The rhythmic beats of the dhol and tasha act as alarm clocks, waking the city to the surreal energy of celebrations. Lord Ganesha has arrived. And the city is abuzz with zeal and enthusiasm. As the family gets ready for the morning Puja, an irresistibly sweet aroma permeates the home. Modak: Ganesha’s favourite delicacy.
We eagerly wait to bite into the white dumpling stuffed with jaggery and coconut and steamed to perfection. Add a dollop of ghee on it, and let the feast begin.
Here’s a kickstart for your journey towards a healthy diet. Buy your choice of millet grains, ready-to-make batters or ragi snacks on our shop here.
My mouth is already watering at just the thought of eating steaming hot Modaks, and while I salivate, why don’t you read about the five sweets you must prepare this festive season.
Keeping in mind your health, we have brought together recipes that use millets. But worry not, your sweets are going to be just as delicious and what’s better, healthier! Guilt-free sweet binge? Count me in!
Millet Modak/ Kozhukattai
How could I not begin with a Modak recipe? This pearl millet (bajra) recipe was shared by TBI reader Vijaya Venkatesh, who runs a website called The Millet Table (TMT).
She recently shared a tasty millet breakfast recipe with us which you can read here.
For the dough:
1 cup bajra/Kambu flour
1 cup water
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup powdered jaggery
1/8 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp ghee (for a vegan version, replace ghee with oil)
- Add the water, oil and salt (dough ingredients) in a 2-litre pressure cooker and cook for one whistle.
- Release the pressure manually. Carefully add the bajra flour and mix until the blend resembles wet sand. That is your cue to cover the cooker with the lid and leave it that way for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of water and jaggery powder in a pan. Heat it till it becomes thick. Add the grated coconut and cardamom powder and one tablespoon of ghee (or oil).
- Cook it till it comes together like a ball. Switch off the stove and let the mixture cool.
- After 20 minutes, open the pressure cooker. Grease your fingers with ghee/ oil and gently knead the dough.
- Take out enough dough to make gooseberry-sized balls. Press them flat, add the coconut/ jaggery filling, cover it by giving a good shape to the modaks.
- Steam them in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes. Cool and serve!
Ragi Vermicelli Payasam/ Kheer
Arka Pudota’s YouTube channel, Millet Mantra features amazingly simple recipes featuring the ancient grain. The 15-year-old has uploaded several recipe videos from breakfast to desserts. If you wish to read about him, click on this link. And if you are excited about the Payasam recipe, watch the video.
Ragi Dates Laddu
Another culinary marvel by Vijaya, this laddu recipe is a perfect prasad option. Especially if you are making something in bulk and/or in a short period of time. This recipe takes about 20 minutes for a serving of two people and depending upon the guests you are expecting, you can increase the quantity of each ingredient.
What you will need:
1 and 1/2 cups ragi flour
1 and 1/2 cups deseeded dates
1/4 cup ghee
1 Tsp cardamom powder
- Dry roast ragi flour till it gets a nice aroma.
- Dry roast the seeds on low heat until they become crisp.
- Chop the dates and dry-fruits into small pieces.
- Add the roasted seeds and dry-fruits in a blender and grind till it becomes a coarse powder. Now add the chopped dates and grind again.
- Lastly, add the ragi flour, ghee, cardamom powder and grind again so that everything is mixed evenly.
- Once you are satisfied with the texture, take out enough mixture to make a lemon-sized laddu, press firmly between your palms and roll them into a ball. Your Ragi dates laddus are ready to roll! (Pun unintended)
Known by names like Puranpoli in Maharashtra, Holige in Central Karnataka, Obbattu in North Karnataka and Bobbatlu in Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu etc, this dessert is a hot favourite on special occasions. And Ganesh Chaturthi is one of them. This season, make it with jowar (sorghum).
Ingredients you will need:
For the stuffing:
1 cup Bengal gram dal (soaked)
1 cup date syrup
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
4 cups of water
For the roti/poli:
1 cup jowar flour
½ cup groundnuts or peanuts
½ cup besan flour
¼ cup flaxseed powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Water as required
For the stuffing:
- Soak the Bengal gram dal for an hour. Strain the water (you can water your plants with it)
- Boil the soaked dal until it becomes soft. When you get the desired result, mix the date syrup and cardamom powder so it spreads out evenly. Your stuffing is prepared.
For the poli:
- Blend the groundnuts till it turns into peanut butter. (It’s a magical process)
- Boil 1.5 cups of water. When it reaches the optimum temperature, add 1 cup jowar flour and mix well. When the mixture is even, switch off the stove.
- Add ½ cup besan flour and peanut butter, turmeric powder and flaxseed powder. Knead until it becomes a smooth dough. (The dough will feel slightly oily).
- Try rolling a bit of the mixture into a ball. If it doesn’t break, you are good to go.
Preparing the Puranpoli:
- Dust some jowar flour on the kitchen counter and your hands. Take one dough ball and roll it into a small roti.
- Take one or two teaspoons of the stuffing and place it at the centre of the roti. Cover it with the roti so it envelopes the stuffing. Make sure that the stuffing is right in the middle and that the dough is pressed tightly so the stuffing doesn’t fall out.
- Dust some flour onto the ball and carefully roll it into a poli or a Holige.
- On a well-heated pan, smear a drop of oil and clean it up. You just need to grease the pan, nothing more. Place the roti on the pan and sprinkle a little bit of water on it. Turn the roti over when the water dries. When both sides are cooked perfectly, your Puranpoli/ Holige is ready.
- Add a teaspoon of ghee and serve hot.
Vijaya shares her recipe to make the South Indian sweet called Kesari. Traditionally, the sweet is made using rava or sooji. However, she has replaced this ingredient with little millet rava and what’s more, Vijaya says that replacing the ghee with coconut oil will make the recipe vegan too!
1/4 cup little millet
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 big pinch of cardamom powder
1 big pinch of kesari colour
3 tablespoon ghee
1.5 tablespoon water for sugar syrup
- We need millet rava/ grit for the Kesari recipe. You can make this at home by taking one cup of the millet and grinding it in a mixer. Make sure you do it in short pulses and not continuously. That’s it. Your rava is ready. Sieve it.
- Now to make the Kesari, take a 2-litre pressure cooker and arrange ingredients in the following order- first goes the water. Then spread the millet Rava on it evenly. Add colour, cardamom powder and 1 tablespoon ghee (or coconut oil).
- In a small steel tumbler, add sugar and 1.5 tbsp water. Let it melt completely. You can even use powdered sugar to quicken the process. Place this as a pot-in-pot in the cooker.
- Cook for 3 whistles. Open after the pressure settles down.
- Pour the sugar syrup to the cooked millet along with the remaining 2 tbsp ghee. Give a good mix. If you wish, garnish with cashews, almonds or other dry fruits and serve!
Feature image source: Wikimedia Commons.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)
We at The Better India want to showcase everything that is working in this country. By using the power of constructive journalism, we want to change India – one story at a time. If you read us, like us and want this positive movement to grow, then do consider supporting us via the following buttons: