The tastier alternative to layering up in the winters, is cooking a deliciously healthy dish that has wonderfully body-warming properties. In Ayurveda, food can be divided into cooling, warming or neutral groups depending on its effect on our body temperature. In winter, our body works overtime to maintain a comfortable temperature so as to remain at harmony with the elements. Which means it needs more food and energy to keep going. And ingredients like Bajra or Pearl Millet top the warming chart, simply because it is full of starch that converts into energy, increases blood circulation and hence raises body temperature.
In many parts of India which experience cold waves, Bajra is an essential part of the winter diet. Apart from its warming nature, it is a high source of iron, protein, fibre and it helps in better absorption of nutrition. During the colder months, it is also preferred as it breaks down slowly, making you feel full for a longer time and hence less lethargic. It also helps keep in increasing haemoglobin levels high and lowering cholesterol. Rich in Vitamin B, it is particularly well-suited to maintain a healthy nervous system. And best of all, it is gluten free and a wonderful source of nutrition for those with gluten intolerance or simply looking to follow a gluten-free diet.
Here is a classic recipe for Bajra Khichdi or Pearl Millet Porridge that helps you add this superfood to your diet, keep you warm and boost your immunity levels-
- 1 cup Pearl Millet (Bajra)
- 1 cup Split Gram
- 1 tbsp Clarified Butte r(Ghee)
- 1/2 tsp Asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp Ground Garam Masala
- 1-2 Dried Red Chillies
- 2-3 Green Chillies (optional)
- Salt to taste
HOW TO PREPARE:
Soak the Millet overnight or at least for 8 hours in water.
1) Mix the Millet with Split Gram in a pressure cooker, add 5 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt.
2) On a medium flame, pressure-cook the lentils take it off the flame after 3-4 air pressure whistles.
3) For the tempering, in a heavy-base wok, heat the Clarified Butter on medium flame.
4) Add Cumin seeds, Asafoetida and Red chillies.
5) Once they crackle, add Turmeric powder, Cumin powder and Garam Masala powder to the mixture.
6) Add the pressure-cooked millet-gram mix to the tempering and adjust spices to taste.
7) Mix gently and cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes and serve hot.