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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Food for the soul: A warm winter welcome with homemade Himachali siddus

In the cold season, it can maintain an optimum body temperature, since Himachal Pradesh experiences harsh winters

Written by Shalini Rajani | New Delhi |
November 21, 2021 6:20:09 pm
Shalini Rajani, Recipe of the week, Siddu, Himachali cuisine, homemade siddu recipe, healthy eating, healthy recipes, millet, Shalini Rajani food column, indian express newsThis delectable winter food is everything you need! (Photo: Shalini Rajani)

One thing that keeps echoing in my head whenever I visit Himachal is the idea of moving to the mountains permanently. It gets stronger with every visit. And honestly, it is not always the fresh air or the fresh food, it’s the vibe of the place and its people.

Today, the story of one such visit to Shimla, Himachal Pradesh demands to be shared. I had shared about the journey to the capital of Himachal on my Instagram stories. To my surprise, one of my followers reached out and expressed her wish to meet up. Anju Nirmal Sharma ji from Kasumpti warmed my heart with a sweet and salty gesture: she surprised me with authentic homemade siddus in both sweet and salty versions.

Siddu, Himachali cuisine, Siddu recipe The sweet and salty siddu stuffing. (Photo: Shalini Rajani)

The sweet siddu was prepared with a stuffing of jaggery and nuts, while the salty variation of this classic Himachali cuisine was a mixture of chutney ingredients like mint, garlic, onions along with some poppy seeds. During our ensuing conversation about the traditional dhams (celebratory feast) from Himachal, and how recipes have been customised over the years, Anju told me the siddus she made have kodo millet flour.

I am beyond excited to share her unique, customised recipe of this dish. In the cold season, it can maintain an optimum body temperature as Himachal Pradesh experiences harsh winters.


Ingredients (for 6 big size siddus)

For siddu dough

  • 1 cup – whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup – kodo millet flour
  • Salt to taste
  • ½  tsp – instant yeast
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • 2 tbsp cow ghee
  • Lukewarm water to knead

For siddu stuffing (salty)

  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cashews and almonds
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green garlic
  • 1 medium finely chopped green chillies (optional)
  • Salt to taste

For siddu stuffing (sweet)

  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cashews and almonds
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • ½ cup crushed jaggery


1. Add instant yeast, jaggery and salt to the whole wheat and kodo millet flour together. Knead the mixture with lukewarm water. Leave the dough covered for 1-2 hours. It will become light and fluffy. Authentic recipe calls for natural yeast but this time it was an impromptu plan, so instant yeast came handy.

2. For the stuffing, take poppy seeds (posth dana) and heat it in a pan for 5 minutes with continuous stirring. Let it cook and then grind in a mixer. Add the rest of the ingredients and keep it aside.

3. For sweet Siddu instead of savoury ones, you just need to add crushed jaggery in the poppy seeds powder along with chopped nuts.

4. Now to make Siddus, make 6-10 balls with the dough and stuff it with posth dana mixture (poppy seeds mixture). Refer to the video attached for filling the stuffing.

5. Boil water in the bottom tier of the steamer. Place siddus on the sieved containers and cover it with a tight lid. Steam them for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the steamer. Siddu is ready to be served steaming hot with melted cow ghee and walnut chutney.

6. Always serve hot.

(Shalini Rajani is a millet coach, the founder of Crazy Kadchi, and holds innovative Millets Cooking Workshops for all age groups.)

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