India loves its festivals. And more than that, it is those little big preparations that define a festival and keep us motivated through the year. As a recipe developer and food lover, I associate festivals with the dishes. If I am asked about their traditional value, I would always talk about the menu on these occasions.
And how beautifully the seasonal food defines any event. It is that time of the year when we brave bone chilling winters and wishing for warmer days to set in. At least in the north of India. And in the quest to stay warm, we have stocked up our pantries with ghee-laden chikkis, nuts, seeds, jaggery to fix those sudden hunger pangs and sugar cravings. And to complement it all, we have Lohri and Makar Sankranti to share the goodness around.
So, marking the advent of longer days with ample sunshine, the January festivals have already started making their way into my kitchen. I have been reading so much about sesame jaggery and how tiny sesame seeds convey a big beautiful message.
As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shared on twitter: “The tiny sesame seeds remind us of our insignificance in this vast creation. The feeling that ‘I am nothing’ dissolves the ego and brings humility. Jaggery is a symbol of spreading sweetness.”
I decided to pour in some millet love to both these seasonal ingredients and have come up with Sesame Jaggery Millet Bites to share with my lovely participants in my next cooking workshop.
Read more for the super easy step by step recipe and outstanding health benefits of Sesame, Jaggery and Barley (the Millet I used for this recipe).
Sesame Jaggery Millet Bites
1 cup – Barley Millet Flour
150 gms – Jaggery
1/4 cup – White Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup – Raisins
1/4 cup – Dried Coconut (copra) flesh finely chopped
3 tbsp – Cow Ghee
A pinch of Cardamom Powder
½ cup Water to make jaggery syrup
1. Take a pan, big enough to hold the water and jaggery together. Switch on the stove on a high flame. Add water and jaggery. Mix well and bring it to a boil.
2. Once it starts boiling, add cardamom powder.
3. Cook it on low flame until it becomes one string sugar syrup. Keep it aside.
4. Now in a separate deep pan (or iron kadai), pour cow ghee.
5. Once it warms up, add millet flour along with raisins, coconut and sesame seeds.
6. Mix it all nicely and cook the entire mixture till you get the aromas right.
7. Keep the flame lowest, and this is when you need to pour in the freshly made jaggery syrup.
8. Within seconds you will see the well stirred mixture turning into a single mass.
9. Spread the mixture onto a greased plate and flatten it nicely with the help of a spatula.
10. Let it rest and come down to an optimum warm temperature.
11. With the help of a pizza cutter, cut the rolled out mixture in shapes of your choice.
12. Once it comes down to a room temperature, lift the bites one by one and store it in an air-tight container.
13. Try to consume these yummy bites within a week.
Health benefits of Sesame seeds, Jaggery and Barley
Sesame seeds are a good source of healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. Regularly eating substantial portions of these seeds aids blood sugar control, combats arthritis pain, and lowers cholesterol.
Organic Jaggery is an excellent storehouse of natural carbohydrates. Rich in fibre and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, organic jaggery is a boon to the digestive system. Rich in antioxidants, it also purifies the blood and respiratory tract. It’s extensively used in Ayurveda as a remedy for respiratory illnesses.
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. What’s more, making barley millet a regular ingredient in your diet may offer protection from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancer.
Cow ghee has all the necessary nutrients along with antiviral, antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Used as an ayurvedic medicine and a staple in Indian cooking, cow ghee contains many vital nutrients which help in making the body healthy and immune to diseases. It impacts large portions of the body from the eye to the abdomen; even the bones tend to get strong due to consumption of ghee. It is also used on wounds to speed up healing.
Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative and healthy cooking workshops for all age groups.
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