Top 3 winter millet recipes for children

Tough nature of millets allows it to also survive in cold winters in many parts of India
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Representative ImageIANS

CHENNAI: Millets are small seeded grains. They have been a part of our traditional diets and have regained their importance in recent times owing to their superior nutritional properties which has also led them to gain the tittle as ‘Nutri Cereals’

Children and adolescents face a critical lifestyle period of growth spurt which requires specific nutritional needs. It is very important to introduce nutritious foods to their daily balanced diet to fulfill the nutritional needs and prevent deficiencies. Some of the nutrients that are needed to sustain the growth and development of children include protein, calcium, vitamin D, iron and fiber etc.

Millets replacing grains in predominantly rice based diet adding an influx of nutrients including high energy content, high amounts of minerals like calcium for bone health and iron and zinc for immunity and cognitive development and many essential amino acids to the diet contributing to enhancing the nutritional status of children.

The exceptional nutrient density of millet have highlighted them to be utilized as a solution for Malnutrition in children and to fight prominent micronutrient deficiencies in adolescents including iron deficiency anemia.

Millets are mainly kharif crops (summer crops) due to their high resiliency to severe temperatures and low soil nutrient requirements as compared to rice and wheat production. This tough nature of millets allows it to also survive in cold winters in many parts of India.

Millets like many foods such as cereal grains and leafy vegetables can be eaten for specific seasons. Common winter millets grown in India include sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (Bajra) and finger millet (ragi).

Finger millet (ragi)

Finer millet, known as ragi is abundantly grown in Karnataka. It is exclusively known for its high calcium content as compared to other millets contributing to healthy bones. The nutrient density of ragi is efficiently utilized as a key ingredient in infant weaning foods. Its hypoallergenic nature and significantly high nutrient content make it an ideal meal for infants and young children. Ragi is known to be high in B vitamins, fiber and phosphorous contributing to children’s health as catalysts for mineral absorption like iron and zinc and aid metabolism.

Recipe 1: RAGI BARFI

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Serve size- 2 ragi barfis

Ingredients:

Aashirvaad Ragi flour -15g -1 tablespoon

Jaggery -20 g -4 teaspoons

Almonds -2g -2 nos

Cashews -2g -2 nos.

Milk -10 ml -2 teaspoons

Ghee -5 ml -1 teaspoon

 Method:

1.Heat ghee in a shallow kadhai and once melted combine the aashirvaad ragi flour until no lumps are seen.

2.Add the jaggery into the mix and allow it to melt while stirring continuously and add powdered almonds and cashews into the mixture and mix until evenly combined.

3.As the mixture starts to thicken add the milk and stir continuously.

4.Once the mixture becomes slightly firm and separates from the vessel pour it out onto a flat mold to about 1 inch thickness.

5.Once cooled cut into diamond shapes and optionally garnish with more almonds and cashews.

Nutritional composition for 2 barfis:

Energy (kcal) - 202, Protein (g) - 3, Fat (g) - 7.7, Fiber (g) - 2, Calcium (mg) - 62 and Iron (mg) - 0.8.

Recipe 2: RAGI UTHAPPAM

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Serve size- 2 ragi uthappam

Ingredients:

Aashirvaad Ragi flour -30 - 1/3rd cup

Carrot -25g - 1/4th cup

Dil leaves - 5g - 1 teaspoon

Tomato - 25g - 1/4th cup

Onion - 25g - 1/4th cup

Ghee - 5 ml -1 teaspoon

 Method:

1.Mix the ragi flour with water to form a thick batter and season with salt and 1/4th teaspoon baking powder.

2.Heat a tawa and pour a thick dosa and cook till golden on one side.

3.Sprinkle finely chopped onion, Tomato, carrots and Dil leaves and spread evenly on the dosa and cover to cook the vegetables.

4.Sprinkle ghee over the vegetables and flip the dosa to cook evenly.

5.Cook till golden on both sides and serve hot with coconut or peanut chutney.

Nutritional composition for 2 utthapam

Energy (kcal) - 180, Protein (g) - 3, Fat (g) - 5.6, Fiber (g) - 4.4, Calcium (mg) - 106 and Iron (mg) - 1.6

Nutri Fact: Finger millet is known for its highest calcium and potassium content among other Millets.

Multimillet – Jowar, Bajra, Ragi & Navane (Foxtail millet)

Individually or as multi millets in the form whole grain or flours, introduce millets as nutritious snacks options to your child’s daily diet. Aashirvaad multi millet mix is a combination of 5 nutritious millets. It includes jowar, navane, bajra and ragi along with quinoa, a pseudo millet known for its high protein and fiber contents.

Recipe 3: MULTI MILLET PANCAKES

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Serve size – 3 small multimillet pancakes

Ingredients

Aashirvaad Multi millet mix -15 g -1 tablespoon

Whole wheat flour -30 g -1/3rd cup

Egg -25g -1/4th cup

Jaggery -15 g -1 tablespoon

Milk -50 ml -1/4th  cup

Butter -10 g -2 teaspoons

 Method:

1. Mix the dry ingredients including, aashirvaad multi millet mix and whole wheat flour and ½ teaspoon baking powder until well combined.

2. In a separate bowl whisk eggs thoroughly until foamy and gently whisk in the jaggery powered and milk. Gently sift in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until the batter is free of any lumps.

3.Heat a non-stick pan, add half teaspoon of butter to evenly grease the pan and Pour in a ladle of the pancake batter and cook until golden on both sides.

Serving suggestion

Lightly rub some butter on the pancake and sprinkle powdered sugar before serving Or Serve warm pancakes with maple syrup.

Nutritional values for 3 small pancakes

Energy (kcal) - 353, Protein (g) - 9.7, Fat (g) - 12, Fiber (g) - 5, Calcium (mg) - 91 and Iron (mg) - 1.6.

Nutri Fact: Multi millet flours can be an excellent replacement for refined flours enhancing fiber and calcium intake in children.

Nutri Fact: Pearl millet (bajra) is an excellent source of protein and B vitamins compared to refined cereals.

 For children with gluten intolerance

Children with celiac disease or other conditions leading to gluten intolerances lack essential nutrition due to dietary restrictions. Gluten free flours are a good replacement to provide calories necessary for growth and development. Aashirvaad gluten free flour is an excellent replacement consisting of a blend of jowar flour, ragi flour and flaked rice flour and other stabilizers to maintain textures of the prepared products.

Recipe: MINI ALOO CHEESE PARATHA (gluten free)

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Serve size - 1 mini aloo cheese paratha

Ingredients

Aashirvaad gluten free flour -30g -1/3rd cup

Potatoes (chopped) - 50g -1/2 cup

Onion (chopped) -25g -1/4th cup

Kasuri methi -5g -1 teaspoon

Cheese -10g -2 teaspoons

Ghee -5 ml -1 teaspoon

Method:

1. To prepare the dough: Add boiling water gradually into the aashirvaad gluten free flour and knead till a smooth dough forms.

2. To prepare the filling: Mash the boiled potatoes thoroughly and  mix together with onion, kasuri methi leaves and spices including ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon coriander powder, ¼ teaspoon whole cumin seeds and salt to taste.

3. To prepare the paratha: Divide the prepared dough into 2 portions and roll thinly into round chapatis.

4. Spread one portion of the potato mixture along with shredded cheese onto one chapati leaving 1-inch gap around the sides of the chapati.

5. Layer the other chapati onto the mixture to seal the paratha and cook on a hot tawa till brown spots appear on both sides, serve with a teaspoon of ghee.

Nutritional values for 1 mini aloo cheese paratha

Energy (kcal) - 254, Protein (g) - 5.8, Fat (g) - 8.7, Fiber (g) - 4.8, Calcium (mg) - 9.9 and Iron (mg) - 1.3.

Conclusion

Millets are abundant sources of many essential nutrients unavailable from commonly consumed refined grains. They contribute extensively to vitamin, mineral and dietary fiber needs in children and adolescents. Introduction of millets for children has sparked a new interest in adding to the nutrient profiles and dietary diversity.

India holds a significant history in millet rich diets which have resurfaced recently bringing attention to its immense potential to contribute to healthy growth and development of these young minds.

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