Millets the latest category of superfood, as approved by the West had traditionally been a part of staple food in many regional cuisines but were considered as fodder food by many. Now when the world is waking up to a new era of wholesome, nutritious and ‘real’ food, millets are the new fad. Thankfully few varieties of millets like sorghum (Jowar), Bajra, Samo etc are part of traditional Sindhi cuisine and we have been relishing these in the form of patted flatbreads (Doda/Dodoh), porridge (Samo porridge known as Kirng in Sindhi), for cooking
Satvik meals using Sauri (Bagar/Barnyard) for Gyaaras (Ekadashi) and consuming Rajgira (Amaranth) in the form of ladoos, chikki etc.
My knowledge about Millets was restricted to above mentioned varieties and honestly speaking, I never could figure out how these could be used in ways that would appeal young and old or how to make variety of appetizing snacks or droolworthy meals by incorporating millets.
Then I came across Shalini Rajani, the Recipe Developer, Trainer and Founder at Crazy Kadchi and we talked for hours and hours, about Sindhi food. She was a copywriter by profession then, but her heart was into the fascinating world of food! She quit her full time advertising career as a Creative Copy Supervisor in the year 2013 and since then she has been religiously working on developing recipes using ancient grains and creating unusual or ingenious dishes!
Not many have a heart to ditch their flourishing careers and head towards uncharted path, following their dreams and slogging hard, day and night, week after weeks, for years, and yet keep on marching, passionately, despite of all the hardships and hiccups. I have been following her journey… from slogging in the corporate world to organizing cooking workshops covering regional cuisines, soups and salads, Mocktails, baking etc, from catering healthy home made snacks to taking up cooking sessions teaching exciting Navratri food, sans the otherwise omnipresent potatoes (# Potato free Navratra) and by using millets in most amazing ways (how does Kuttu katori chaat and a Barnyard millet fruit tart sound?) and I am truly proud of her.
Last year I got lucky and received some of her signature snacks- home made, healthy, delicious and I was so delighted when the otherwise apprehensive family members too relished those goodies like anything.
I just wanted to learn those recipes so that I could make healthy and nourishing snacks for the family. Thankfully I got many of her recipes by following her weekly articles in the newspaper that are all about nourishing food and she often uses unexplored ingredients to create dishes that have unique flavors, textures and are usually loaded with oomph factor. You can check her published recipes
Till date, Shalini has conducted 188 offline and online workshops introducing millets to the uninitiated and helping others to include millets in their daily diets in unique ways.
I always wished to attend one of her workshops but she being in Gurgaon and me, in Mumbai, it was not possible until the covid 19 situation trapped us in our respective homes and forced us to look around for feasible options to carry on our work, online.
So recently when I was talking to Shalini over phone about how things have changed in the lockdown, she told me that she is now conducting online cooking workshops and that there is a popular one, called ‘5 day Millets workshop’ that includes a theory session (one to one, over phone/online) and plenty of amazing recipes using millets and other healthy ingredients, in most creative ways. The sessions are spread across the days and if you request her, she does let you follow the classes at your own pace considering that the Covid 19 situation is not easy for many to handle on day to day basis. The recipes are shared via email, along with cooking videos too, to make things easier and more fascinating.
I requested her to enroll me too, for the online workshop and she went out of the way to arrange the theory session at 7:30 in the morning to suit my erratic and hectic daily schedule.
The session was an eye opener, to say the least, as I already mentioned how restricted my knowledge about millets used to be. I took the liberty of discussing my diet restrictions and she, very patiently handled my doubts and queries.
I received the recipes (via email) as per the process of workshop and I am supposed to try out and discuss issues or doubts if any, with her and provide my feedback once I try out her recipes.
You can contact her via facebook or Whatsapp and rest assured, every doubt, every query would be answered by her. Do follow her on Instagram @crazykadchi to explore the world of millets. You can thank me later 🙂
Here are some of her wonderful creations!
( Veg Millet Biryani with beetroot botis, Jowar and Spinach kadhi, Ragi Papad)
Pic Courtesy : Shalini Rajani @ Crazy kadchi!
I have started using millets following her recommendations and the first of her recipes that I tried was of Millet Kebab, crisp from outside and soft from inside’ patties with the goodness of millets, dal, herbs, vegetables and desi ghee
Also, since we are talking about millets let me share this small video about patting Juar jo dodoh or the Sindhi style patted jowar roti.
Take 2 cups of jowar flour, add salt, one chopped onion, chopped green chillies as per taste,some coriander leaves,2-3 cloves of pounded garlic (usefresh green garlic if available), a tsp of oil/ghee and knead a soft dough. Divide the dough in two portions, roll one portion between palms to make a round ball, flatten it and either pat it directly on a heated tawa ( as shown in video) or use a plastic sheet or butter paper to first pat it and then transfer it on heated griddle. Smear some ghee / oil and flip and cook till done, pouring little ghee and flipping intermittently. Serve hot with curds/ chutney/dal/ subzi of your choice.