I am in a small village called Bashla in district Kullu for a week. And there is so much that I would like to share. Life in the mountains is full of simplicity and a lot of happiness. The morning sun shines with beautiful views and the entire village is up by 5am. With fresh air, clear views, lowest AQI, this seems to be a dream come true and I am lucky enough to live it whenever I get a chance to visit my husband’s hometown.
I believe it’s the scrumptious and simple Himachali food that describes the state best. The people here pour their heart out in their dishes. And the beautiful techniques they apply when the resources are scarce. Creating natural yeast from the dough, using dried apricots for the dips, harvesting pulses, sesame seeds manually when the pods are ripe and dry, are things that keep filling my bucket of nostalgia and inspire me to come back for more.
Although I have been cooking many Himachali dishes in their traditional form back home, this time I tried to pour in some millet love in traditional dishes too. Simply because I wanted to share the uncountable benefits of millets with my family here.
As per my understanding, Kodo (or Kodra in Himachal) is one millet easily grown here, so I carried the others like Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Finger Millet and Barnyard Millet in my travel bag and rustled up a few things that I have been demonstrating in my cooking workshops.
Today, I tried the authentic Himachali dish Siddu by adding Ragi (Finger Millet) flour to it. You must try it with an authentic dip. Siddu is served steaming hot with melted cow ghee and is truly a delight with a poppy seeds stuffing. Read more for the step-by-step recipe of Ragi Siddu with authentic Green Garlic and Walnut Chutney, followed by health benefits of Finger Millet (Ragi), Poppy Seeds and Walnuts.
Ingredients (for 10 Siddus)
For Siddu dough
1 cup – Whole wheat flour
½ cup – Finger millet flour (ragi aata)
Salt to taste
½ tsp – Baking powder
2 tbsp – Cow ghee
Water to knead
For Siddu Stuffing
1 cup – Poppy seeds
1 tbsp – Finely chopped ginger
¼ cup – Finely chopped green garlic
1 tsp – Finely chopped green chillies (optional)
*Add baking powder and salt to the whole wheat and ragi flour together. Knead the mixture. Leave the dough covered for 6-8 hours or overnight. It will become light and fluffy.
*For the stuffing, take 1 cup 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 rest of the ingredients and keep it aside.
Please note: If you wish to make sweet Siddu instead of savoury ones, you just need to add crushed jaggery in the poppy seeds powder.
*Now to make Siddus, make 10 small balls with the dough and stuff it with posth dana mixture (poppy seeds mixture).
*Boil water in the bottom container 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.
Please note: The stuffing of poppy seeds can be substituted for overnight soaked and then grinded split black gram (urad dal). You can add chopped onions, salt, chilli and green coriander leaves to the ground dal and then mix the batter thoroughly.
For Walnut Chutney
Juice of one lemon
1 bunch – Coriander leaves
½ cup – Chopped spring onion
3-4 – Green chillies
¼ cup – Chopped green garlic
¼ cup – Walnuts
Salt to taste
Mix everything in a blender with optimum water. Serve it fresh with Siddu.
Health benefits of Finger Millet, Poppy Seeds and Walnuts Ragi
It helps in keeping blood sugar in check. Low in glycemic index, high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, it reduces unnecessary food cravings and thus helps in weight loss. It improves skin tissues and helps to reduce anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Within the tiny poppy seed is found high levels of dietary fibre, B vitamins and several important minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and zinc, all of which have been linked to digestive, heart and immune health.
Eating walnuts can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in particular, but also lower your cholesterol overall. Cholesterol can form plaque inside your arteries, but eating walnuts can help keep your artery walls healthy.
Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative and healthy cooking workshops for all age groups.