Tag Archives: bajra

Mushroom & Mixed Sprouts Bajra Idli/Pearl Millet Idli with Mushroom & Mixed Sprouts

Mushroom & Mixed Sprouts Bajra Idli

  • Difficulty: easy
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Mushroom & Mixed Sprouts Bajra Idli







another kooky idli recipe from my kooky collection

There are some foods which are my “go to” dishes simply because they are time saving, labour saving, healthy, delicious and versatile. Using the base as a foundation, I can experiment, add, subtract knowing that the end result will turn out just fine. Idli is one such item.

Once you get the hang of the basics of fermentation, making idlis is a doddle. Soak, grind, leave to ferment and once the batter is fermented, you are good to go. Let your imagination run wild and play around with different types of grains and vegetables.

Today’s recipe is made of pearl millet batter and includes mushrooms and mixed sprouts. The combination may sound unusual because we don’t usually associate mushrooms with recipes from the southern part of India (I say usually, there may be exceptions).

If you are a fan of mushrooms, definitely give this one a go. These idlis are denser compared to the conventional ones but are super healthy, super yummy and super satisfying.

Serve with sambar and/or chutney. I had mine with carrot and coconut chutney.


1/2 Cup bajra grains

1/4 Cup urad dal

1 Tablespoon brown or regular rice

1 Tablespoon fenugreek seeds

200 Grams button mushroom

1/2 Cup mixed sprouts

1 Tablespoon paste of green chillies and ginger

1-2 Tablespoons instant oats

Salt to taste

Ghee to grease idli moulds


  1. Wash and soak the bajra grains, urad dal, rice and fenugreek seeds for about 8 to 10 hours.
  2. Grind them into batter of pouring consistency.
  3. Leave the batter to ferment in a warm place.
  4. Fermentation can take anything from 6 hours to 36 hours.
  5. Once the batter is fermented, you are ready to make the idlis.
  6. Wipe/wash and roughly chop the mushroom.
  7. Add the mushroom, sprouts, paste of chilli and ginger, instant oats and salt to taste to the idli batter.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Grease the idli moulds with a little bit of ghee.
  10. Pour the batter into the moulds and steam for about 40 to 45 minutes. You know that the idlis are cooked if you insert a toothpick or a knife and it comes out clean.
  11. Once cooked, remove the moulds from the steamer and let the idlis rest for about 5 minutes.
  12. Gently run a toothpick or a knife around the edges of the idlis to loosen them.
  13. Enjoy hot.


Pearl Millet Pilaf with Mushroom & Red Pepper

A Nutty & Seedy Pilaf of Pearl Millet, Mushroom & Red Pepper

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pearl Millet Pilaf with Mushroom & Red Pepper








Wikipedia tells me that “pearl millet is the most widely grown type of millet.” Its roots lie in India and Africa. India is the largest producer of this grain which is also extensively used across the Sahel region and which is a staple of Namibia.

My introduction to pearl millet was by way of bajra roti (pearl millet flatbread) when I was growing up . Till a couple of years back, I would not have considered using the whole grain or its flour in any other type of cooking.

But since I have become an adventurous – albeit a rather kooky (!) – cook, I have started discovering and experimenting with new ingredients along with staples in my quest to make healthy and delicious meals. “Healthy” doesn’t have to mean dull and boring. And today’s pilaf recipe demonstrates just that.

Pearl millet is good for those with gluten allergy and the versatile cooked grains can be used as a base for pilaf, in stuffings, in soups, as a side dish, in puddings, in baked goods and even sprouted.

toasting the grains before soaking and boiling lends them a nice and nutty flavour

I like to consider this pearl millet pilaf recipe balanced as it includes vegetables (mushroom, red pepper, onion, celery and tomato), calcium (cheese), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin),  herb (parsley) and good fat (pistachio nuts and olive oil).


1/2 Cup uncooked pearl millet

200 Grams mushroom (button or any other variety)

1 Red Pepper

2 Onions

1 Garlic pod

2 Tomatoes

2-3 Stick celery

1-2 Birds eye chilli

A small bunch parsley (curly or flat-leaf)

1 Tablespoon shelled, unsalted pistachio

1 Tablespoon mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon raisin

1 Tablespoon cheese of your choice

1 Tablespoon oil

1 Teaspoon sumac (optional)

1-2 Teaspoons paprika

2-3 Anchovy fillets (optional)

Salt to taste


  1. First we need to work on the pearl millet. Heat a wide base frying pan and throw in the pearl millet. Lower the heat and keep stirring till the grains release a nice and nutty aroma (about 5 to 7 minutes).
  2. Once the grains have cooled, wash and soak them for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. At the end of the soaking period, boil the grains in about one cup of water with a pinch of salt. They will take about 20 minutes to cook but keep checking. If you cook them in a pressure cooker, let them cook on high heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the cooked grains (add a squeeze of lime to the remaining liquid and drink it, nutritious and delicious!).
  5. At this stage, you can refrigerate the boiled pearl millet and cook it later or keep aside and start working on the vegetables if cooking straight away.
  6. Peel, wash and dice the onions.
  7. Peel and slice the garlic.
  8. Was, de-core, de-seed and chop the red pepper.
  9. Wash and chop the celery.
  10. Wash and chop the tomato.
  11. Wash and chop the parsley.
  12. Wash/wipe and slice the mushroom.
  13. Grate or crumble the cheese (will depend on the type of cheese you are using).
  14. Toast the pistachio and seeds together in a dry frying pan till they are nice and toasty and turn a couple of shades darker. Remove and set aside.
  15. Heat the oil in a frying pan to which add the raisins and chilli. Stir around a bit for a minute or so till the raisins plump up a bit.
  16. Now lower the heat and add the chopped onion, tomato, garlic, celery, red pepper and anchovy fillets (if using). Add a pinch of salt, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  17. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the sliced mushroom, paprika, sumac (if using) and a bit more salt to taste. Stir, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes till the mushrooms are cooked.
  18. Next, add the boiled pearl millet along with the chopped parsley. Stir, check for salt, add some more if necessary, cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes.
  19. Take it of the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  20. Scatter toasted pistachio, seeds and cheese on the pilaf before serving.

Rice Free Idli of Bajra (Pearl Millet) & Ragi (Finger Millet) Grains: Plain and Masala Varieties

Rice Free Idli of Bajra (Pearl Millet) and Ragi (Finger Millet) Grains









Let me start off this post with a disclaimer: I have nothing against rice. In fact, I like rice in all shapes and form although I rarely eat it. In my quest for a healthy and nutritious diet, I try to replace rice with other grains wherever possible.

today’s recipe is a tale of two idlis which met by chance in one cooking session

Having successfully made rice-free jowar (sorghum) idlis in the past, for this recipe, I thought of experimenting with two other types of millet grains: pearl (bajra) and finger (ragi).

a successful experiment which demonstrates that it is possible to make idlis without rice

Batter for Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Masala)
Batter for Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Masala)
Batter for Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Plain)
Batter for Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Plain)

Another fortuitous discovery I made while making these is masala idli.

While the first round of idlis were merrily steaming away, I suddenly remembered that I had some shelled peas and mixed sprouts lying around in the refrigerator. I thought of adding these along with some freshly grated turmeric and green chilli-ginger paste to the second round of idlis.

Both types taste equally good. They are soft like conventional idlis although not as fluffy (absence of rice I imagine).

The following makes 24 regular size idlis.

Ingredients for Plain Idli Batter

1 Cup bajra (pearl millet)

1 Cup ragi (finger millet)

1 Cup white urad dal (white gram/white lentil)

2 Tablespoons methi seeds (fenugreek)

Salt to taste

Ghee for greasing idli moulds

Ingredients for Masala Idli Batter (Optional)*

2 – 3 Tablespoons shelled peas

2 – 3 tablespoons mixed sprouts

1 Teaspoon turmeric

1 Teaspoon green chilli-ginger paste


  1. Wash the bajra, ragi, urad dal and methi seeds.
  2. Add water and soak for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Grind in a food processor. The end result should be a batter which is neither too thick nor too thin. Some of the ragi grains may remain whole, this is perfectly okay.
  4. Cover and place the batter in a warm, dark place to ferment. This can take anything from a few hours to 34 hours depending on the temperature (see note below).
  5. When you are ready to cook the idlis, add some salt to the batter and mix well. If you are making masala idli, you can add the optional ingredients at this stage.
  6. Grease idli moulds and pour the batter in them.
  7. Put in a steamer and let the idlis steam for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove from the steamer and leave for a few minutes.
  9. Run a knife under each idli to remove it from its mould.
  10. Serve with chutney of your choice.


  1. In warm weather, the batter can ferment in a matter of 4 to 6 hours. If the temperatures are low, the fermentation process takes much longer.
  2. For masala idli, you can add any vegetable of your choice. Grated carrots, grated cabbage and grated bottlegourd would work equally well.
  3. I had fresh turmeric root which I grated and used which is why the colour of my masala idlis is so bright! You can use turmeric powder instead.

Here are the two friends side by side – plain and masala.

Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Plain)  Rice Free Bajra and Ragi Idlis (Masala)

Mixed Cereal and Cauliflower Paniyaram/Mixed Cereal and Cauliflower Aebleskiver

Cooked Paniyaram

Paniyaram is a type of dumpling popular in South India. It is usually made with idli or dosa batter of lentils and rice and can be made savoury or sweet.

Paniyaram is made in a special paniyaram pan with holes in which the batter is poured.

Paniyaram Cooking

Interestingly, the Danes also have a similar dish called aebleskiver, a type of sweet pancake made in a special pan with round dents.

English: This is the top side of my Griswold A...
English: This is the top side of my Griswold Aebleskiver pan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These cute dumplings are a recent discovery of mine after I was given a paniyaram pan by my beloved members on our annual meetup in scenic Kerala. I have had lots of fun experimenting with conventional and unconventional recipes.

most of my recipes have been savoury although I did try the sweet Danish version by adapting this recipe

In this post, I want to share with you one of my more unconventional paniyaram recipes. You can also think of them as savoury aebleskiver!


1 cup mixed cereal of your choice (I used a combination of black eyed beans, chickpeas, black bengal gram/desi chana, fenugreek, whole wheat, brown rice and pearl millet/bajra)


2-3 tablespoons chickpea flour and/or rice flour and/or semolina (optional but I find that it gives some texture)

Half head of cauliflower

2 tomatoes

2 onions

A spoonful of minced ginger and green chillies (or according to taste)

1 teaspoon turmeric

Salt to taste

1 tablspoon oil


  1. Soak the mixed cereal for 10-12 hours.
  2. Grind the cereal with water very finely, making sure it is of pouring consistency.
  3. Leave the batter to ferment in a warm place for 8-10 hours. (If you want to skip this step, please see Tips below.)
  4. Finely chop the cauliflower, tomatoes and onions. Holes in the paniyaram pan are small so you want to make sure that the vegetables are very finely chopped. If you have a manual or an electric chopper, you can use that instead of a knife.
  5. When ready to cook, put the paniyaram pan on high heat.
  6. Mix the batter with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Reduce the heat to minimum and pour the batter in the holes using a spoon.
  8. Add a drop of oil on each paniyaram.
  9. Cover and cook on minimum heat for 10 minutes.
  10. Flip over, leave it open and cook for further 10 minutes.
  11. Once cooked, they will come out loosely from the holes. Serve with some hot sauce like the extra hot Tobasco.


  1. If you don’t have time or the right climate to ferment the batter, use it as is. Just add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda (Eno).
  2. Fenugreek seeds are optional. I add them since, apart from being good for health, they aid the fermentation process.
  3. Please don’t use kidney beans as part of your mixed cereal combination since they contain a toxic agent called lectin. As a result, they have to be cooked before being used in any recipe.
  4. Even if you don’t have paniyaram pan, you can try out this recipe. Simply make pancakes instead

paniyaram batter is very forgiving; if it is too thin or insufficient you can add semolina or any other flour like ragi flour

in case you have left over batter, refrigerate it and use it the next day to make more paniyarams or dosa like pancakes