I had used the bajra so long back I'd even forgotten whether it was jowar (also a millet) or bajra. I hadn't eaten it before that but had decided to try it out because I saw some recipe for a khichdi with it. That turned out to be a not so pleasant experience and the cereal stayed in my pantry, unused. When I found out there was no wheat, I was a little disappointed but decided to use this for the haleem. The next step was to identify what it was.
Typing 'jowar' and 'bajra' and trying to label it as one or the other based on the colour didn't work. My cereal was green, but on the Internet, there was green jowar and green bajra, as well as dull white. Then my memory helped me and I remembered the khichdi recipe had called it bajra khichdi and I had bought a packet labelled 'bajra'. So bajra it is!
Incidentally, when we were kids and travelling, we used to see jowar/bajra stalks strewn on the road. I imagine the intention was to get it threshed as vehicles went over it. I even found a picture, see? Guess it still happens!
I set about making the 'haleem' - yes, it's haleem in spirit alright, so that's what I will call it. Now that we've got that out of the way, let me tell you about what I put in it. The original recipe called for peas, cauliflower, brinjals/eggplant and capsicum/green bell pepper but all I had was yellow pumpkin, broccoli and potato.
Now we all know broccoli isn't the best substitute for cauliflower though there's a resemblance, but I plunged it into some hot water anyway. Then I realised there was quite a big chance of the haleem getting into hot water if I went ahead with my eyes wide open, so I used only the stalks.
I halved the amount of vegetables and pressure cooked it as Farah and Neff, who commented on the previous vegetarian haleem post told me. I did face some reverses: the mixture started burning despite all the water I put in it, and when I rescued it and transferred it to another pressure cooker with more water, it stuck to that too, but it was all edible and didn't smell charred. So though it's going to be painful to evaporate all that water later, I suggest you use a spacious pressure cooker and lots of water, maybe two cups more than I did.
So here's how I made it
Bajra - 3/4 cup
2 tbsp red gram/toor daal/kandi pappu
1 tbsp green gram/moong dal/pesara pappu
1 tbsp split Bengal gram/channa daal/senaga pappu
A handful each of peeled, cubed yellow pumpkin, potato, and broccoli stalks
2 medium onions, sliced
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander/dhania powder
1 tsp cumin/jeera powder
5 cups of water (I used 3)
4 tbsps of ghee or oil
For garnish: Some sliced onion, fried crisp
Coriander leaves/hara dhania/kothimeera, chopped
In a big pressure cooker, heat half the melted ghee or oil. Fry onions until brown. Reserve about two spoons for the garnish.
Stir in garlic, ginger paste, fry for a few minutes. Add coriander powder, turmeric, chilli, salt, coriander and cumin powders and add the millet and dal mixture. Stir well. Pour in the water.
Let it cook without the weight till the millet and lentils are tender. Don't leave the kitchen, because the moment you do, it will burn and your haleem might be ruined.
Once it's tender, add the vegetables, some more water if you think it's necessary and pressure cook again, with the weight. (Just go by your instincts here - my instincts went away and I had to firefight, literally.) This will take just about 3-4 minutes. Again, don't leave the kitchen, and watch the haleem like a hawk.
When the pressure drops, open the vessel, add the garam masala and the remaining ghee or oil.
Keep stirring often. Let the extra water evaporate. Watch out for some heavy-duty spluttering.
Let the ghee float to the top and the colour turn golden. Once you’ve put it into a serving bowl, garnish with the fried onions and chopped coriander. Serve hot with pieces of lime.
I'm sending this off to Susan who's hosting the 50th edition of her event, My Legume Love Affair, on her blog this month.
If you want another 'Id delicacy' that's as unorthodox as this haleem and no less delicious, in my book, here's some Khubani ka Meetha! Eat both together at your own risk - you won't be able to lift yourself off your chair!