Rajgira ( Amaranth ), I have been reading about this seed, so much on the web for so long, but only recently I bought a pack of this nutritious grain. Though you can read about its nutritional value on the web, let me give a brief information about it, since this is the first time I am posting something with it on my blog. It's gluten free, it's high in protein, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and has twice the calcium as milk. It's the only grain that has Vitamin C and has all the 9 amino acids needed by the body. It's good for the eyes and for you ladies ( men too ) out there, it's very good for the hair. This grain/seed is not used in the Tamil cuisine, at least as far as I know, but it's widely used in North Indian cooking, the seeds are popped and made into ladoos, chikkis or kheer and the rajgira/amaranth flour is used to make rotis and parathas. Since, I had bought the seeds, I thought I'll try out the ladoos, we can't make the ladoos with the raw seeds, they have to be popped first. Popping the seeds needs a little patience and time, once the seeds are popped ( you also get popped rajgira ), then the ladoos can be made in no time. To start with, I popped just 1/3 of a cup of these seeds and made the ladoos. They turned out really good, tasted nutty but very, very light when compared to sesame ladoos..
Need To Have
- Rajgira Seeds/Amaranth - 1/3 cup
- Chopped Cashews - 1 tablespoon
- Raisins - 1 tablespoon
- Ghee/Clarified Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Original recipe here.
Heat a heavy bottomed pan, add the seeds a little at a time ( a couple of teaspoons ), you'll see it popping ( just like sesame seeds ). Immediately cover the pan with a lid, let the popping stop, then remove it immediately before it starts to brown. If you don't cover it with the lid, then the seeds are going to pop all over the place. Do the same with all the seeds and keep.
Sieve the popped seeds ( using a fine sieve ) to remove the seeds that have not popped. Add the cashews and raisins to the popped rajgira.
Heat the ghee, add the jaggery along with a tablespoon of water and let it to melt. then remove it when it starts bubbling up.
Pour the jaggery syrup ( strain it, as shown in the picture ) over the seeds and give a quick mix with a spoon. Then while it's still hot ( of course, bearably hot ), wet your hands with water and shape out ladoos. Let the ladoos cool for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature, then they can be stored for about a month.
As per the original recipe I should have added only 1/3 cup of jaggery for 1/3 cup of the seeds, but I found it difficult to shape the ladoos. Also I read that there is a special jaggery to make these ladoos and chikkis.
I just got 12 to 13 small ladoos, so we got it done within a week, but it should stay good for a month,
Figure out the heat at which you have to keep the pan for popping the seeds, I used a small omelette nonstick pan, so I reduced the heat completely while popping the seeds.
Wet your hands with water before shaping each ladoo.