Finally the weather is changing ... the temperature is rising but not as much as in India. Somehow I love the "Indian Summer" because of all the special goodies and dishes that glorify summer.
Mangoes, water melons, goose berries, tender coconuts, ice apples flood the market and the scent of each fruit pulls fills the air with such a refreshing feel.
Food and eating patterns have specific meaning in Indian society and summer is the best time that truly reflects this deep rooted practice. Certain dishes are cooked and consumed specifically during the summer to cool the body and provide the much needed energy.
Raagi [Finger millet] and Kambhu [pearl millet] are cooked more often and consumed early in the morning before venturing into the sun. Kambhu [Bajra in Hindi] is rich in protein and minerals. It does not contain gluten, so can be consumed without any fear of allergic reactions.
The traditional method of preparing this porridge is time consuming. The pearl millet is soaked overnight. The next day it is cooked with buttermilk with proportions of 1 part millet to 3 parts buttermilk.
It takes about a couple of hours to cook the millet and needs frequent stirring. Once done the entire content is kept aside for atleast 8 hours. This is to kick start the fermentation process of the dish which gives a slight tangy taste when consumed. The usual accompaniments are pearl onions and green chillies.
This is more of a quick method of preparing the porridge where I have used pearl millet powder to prepare the drink. There are two variations - sweet and sour. I love the sour version and my daughter likes the sweet version.
For more info about the grain visit here and here
Buttermilk Pearl Millet Porridge.
Kambhu powder: 3 tbsp.
Garlic pods: 2
Buttermilk: 2 cups.
Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp.
Ginger powder: 1/4 tsp.
Salt: to taste.
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish.
1.Mix the pearl millet powder with the buttermilk, chopped garlic pods and salt in a heavy bottomed vessel and place it on medium flame.
2.Cook in medium flame stirring often until thick. This will take 12-15 minutes.
3.Remove from flame and add the cumin and ginger powder.
4.Check salt and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Sweet Pearl Millet Porridge.
Kambhu powder: 3-4 tbsp.
Cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp.
Panang kalkandu: 2 tbsp.
Thick coconut milk: 1/2 cup.
Water: 1 1/2 cups.
Sliced banana to garnish.
1.In a heavy bottomed pan mix the kambhu powder with water and cardamom powder.
2.Place the pan on medium flameand cook until thick stirring often.
3.Remove from flame and add the kalkandu. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
4.Once the porridge has cooled a bit add the coconut milk.
Garnish with sliced banana pieces and serve at room temperature.
For the sour version of the porridge - you can add sliced pearl onions and green chillies to the porridge while cooking.
You can serve it with fried mor millagai [chillies soaked in buttermilk and dried] or lemon pickle.
You can cook the porridge and leave it overnight to ferment a bit.
For the sweet version - you can add caster sugar or rock candy according to your taste.
Instead of coconut milk you can add regular cow's milk. Do not refrigerate as it tastes best at room temperature.
Scribbled by Reva