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What is bajra? Will it help my child’s growth and development?
Pearl millets are being used since olden days for preparation of various dishes. It has also enjoyed the tag of being the most cultivated millet.In India it goes by the following names in various states – bajra grain, bajri, sajjelkambu, sajjalu, kambam and kambu. It is rich in calcium, magnesium, protein and fibers.
But now a days it’s not as popular as rice and wheat despite the fact that the pearl millet has got so many health benefits. I feel it got sidelined as people think of it only as healthy and healthy food is often thought of as bland or low in terms of taste. So slowly people forgot the number of tasty dishes that we can prepare with this versatile millet.
When I tell my friends about pearl millet or kambu, often all I get is a blank expression. Then they ask how it can be used in our daily cuisine. The answer happens to a long list.
We can prepare so many dishes with this wonderful ingredient like roti, dosa, adai, paniyaram, sweet pongal, laddus and puttu.
In fact, whenever we prepare sathumaavu or homemade energy drink mix, pearl millet is one the most important ingredient that needs to be added.
If it is dosas that you like, then consuming one or two bajradosaswill fill up your stomach. So those who are diet conscious can include this in your diet. This will boost up your energy levels instantly.
Due to the immense health benefits, it is very good for growing kids. If your kid is anemic, then you can prepare some kambukool and give them to recover soon.
It’s very good for lactating mothers too. I can assure you that it works as whenever I faced this issue I included pearl millet in my daily diet. In order to add variety, I added it in different dishes, I even had pearl millet biscuits.
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Health benefits of bajra for babies and adults:
As I mentioned above, this millet has a lot of different health benefits.
In fact, did you know that it has a high protein content, the highest amongst any grain! It contains iron, calcium, magnesium, protein, folic acid and fiber.
The presence of all these nutrients makes it –
- Good for diabetic patients
Bajra has the ability to increase insulin sensitivity, so it is good for diabetics to keep their diabetes in check.
It is also good for people who do not have diabetes as it helps to lower the risk of its occurrence.
- Reduces bad cholesterol
This helps to reduce the bad cholesterol and keeps you healthy. It is Niacin that is present in the pearl millet that lowers the bad cholesterol.
- Good for weight loss
For all the weight watchers out there, pearl millet won’t put a spoke in your weight loss dream. It takes keeps you feeling full for longer, as the starch takes longer time to break down.
The result is that you won’t give into any unhealthy cravings.So you can munch on goodies made by kambu without feeling guilty.
- Body coolant
Summer is almost here, so I would suggest you add this grain to your diet as it helps to bring down the body heat.
- Good for the stomach
Pearl millet helps to heal stomach ulcers.
Apart from that it is also very good for digestion. It is easy to digest and the fibre present in pearl millet helps to prevent constipation. Thus it ensures that your digestive system functions well.
- Improves lactation
This grain is excellent for lactating mothers as it helps to improve lactation.
- Good for heart problems
The magnesium and potassium present in pearl millet helps to regulate blood pressure.
Apart from that bajra contains lignin which lowers the chance of getting a cardiac arrest. So keep your heart happy with some bajra.
- Helps in growth
Bajra contains calcium and it goes without saying how important this is for the bones.It also contains amino acids that are required for making protein. This makes it an excellent food for growing kids.
- Reduce cancer risk
Studies show that pearl millet helps to protect the body from cancer. It seems to be beneficial for pre-menopausal women as it can protect them from breast cancer.
- Gives instant energy
We are a generation who don’t have time, especially to eat a proper and healthy meal. The result of skipped meals is low energy levels. Pearl millet will be able to help you here as it can help you recharge your body.
The starch in pearl millet is high on energy and as mentioned earlier, it keeps you feeling full.
You can also read about the 31 iron rich foods for babies, toddlers and kids.
5 Healthy bajra recipes for babies and kids:
You have all heard of the famous bajra roti. But today I will share a few rare recipes with pearl millet.
- Kambu sweet
- Kambu instant porridge
- Kambu flour adai
- Kambu flour laddus
How to cook bajra or kambu?
For 1 cup kambu take 3 cups of water.
Boil three cups of water in a pressure cooker. Keep adding the kambu little by little. Make sure nolumps are formed. You can do that by stirring continuously.
Usually three whistles are enough but you can wait till ten whistles just to be sure.
#1. Kambu kool
Kambukool is a famous South Indian summer drink. It is ideal for kids of 2 years and above.
During summer you can find most of the people in Tamil Nadu consume this kambu porridge. This helps to cool the system down and with shallots it will taste yummy. Not just shallots, you can also have it with pickles and vadakams.
I am a die hard fan of this porridge. I love to eat healthy and that’s just one of the many reasons why I love this drink.
If you are also conscious about what you eat, this is a must have drink for you. Adding buttermilk to the porridge will make it even better as it cools the body even more.
Most of the summer days we prefer this for breakfast. Having this as breakfast will keep us active for the whole day. If you are going out at summer just have a glass of this kambukool to stay fresh and brisk.
During my college days, we had to leave early in the morning for campus interviews. I didn’t like to skip breakfast, so usually I had this porridge, as my breakfast.
The best part was that I could drink while travelling too. Now let us look at how to make this yummy porridge.
- Cooked kambu – 1 cup
- Butter milk – 2 cups
- Salt – as per taste
- Once the cooked kambu has cooled down, mix it with buttermilk and salt.
- If you wish, you can add a few chopped shallots.
You can preserve this kambu for a week.
Once the cooked kambuhas cooled down, roll it into big sized balls and drop it into water and store in the fridge. The next day you can just add these balls to buttermilk and enjoy it.
But it is better to change the water you store the kambu balls.
You can even drink the water in which the kambu balls are stored. All you have to do is add a pinch of salt.
The best time to consume this kool is in the mornings and afternoons. It is better to avoid this for dinner.
#2. Kambu sweet
My 2 year daughter loves this recipe. It hardly takes ten to fifteen minutes to prepare. It is an excellent food for growing kids.
The specialty of this recipe is that it contains only healthy ingredients. But there is no compromise in taste. It will taste excellent with ghee.
- Grated coconut – ½ cup
- Elaichi – 2 nos
- Jaggery – ½ cup
- Cooked kambu – 1 cup
- Ghee – 3 teaspoons
Powder the elaichi/ cardamom.
Cook one cup of kambu with three cups of water. Wait for 5 whistles. Once the kambu is cooked keep it aside.
Heat ghee in a pan; add the coconut and fry till light brown color.
Add elaichi and jaggery to the coconut and fry for two minutes.
Mix this fried coconut to cooked kambu. Add extra ghee if needed. Kambu sweet is ready.
NOTE: You can add dry fruits like cashew, pista, badam and raisins. You can also add three spoons of cooked moong dal to the coconut.
Adai is a kind of dosa which is very healthy and makes a tasty breakfast. Kambu adai is ideal for toddlers of 1 year and above.
During my pregnancy, most of the days I had this kambuadai as my breakfast. This gave me good stamina. Adding drumstick leaves to this is makes it extra tasty n healthy.
- Kambu flour – 2cups
- Green chillies – 2nos
- Onion – 1 cup
- Curry leaves – a few
- Sambar powder – ½ spoons
- Drumstick leaves – 1 cup
- Salt – to taste
- Sesame oil or ghee
Mix all the ingredients together with little water (it must be semi solid and not too watery).
Grease the dosa pan with oil or ghee. Spread carefully with hand like a dosa; drizzle a few drops of oil.
Keep it on a low flame, it will three to four minutes to cook. Flip to the other side and wait for two minutes. Serve with coconut or tomato chutney.
- You can add carrot and cabbage instead of drumstick leaves.
- You can skip the green chilies.
- Adding some chopped ginger will also enhance the taste.
- If you have health mix at home can add few spoons.
#4. Kambu instant porridge for babies
This instant porridge is ideal for babies of 8 months and above.
Kambu is an excellent food for growing babies. If your baby is a fussy eater I would recommend this kambu porridge. Eating few spoons of this porridge will make your little one full and a full tummy means good sleep.
To make the porridge taster we can add bengal gram and fried gram. All these ingredients are very beneficial for growing babies.
You can prepare both sweet and salt version of this porridge with this powder. If you add cumin, add salt and sesame oil. If you add elaichi, add ghee and jaggery.
- Broken kambu or kambu flour – 100 gms
- Bengal gram – 50 gms
- Fried grams – 20 gms
- Cumin or elaichi – ½ spoon
Dry roast all the ingredients separately (if using kambu flour, fry it on a very low flame).
NOTE: You can separately add cumin or elaichi at the time of preparing the porridge powder. So with one powder, you can prepare both salt and sweet version.
How to prepare this porridge?
- Dilute two spoons of this powder in some water without any lumps.
- Cook on a low flame slowly.
- Cook for five minutes.
#5. Kambu laddus
This is a very easy and a healthy snack for kids and even for lactating mothers. As we discussed in the introduction pearl millet helps to boost the milk supply.
Pack these laddus for your kids as a snack. Pregnant women and lactating mothers can consume two laddus daily. This will gives you good energy and abundant milk supply.
- Kambu flour– 2 cups
- Jaggery – 1 cup
- Dry fruits of your choice – ¼ cup
- Ghee – 2 spoons
- Dilute jaggery in half a cup of water and make a thin syrup.
- Fry the dry fruits in ghee keep aside.
- Mix kambu flour and dry fruits.
- Add the jiggery syrup in the kambu flour make sure it must be in dough consistency.
- Grease your hands with ghee and make laddus.
- If interested you can add a few strings of saffron strands to the jaggery syrup.
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My kind request to parents is to try and avoid cola drinks.
Try preparing fresh juice at home or else prepare these kind of porridges. These are cheaper than the store bought colas. This summer as the temperatures soar up, let us make a promise to eat healthy and stay healthy.
Hope you liked these bajra recipes for babies and kids. Do try them out and let me know how it turned out!