Bajra is an ancient grain, grown since pre-historic times. It is native to Africa and was brought to India sometime during 2000B.C.
It is a hardy crop and grows particularly well in drought-prone, high temperature zones such as Rajasthan in India. It is considered a winter cereal and is usually consumed during winter months.
Read about the manifold health benefits of bajra. Bajra can be used in making khichdi, upma, rotis, dosa, idlis, uttappams, and many more dishes. It’s inherent gluten-free nature makes it a perfect nutritious option for those affected by gluten allergy or celiac disease.
While tackling various food allergies in the family and trying to avoid use of wheat, my easiest fall-back option was rice. It was something I had loved eating while growing up and could cook-up many varieties. But in a very short span of time our entire diet became all about rice and it’s by-products. So, in order to cut this single-grain dependency, I began exploring various other gluten-free options. ‘Millet’ fit the bill perfectly and thus began my beautiful journey into the world of millets.
Bajra is a wonderful replacement for rice in many dishes. It’s complex carb nature makes it a desirable choice for those looking for satiating meals and to curb binge eating between meals. Bajra has become my most favourite option when it comes to cooking in its whole grain (pseudo) form. Although it takes a few extra whistles to cook in the pressure cooker when compared to rice, the final texture is just right. It is fully cooked but still retains some crunch and does not turn soft/mushy easily like rice.
This Bajra Kheer is an excellent way to enjoy bajra in its whole form in this dessert. My initial thought was to follow the traditional way of making kheer by adding soaked bajra to milk and slow cook it like it is done with rice. But knowing how much longer it takes to cook, I chose to pressure cook them before adding to boiling milk. This ensures quicker turnaround time for the kheer. Milk caramelises upon show cooking with sugar and the flavours are absorbed by bajra creating this delicious dessert.
Shravan maas has officially begun and along come numerous festivities. So this festive season add something healthy to your line-up of sweets and include this healthy and nutritious bajra kheer in the mix.
Sharing bajra kheer recipe below. If you are looking for other ways to include millets as whole or in their other forms, do check these recipes:
- Amaranth/ Rajgira Paratha
- Aralu Hittina Unde : Popped Jowar Laddu
- Bajra Pulao
- Bajra Roti : Sajje Rotti/ Pearl Millet Flatbread
- Bajra Upma
- Foxtail Millet Bisibele Bhath
- Foxtail Millet Upma
- Instant Jowar Dosa
- Jowar Dosa/ Jolada Dose : gluten-free
- Jowar Poori/ Jolada Vade/ Vadappi
- Jowar Upma/ Jolada Uppittu
- Menthe Kadubu : gluten-free jowar flour pasta in fenugreek leaves/ methi stir-fry
- Methi Thalipeeth : A Maharashtrian delight
- Proso Millet Bisi Bele Bhath
- Ragi Dosa
- Ragi/ Finger Millet Laddu
- Ragi Masala Roti
- Ragi Idli V1.0 – with idli rawa
- Ragi Idli V2.0 – with boiled red rice
- Ragi-Jowar Talipettu
- Ragi Upma
- Sorghum Pasta in Spinach Pesto : Jowar flour pasta
Bajra Kheer Recipe
1 Cup = 240 ml
- Bajra, whole grain – 1/2 cup
- Water – 1-1/4 cup
- Whole fat milk – 1 ltr
- Organic brown sugar – 1/2 cup
- Saffron – a pinch (optional)
- Green cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
- Dry fruits and nuts – 2 tbsp
- Ghee – 1/4 tsp, for toasting the nuts
1) Soak bajra overnight. Next morning, rub them well and rinse.
2) Pressure cook bajra with 1-1/4 cup water for 7 whistles.
3) While bajra is cooking, bring milk to a rolling boil on low flame and stirring continually..
4) Add the cooked bajra along with any water remaining in it.
5) Add saffron strands, and sugar. Continue cooking while stirring continually.
6) Cook until milk thickens/ reduces to atleast 2/3rd of its original volume.
7) Add green cardamom powder. Mix well and turn off heat.
8) You can serve bajra kheer warm or chilled with or without dry fruits and nuts. Bajra in itself has a distinct crunch. If you choose to add nuts anyways, toast them in a little ghee and add before serving.
If you happen to try this Bajra Kheer Recipe; leave a comment, let me know how it turned out. Use in your Instagram posts – #theredplatechroniclesbymeenadanti and tag @theredplatechronicles . To see more of my work, follow me on
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