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Friday, November 27, 2020

Enjoy winter’s bounty with beetroot amla soup and radish millet kebabs

A comforting dinner platter to soothe your tastebuds with tons of health benefits alongside

Written by Shalini Rajani | New Delhi | November 22, 2020 1:20:10 pm
millets kebab, bajra kebab, amla soup, beetroot soup, shalini rajani, crazy kadchi shalini rajaniWould you like to try this recipe? (Photo: Shalini Rajani/Designed by Shambhavi Dutta)

Each of my participants can vouch for the fact that whenever I conduct an online cooking workshop with millets, I cover more recipes than what I mention in the menu. I detail them out to the extent that each participant can easily improvise. If I teach more than a hundred recipes, my participants improvise to make that menu even larger.

But more than the number, it is always about how well we can improvise and enjoy the freedom of choosing millets for our health. That’s what is bringing millet into your everyday diet really means. After having interacted with so many people from many cultures across the world, I try to stress upon the techniques more than just finishing the recipes.

The free webinar on ‘Millet Basics and More’ yesterday had an amazing audience of 162 participants. I shared information that could help them start their culinary journey; because millets are for everyone, if you understand how to cook them rightly.

ALSO READ | Mindful celebration to mindful eating: Bajra dodoh for your quick lunch ideas

I am coming up with my next online ‘5-day millet workshop’ spread across six weeks from November 29, and you can reach out to my Instagram just in case you need any information about it.

But before that, here’s a comforting dinner platter that you may want to try. I keep sharing a lot of ideas with my WhatsApp groups, and they come up with thousands of renditions of each technique that they learn in the online millet workshop.

This beetroot amla (Indian gooseberry) soup has been a hit with my family and my daughter loves it before dinner each day. Many times, we keep our dinner simple with some millet kebabs as sides and a small portion of her favourite thing. Yesterday it was vegetable pasta for her and I was not guilty about it because she had a good amount of bajra (pearl millet), radish, beetroot and gooseberry, too. Sometimes, the shortcuts are good if your knowledge about nutrients is handy.

Read more for the step-by-step recipe and the health benefits of these easy dinner platters.

 ALSO READ | With a nip in the air, bajra soup makes a comeback in my kitchen

Beetroot amla soup and radish millet kebabs

Beetroot amla soup bowl. (Photo: Dr Rashmi Naik)

For the soup:

Ingredients (serves 3)

  • 1 big desi tomato or 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 2 amlas (Indian gooseberry)
  • 1 medium beetroot or 1/2 large beetroot
  • Around 200 gm (bottle gourd/pumpkin/carrot/yam/sweet potato/or any one veggie of similar texture)
  • 12-15 spinach leaves (I used homegrown)
  • 6-7 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 2-inch raw turmeric
  • Coriander or mint leaves to garnish
  • 4 cups water
  • Rock salt to taste
  • Black/white pepper for seasoning
  • 1 tsp butter or extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (optional)

Method:

  1. Wash all the veggies nicely and steam them. Make sure the water in the lowest tier is optimum to give you three servings of the soup.
  2. You can even decide to pressure-cook them with optimum water; however, steamed veggies will retain nutrients and would taste much better.
  3. Once all the veggies are steamed, allow them to cool.
  4. Mash all with the help of a potato masher and you may need to grate steamed ginger and raw turmeric.
  5. Mix them all and pass it through a sieve directly to the lower most tier with residual water.
  6. You will have three servings of soup.
  7. Bring it to a boil, add rock salt and pepper.
  8. Serve hot with a small drizzle of butter or extra virgin olive oil on top. If using olive oil, you can even add a few drops of fresh lemon juice.
  9. Garnish with any fresh herbs available.
  10. You can always improvise this soup with the addition of millet flour as explained in my recent bajra soup recipe.

Millet mooli kebabs with balsamic vinegar

Serve it fresh and enjoy! (Photo: Shalini Rajani)

Ingredients: (makes 10 kebabs)

  • ½ cup boiled bajra pearls (overnight soaked and boiled pearl millet)
  • ½ medium sized radish steamed and grated
  • ½ cup very finely chopped radish greens with stalks
  • 1 tbsp gram flour for binding
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Rock salt to taste
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • ¼ dried herbs
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp any cold pressed oil to grease and smear the kebabs

Method:

  1. Thoroughly wash and soak ½ cup pearl millet for 8-10 hours.
  2. Once nicely soaked, boil the millet with a bit of rock salt and turmeric. Once boiled, sieve it and keep it aside.
  3. Steam a small size radish (peeled) and finely-grate it.
  4. Now in a deep bowl, mix all the ingredients except for salt and oil. Cover the mixture and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Mix it again as it will start coming together as a dough. You can add more gram flour if required for binding. Add salt at this stage.
  6. Preheat your oven at 220-degree Celsius at grill mode or air-fryer at 180-degree Celsius.
  7. Divide the mixture in 10 equal parts and start forming patties.
  8. Brush them with oil and grill them or air-fry them for 10-12 minutes till they come out crisp from both the sides.
  9. Serve hot with your favourite dip.

Health benefits of beetroot, amla and bajra (pearl millet)

Packed with essential nutrients, beetroots are a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

Gooseberries (amla) are nutritious, low-calorie fruits that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If you have been following my Instagram stories, you would know every day my family consumes beetroot amla soup. Today, I just shared the recipe.

The health benefits include lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, as well as a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and age-related illnesses of the brain; with good vitamin C, it boosts immunity, too.

Bajra is a good grain to have in your diet. It has high amounts of fiber and aids digestion. It also lowers your bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol in your system and is, therefore, good for your cardiovascular health. It is rich in antioxidants and can prevent the occurrence of cancer, particularly breast cancer. It can help prevent asthma. It is good for your muscular system and is known for its high vitamin B content, which allows it to break down the carbohydrates and fat in your body. Furthermore, it also helps prevent celiac disease.

(Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and as a Millet Coach, she holds innovative Millets Cooking Workshops for all age groups)

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