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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Try these beetroot-pumpkin barley fritters for your mood and immunity

Last Sunday, when it rained, I decided to rustle up these fritters to elevate my happiness as well as immunity. Read more for the step by step recipe.

Written by Shalini Rajani | New Delhi |
June 14, 2020 10:30:48 am
There’s much focus on immunity-building and superfoods. (Photo: Shalini Rajhani)

In the midst of digital commitments and real-life struggles, have you found a reason for cheer? Lockdown or unlock, we have started contributing to the good vibes this world needs, cherishing little joys and sharing the rainbows spotted from our windows. Amidst social distancing, there’s an invisible string of love and positivity connecting us all. And as we grow and learn, we are also blossoming against all odds.

If you’ve noticed, even our choices about kitchen ingredients are evolving. These days, my online millet cooking workshops are keeping me busy. And as I customise menus for participants from different countries, cultures, food habits and health conditions, I see the acceptance for millets and a whole lot of superfoods has become an effortless cycle. Everyone wants to learn interesting ways to bring these immunity foods into our daily menu.

Superfoods like beetroot, pumpkin, raw turmeric, carrots, amaranth, bell peppers, etc, are making their way into many kitchens. And these are the foods that have always been an integral part of my millet workshops, enhancing my recipes in terms of taste and appearance. Be it salads, soups, desserts, dips, mocktails, main course or even starters. During these online sessions, I am witnessing the revival of this long-lost love for healthy ingredients. More than the fear, it is the awareness bestowed upon us through this pandemic.

I am glad I have been experimenting a lot with these pinks, yellows and greens of the superfood world. From immunity drinks to gravies with pumpkin (you can refer to my book Quarantine Cuisine on Amazon), from basic kadis to croquettes, from these fritters to even colourful mocktails, there’s a lot that I love to share through my online cooking classes.

Last Sunday, when it rained, I decided to rustle up these fritters to elevate my happiness as well as immunity. Read more for the step by step recipe and enjoy this healthy treat while staying safe in your beautiful nests.


Ingredients: (Serves 4)

1 cup – Chickpeas (soaked overnight or 8-10 hours)
½ cup – Grated beetroot
½ cup – Grated pumpkin (yellow)
2 tbsp – Barley millet flour
1-inch – Raw turmeric
1-inch – Ginger
2-3 – Garlic cloves
A few fresh mint leaves
A pinch of asafoetida (heeng)
¼ tsp – Pre-roasted cumin seeds (jeera)
¼ tsp – Pre-roasted coriander seeds (dhania)
1 – Medium size green chilli (optional)
1 tbsp – Fresh lemon juice
Rock salt to taste
Oil to fry


1. In a mixer grinder, process together soaked and drained chickpeas along with raw turmeric, ginger, garlic, mint leaves, heeng, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, green chilli along with very less water to keep the mixture firm and not runny. Please make sure the mixture should be coarse and not too fine.

2. Transfer the mixture in a bowl and now add grated beetroot, grated pumpkin, millet flour, rock salt and lemon juice. Mix it all well.

3. Check for water, add if required.

4. Leave the mixture for 15 minutes. In the meantime, you can heat oil in a deep iron wok. Oil should be just enough to half immerse the fritters.

5. Barley flour helps in binding, but in any case, if you find the fritters splitting up in the oil, you may add more flour. Adjust spices accordingly.

6. Please note you can always bake or air fry these fritters but once in a while you can enjoy this monsoon treat with all healthy ingredients.

7. Serve hot with your favourite chutney or dip.

Health benefits of barley millet, pumpkin, beetroot, raw turmeric and chickpeas.

Barley millet boosts immunity as it is rich in vitamin B, potassium, selenium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, antioxidants and fibre. It also has a very low glycaemic index making it perfect for weight-loss regimes.

Pumpkin is rich in antioxidants that boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers and promote heart and skin health.

Beetroot is packed with Vitamins A, C, K, beta-carotene, polyphenols, antioxidants and folate, all of which helps to boost blood count and immunity. Consumption of beetroot helps lower blood pressure. Beetroot has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties that help flush out toxins from the body, which reflects in healthy and glowing skin.

Chickpeas are very high in vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein. Their health benefits range from weight management to blood sugar control.

Raw turmeric has many scientifically proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It also improves the symptoms of depression and arthritis.

Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative and healthy cooking workshops for all age groups.

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