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Showing posts with label childrens recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label childrens recipes. Show all posts

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Janta Ruti : Just do'ugh' it !!












Sometime back in 2013 when I was experimenting with foods meant for my ever-hungry toddler, I discovered the 'Janta ruti', a kind of bread popular in Odisha. It was tasty, easy enough to chew, and light on the stomach too. Plus it made a perfect pair with the boiled veggies (read 'Santula' minus the 'chunka' or tempering). It became a part of our menu and stayed that way. And incredibly, it's most salient feature remained overlooked. 

But everything changed a few months back when I was reading up on research papers about gluten. Or rather how to minimize the formation of this unavoidable protein that has been haunting quite a few people. Honestly, going the sourdough route or switching to 'Gluten free' flour isn't an option for everyone. Or even switching to 'ghar ke chakki ka atta' or 'home processed flour' if I have to put it in the Indian context.

But why this growing dissent with 'gluten' which has always been present in wheat? Gluten intolerance may also have become fairly common because of changes in the way wheat is processed. Earlier, wheat was harvested, shade dried, washed down, and sun-dried before making it to the local chakki where it was ground and distributed. But increased demand has led to manufacturers bypassing all the steps between threshing and processing. Most of the packaged wheat is not properly shade dried and sun-dried - the two processes that broke down gluten (or rather glutenin as gluten comes into the picture only when after the flour is hydrated ) into smaller particles.

Preferences also play a role here. Demand for white-looking bread or 'roti' has led to the market being flooded with certain varieties like durum which have higher gluten content in comparison to varieties like 'Emmer' or 'Kaphali' which have lower gluten but are much darker in color. In spite of this selective breeding, the gluten content has remained constant over the last 120 years, although the composition of the gluten has changed slightly. While the proportion of Gliadin fell by around 18 percent, the proportion of Glutenin rose by around 25 percent. 

While it is tough to dismiss the external factors, the formation of gluten has a lot to do with how the dough is manipulated. Everything from the amount (and temperature) of water added to the dough, to the kneading technique (damn!! there are so many of them) and duration of kneading to the usage of shortening agents( term used for fats that coat the gluten components and prevent them from forming lengthy chains resulting in a flaky crumbly texture) plays a definite role.  

Somewhere in the middle of processing it all, it struck me. I was seeing the 'Janta ruti' through the lens of my newly acquired understanding. It ticked all the boxes. Temperature, hydration, and fat. The boiling water denatures the wheat proteins, limiting the formation of gluten. This makes the dough soft but not stretchy(read 'hard to tear'). Second, the hot water gelatinizes the starch allowing it to absorb more water. This makes the dough smooth and supple and a lot easier to work with. As a bonus, it stays soft long after it has cooled down. The fat, though in a limited amount, prevents the linkage of gluten strands and ensures that the dough doesn't turn sticky. Hence one ends up with a dough that is easy to work with and the end product (roti/paratha) stays soft and fresh for a longer duration. Best part? It is that it is just so much easier on the digestive system (and the jaws too).

Check the recipe of Janta Ruti - HERE

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Chattua ( Happy Janmashtami And a Tale of True Friendship )

Krishna and Sudama. Childhood friends separated over the years. The chasm in their bond thought to have widened given their disparate fortunes. But staying true to the tradition of true friendship, they did not let anything get in their way. The impoverished Sudama did not let his ego hinder him from paying a visit to his old friend who had reached the stature of a King. Nor did Krishna show any signs of an inflated self-image when he embraced the former with open arms.

No words were exchanged as to the actual purpose of Sudama's visit. And yet Krishna understood his friend's plight. The once penniless Brahmin finds himself as the owner of a palatial house on his return. Krishna did not give him occasion to lavish praise for that would have created an imbalance in their relationship. Such is the beauty of friendship. It is rightly said that we cannot choose our birth but we are free to choose our friends. So, choose wisely.

By now most of you would be wondering about the connection between this beautiful story and my recipe. Ok, let me give you a hint. One of the important components of this recipe is something that Sudama had taken as a gift when he went to visit Krishna. Bingo! It's beaten rice which is also known as pohe/avalakki/chuda in various parts of the country.

Chattua ideally refers to roasted Bengal gram flour. In large parts of Odisha, it is consumed as a porridge mixed with milk and sugar. But these days, a special kind of Chattua has overtaken the older version. A mix of roasted gram, beaten rice, cashews, milk powder, glucose biscuits and sugar goes into the making of this one. Some versions also include roasted wheat, ragi and other grains to boost the health benefits. Here is my version of 'Chattua' that I usually make in small quantities and keep in a small jar within my reach. Two to three spoonfuls is guaranteed to take care of those unwanted hunger pangs. At the same time, it can also be eaten in the regular manner with warm milk.

Read on -

















Preparation Time - 10 mins

Ingredients -
  • 2/3 cup beaten rice
  • 2/3 cup roasted bengal gram
  • 1/4 cup cashews ( substitute with almond and walnut to make it healthy )
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds
  • 1 tbsp sugar ( depends on taste so I skip adding it in mine )
  • 6-7 glucose biscuits (any brand)
  • 2 tbsp milk powder (any brand)

















Preparation -  Heat a skillet. Dry roast the beaten rice till it turns crisp. Remove and keep aside till it cools down.

Add the cashews to the same skillet. Roast till they darken faintly. Remove and keep aside till cool.

Finally add the flaxseeds to the skillet. Once they start popping remove and keep aside till cool.

Take all the ingredients in a mixer jar and grind into a powder of medium consistency.

Store in a airtight container and consume within 1-2 weeks.

















To consume as a porridge, add about 1/2 cup of this powdered mixture to 1 cup of warm milk.

















Note - Chattua can be used as a substitute of Cerelac for children older than 1 year. I have also tried the same recipe with my kid. He was ok with it till he grew bored with the porridge stuff and wanted something chew-able. 

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