Its always an endeavor to cook with as less oil as possible, with as much fiber as possible, with as less calories as possible, with as much flavor as possible and so on and so forth. There is always a trade off here and with the mounting instances of lifestyle related diseases and its only getting more and more difficult to make this possible. My aim is to not get too off the handle and restrict me and my family, but more to moderate the measure of any intake and yet to make it more interesting by substituting rice with cracked wheat, oats , bulgar wheat, quinoa, cous cous etc. Here I take my traditional Pidi Kozhukkatais made with raw rice and make a healthier version of it using cracked wheat. The results were astoundingly delicious as any dish gets masked with Hotel Sambar or Tomato Chuthey so, one never really knows!!!
1 1/2 Cups Cracked Wheat.
2 1/2 Cups Water.
1/3 Cup Toor dhal.
Handful Urad Dhal.
3 Green Chillies.
3 Tbsp Dry/Fresh Coconut. (Optional)
2-3 Red Chillies.
Soak the urad dhal, toor dhal and the green chillies in water for about 2-3 hours. The Urad Dhal is mostly a binding agent for bringing the kozhukattais together.
If the cracked wheat is a little too coarse for you, pulse it slightly. Set aside.
Grind the urad dhal, toor dhal and the green chillies using little water, to a smooth paste. Set aside. Measure out the fluid (apprx 1/2 cup).
To this ground paste add enough water to bring it to 2 1/2 cups measurement. Set aside.
Take your favourite kadai and splash in some oil. When hot, add the ingredients mentioned under “Seasoning” and mix away until they are lightly roasted.
Now bring down the flame to a medium low and add the ground paste. Take care to see that it does not catch the bottom.
Immediately add the measured water + paste (2 1/2 cups) and allow it to mix in with the seasonings.
Now add sufficient salt and wait until the water just starts to boil.
Bring down the heat and slowly add the pulsed cracked wheat and the dry coconut.
With a whisk bring it together until its almost resembling a thick upma.
Switch off the flame and allow to cool for a few minutes.
When its a little more easy to handle, make little balls by holding them inside your palm and closing your fingers over the mass…..thats where the name comes from…”pidi”!!!
Grease the idli plates and place all the kozhukattais on them all ready to be steamed.
Keep in the pressure cooker without weight , until you get heavy steam. Then bring it down to sim for about 6-8 minutes and switch off.
In my constant endeavour to find meals that are low in calories but on the other hand rich in protein and fiber, I picked out this packet of cracket wheat from the global store I regularly visit. I did not pick out the Indian brand but from the meditteranean brand “Sadaf” which brings out this good quality cracked wheat. They are number 1, 2 and 3 based on the coarseness of the wheat grain. I bought no 2 as I did not want the grain to be far too fine and refined, or too big to bite. I am aware that cracked wheat is an excellent source of nutrition and fiber and so I wasted no time there.
What is Cracked Wheat???
Cracked Wheat is a wheat product made from whole raw wheat kernels which are crushed or cut into smaller pieces. There are a large number of uses for cracked wheat, and the food makes a popular dietary supplement in many cultures. Many grocery stores carry cracked wheat, which should be stored in a cool dry place until use so that it does not go rancid. If not used within one year, cracked wheat should be discarded.
Because cracked wheat is made from whole wheat berries, it carries a great deal of nutrition and fiber since it includes the fiber and nutrient rich outer bran and germ of the wheat. For this reason, it is often added to healthy diets, especially those eaten by people who are concerned about heart / diabetic health. Other whole cracked grains may be used as well, for variation in flavor and nutrition.
1 cup Coarse Cracked wheat
1 cup Steel Rolled Oats oats.
1 Medium Carrot grated fine.
2 Tbsp Dry Coconut.
Salt to taste.
2 Cups Sour Buttermilk. (PLEASE SEE NOTES BELOW)
Finely Chopped Cilantro.
1 Tsp Baking Soda.
2 Tsp Bengal Gram.
2 Tsp Peanuts.
Take a dry kadai and dry roast the rolled oats until you get the pleasant aroma. Place in a large mixer.
In the same kadai, dry roast the cracked wheat for 3-4 minutes and add to the mixer. Pulse for a few seconds. Measure it and you will find it comes to almost the same two cups you started off with.
Take a wide mouthed vessel and add the pulsed powder.
Add finely grated carrot, finely chopped cilantro, salt, hing, baking soda, dry coconut and mix it lightly.
In a seasoning kadai, add 1-2 tsp oil and when its hot, add cashew, peanuts, bengal gram, mustard and then the curry leaves.
Allow the seeds to cackle and add it to the bowl.
Now add the 2 cups of sour buttermilk little by little and mix it in.
It should come to a slightly runny consistency but not too much. Adjust the quantity of fluid for the desired consistency.
Allow it to sit for 10 – 20 minutes. By now, the cracked wheat and the oats, absorb the water and it becomes slightly hard.
Grease the idli plates and just before spooning it on to the idli moulds, dilute the batter with a little water and then pour on to the plates.
I use good quality steel rolled or old fashioned oats from Whole Foods. You would probably not great results from quick cooking oats etc from stores like Walmart etc. I have seen that the oats from Walmart etc crumble very easily and dont hold on to their texture.
My cracked wheat is SADAF brand of coarseness 2 from an international foods store. SADAF is pretty much available in all leading indian stores.
Secondly moderate the amount of buttermilk and keep the batter just as thick as idli batter and NOT runny. If your cracked wheat and oats take only 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk, you dont have to add the 2 cups. Please watch the consistency and keep it thick, if you find its too thick, you can always add a few tablespoons of buttermilk jst before adding to the idli plates.