. There are many varieties to make Whole wheat flour (atta) ladoos. I prefer to make them as healthy as possible with just enough clarified butter (pure ghee) to hold everything together so people of all ages can enjoy it. One can use shakkar, boora cheeni or khandsari to make these. I prefer boora cheeni because it is less sweet than normal granular sugar and healthier too.

These ladoos can be stored in air tight box for a long time and can be eaten everyday. The dry fruits and the goodness of green gram adds to the flavor of these balls of good nutrition. Green Gram is low fat protein, high fiber, low Gly-Cemic bean which helps in stabilizing sugar in blood stream. It is also a rich source of iron, vitamin B6/ B1, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin C and E and also calcium which makes it a super food. One can give these to children as snacks everyday.

Now, for the recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup whole green gram beans

1/2 cup mixed dry fruits ( raisins, shredded walnut, blanched and shredded almonds)

Clarified butter 9 pure ghee) – enough to hold everything together ( usually 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup (according to taste) Boora cheeni or powder sugar or castor sugar

1 tea spoon cardamom powder

Method :

In a heavy bottom cast iron wok dry roast the moong beans till slightly golden brown. Keep the flame very low.

Grind the roasted beans very fine in a grinder. (I used the grinding stone)

Keep the dry fruit mixture , boora cheeni and ground moong beans ready.

Now put the wok back on low flame and add whole wheat flour to it. Dry roast it slowly. This is a tedious job and one needs to constantly keep stirring the flour especially in the middle or else it will start burning. Always keep the flame very low. Roasting atta is like a sensuous passionate love making. No Indian sweet can be made without complete devotion and love. These are the ingredients which make them so mouth watering. Once the aroma of roasted atta begins to fill your senses and the color is nice and brown add the ground moong bean powder to it. Roast a little more till you get a warm light brown color.

Atta is always dry roasted unlike gram flour.

Once the wheat flour is done, remove from heat and quickly add boora cheeni. It will begin to stick to the wok so keep stirring constantly and make sure there are no lumps. Add clarified butter (pure ghee) at this stage and keep mixing.

After the mixture is nicely done add the dry fruits.

One has to make the ladoos when the mixture is warm otherwise it will start solidifying.  Make medium size balls by rolling them in your palm. Make sure there are no cracks and the balls are smooth. put a raisin on top as garnish. Place all ladoos in a thali / plate and let them cool.

Enjoy these wonderful nutritious low fat ladoos and store the rest of them in air tight box.

Have a wonderful healthy happy Deepawali. Stay blessed.

Recipe – Lauki Ki Barfi ( Bottle Gourd Fudge )


In Indian Ayurvedic medical system Bottle Gourd/ doodhi/ lauki holds a special place due to its health benefits. This is a recipe perfected by me over the years. Traditional Indian sweets require a lot of love and patience. They are time consuming but the end result is delicious. I usually avoid using Khoa which is base for many Indian sweets. I prefer to use full cream milk and reduce it on slow flame to get the same texture and the taste is much better than khoa.

Bottle Gourd is used for making kheer, halwa and barfi and here we will learn to make Bottle gourd barfi or fudge.

Ingredients :

Bottle Gourd – 2 cup grated.  Choose fresh lime green bottle gourd with a round bottom and no blemishes.

Sugar- 200 grams

Milk- 1 liter

Green cardamon powder –  1teaspoon

Almonds- Blanched and finely chopped 1/4 cup

Clarified Butter – 1/3 cup

Method :

Wash peel and grate the bottle gourd. Keep aside. Some people remove the pulp and seeds but I keep it all. One needs to take tender bottle gourd.

Heat full cream milk. Add the grated bottle gourd to it. I don’t fry the vegetable before adding milk. I feel all the juices should remain in the dish.

Keep the heavy bottom pan full of milk and bottle gourd mixture on low flame and let it simmer till the milk completely evaporates.

Add the clarified butter and keep the flame on medium. Keep stirring to avoid burning.

Let the mixture leave  sides and turn a beautiful golden brown.

A this point add sugar. I usually add sugar at later stage.

Dry up the water content after adding sugar.

Stir it till it gets a nice shade of brown.

Add almonds and remove from heat. Add cardamon powder. This should always be added in the end.

Grease a high edged plate covered with foil paper.

Pour the mixture and flatten it to form a smooth texture.

Let it cool. Once cool cut into squares or diamonds.

Garnish with almond shredding. I have skipped the garnish as mom doesn’t like it much. 😉

Serve as a dessert.