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Monday, April 18, 2011

Wheat Germ Pudding - "Gahu chi Kheer" - A Delicacy

"Gahu chi Kheer" is one of the tastiest dishes I have come across. In fact I wasn't even aware of how healthy it was until after polishing the bowl. "Gahu" translates to wheat and "kheer" is used to describe a dessert which has a pudding/custard kind of a consistency. Up until last year, the only wheat pudding I had eaten or made was made from "cracked wheat" or "dalia". Then I visited my husband's aunt last summer. She had made various delicacies for our visit and oh what exquisite dishes they were! Among the many dishes she had made, she had also taken time to make specialities and delicacies like misal (a spicy lentil snack), puran poli (tortilla stuffed with sweet yellow lentils) and gahu chi kheer (wheat pudding). After my first bite of the wheat kheer I realised that this was no ordinary pudding made from cracked wheat, but it was so much tastier and had a wonderful sweetness. So naturally, before we left, I asked her for her recipes and she readily shared (thank you!).

The key to this tasty kheer is that whole wheat is sprouted and then this wheat germ is used to make the kheer. The wheat germ is incredibly sweet and extremely nutritious. In fact, based on everything I have read, wheat germ is something you should add to your regular diet. It is very high in vitamins and provides essential elements. Also, along with the sweetness of the wheat, the sweetner used was not sugar, but jaggery which brought it up another notch. This is a recipe I highly recommend and I am sure once you taste it, you will want to eat it over and over again!!!

1 cup wheat (whole wheat grains/berries)
4 cups of water
1.5 tsp poppy seeds (white)/ khus khus
5 tbsps jaggery
2 cardamom pod seeds (about 10-15 seeds), powdered (elaichi)
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
1/2 cup cooked rice

when serving
hot milk
ghee/clarified butter


To germinate the wheat grains
Soak the wheat grains in two cups of water for at least 12 - 15 hours (you can soak it upto 24 hours). The grains should be completely submerged in the water. Then, drain the wheat and tie this up in a cotton cloth or a cheese cloth. The cloth should be porous so that the grains have air to breathe. Keep this in a warm place for 24 hours. After a day, you will notice small white sprouts on the wheat grains. At this point, the wheat is germinated and will be soft. If you taste it at this point, you will  notice that the wheat is very sweet.

To cook the pudding/kheer
Add two cups of water to the wheat germ and you can either cook it in the pressure cooker, or boil it till softened. It if better to pressure cook, as the cooking time is very small and nutrients are retained better through this process. However, if you do not have a pressure cooker, you can just boil it. While the wheat cooks, in a blender, grind together the poppy seeds, cardamom and cococnut. Then, add the cooked wheat to this and blend together till the wheat is broken into smaller pieces. Heat this mixture in a deep pan and add the cooked rice to it. Cook it all together for a minute and then add the jaggery. You can add more jaggery if you want it to be sweeter. Sprinkle in the almonds. The kheer is ready.  Before you serve it, add a spoonfull of ghee and then pour some hot milk.

This rice should be cooked to a soft texture. Pressure cook it along with the wheat by layering the two containers on top of each other. The wheat takes longer to cook, so keep the wheat container closer to the base of the cooker. If you are using long grain rice, you may want to break the cooked rice, into smaller pieces by using a spoon. Do not add the cooked rice into the blender along with the wheat as the rice will get mushy and the pudding will get starchy and mushy. It will take a couple of whistles in a stove top cooker or about 10 minutes on manual mode high pressure in the Instant Pot. Let the pressure fall naturally.


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