Samak chawal ki kheer
Barnyard millets or samak chawal, cooked with milk, sugar, cardamoms, nuts and raisins. A tasty and nourishing Millet and Milk Pudding. It’s gluten-free and packed with nutrients and the sweet goodness of the festive season.
This is certainly my favorite time of year, as late summer turns to Autumn, the colors of flora around start transforming into warm and wonderful hues, the air gets nippy, and yes, it’s the beginning of the festive season. There’s Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving and the Holidays. And in the context of festivities in India, there’s the nine-day Navratris, which is on right now, culminating into Dussehra and then Diwali. In the spirit of celebration, food is always in the spotlight too.
In the works today in my kitchen, is a special Indian dessert made during the Navratris or the nine nights of celebration dedicated to the Mother Goddess or Shakti. Apart from feasting, these nine days are a period of fasting too, and there are many do’s and don’t’s when it comes to what to eat and what not to eat. On the menu today, is of course what one can eat during these days, a fulfilling and nourishing millet and milk pudding. It’s simple to make and delicious to eat!
Servings : 6-8
Barnyard millets or samak chawal – 1/2 cup
Sugar – 1/2 to 3/4 cup
8-10 whole almonds
5-6 green cardamoms
1 tbsp. raisins
Whole milk – 1 litre
A pinch saffron strands
Soak the millets in water for about 20 minutes.
Soak the whole almonds in water for a few hours. Peel skin and slice. Alternatively, one can use store-bought slivered almonds.
Remove the seeds of the cardamoms and crush them to a powder.
Soak the saffron in a tablespoon of warm milk.
In a heavy bottomed deep pan or Dutch oven, bring the milk to a boil. Stir continuously at regular intervals. Drain the millets. Once the milk comes to a boil, add the millets, lower the heat to low. Stir well, and keep stirring regularly, so that no clumps are formed.
The millets cook fast, about 20 minutes. Mid-way, add the raisins and cardamoms.
Once the millets are cooked and the milk is thickened, add the sugar. Taste to check the level of sweetness, can add more too, if required. Remove from heat and stir well. Add the saffron strands.
Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with slivered almonds. Serve chilled.