stories from the last couple of weeks and a recipe of hurda upma, tender green sorghum grains (hara jowar)

It's already a new year and it has been so long since I posted a new recipe here. Wishing you all a great year ahead. More health, more happiness and more wellness. More awareness and some more motivation to keep it all going.

The festive season was good, although I was alone at home for 2 weeks as the husband was away for a training. Delhi got colder, I got more swamped with work, yet managed to take out time and visit a few places and meet a few friends. Took a friends kids to a Christmas event and watched them have fun. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Shangri-La's was spectacular and I had my first mulled wine of the season there.

I also managed to bake a nice gluten free Panforte for Christmas and loved it once more. I always believe our desserts can be made nice without any added sugar, there are so many natural sweeteners and great flavourful fruits that can bring a dessert to life, this gluten free panforte was made using the sweetness in dried fruits like dates, figs, apricots and prunes with addition of some orange marmalade to add depth to the combined flavours. Check out the recipe I posted last year.

I dusted the crust with some poppy seeds this time to make the slices look better. Normally the surface is dusted with powdered sugar. That can be skipped you know :-)

I met the legendary Chef Aldo Zilli as well, it was such a good experience to talk to him about his work and his passion, more on that in the next post. I went to meet him thinking he would be this larger than life type person who takes his food really seriously, I found he is a humble man as well and doesn't hesitate to clear the tables at his restaurants if required. I definitely returned home as a Zilli fan.

I enjoyed a few foods he cooked himself and he even posed happily for my camera. He gifted his book Zilli Light to me, a book that can be a good start to eating healthy if you are not at it already.

Before that I went to Bombay for a few days to shoot for a couple of episodes of a foodie show, met a celebrity chef once again and came back truly impressed with him. So much to learn from the maestros, so much to motivation and inspiration. Believe me I am not being a spoilsport when I say I would talk about this experience more later. I really did a lot of things when I was missing in action from the blogs. You would be swamped with more stories in the coming week as I am going to tell you every single thing.

While in Bombay we went to shop around a bit, found interesting things in Crawford market and shopped judiciously because we had to carry things in the limited baggage space. Deeba was a partner in crime as we walked along the lanes of Crawford market.

I spotted a shop with only bananas of different types and taste the famous Elaichi bananas for the first time. If I compare the Elaichi banana with the similar looking Cheeniya kela from Bihar, cheeniya kela wins hands down in terms of texture and sweetness.

Later we found a sweet chap who was selling tender green Sorghum and tender green wheat berries outside the market. He had some fine besan sev and limes and tomatoes etc to toss up a jhal mudi kind of snack if you want. This was quite interesting as I had never seen such a snack in Northern India.

I immediately bought both of them and kept them in the minibar fridge at the hotel, so it is safe till it reaches home. What all I do for any unusual ingredient that I find :-)

This tender green sorghum is also called Hurda in Maharashtra and Ponk in Gujrat and they make some nice breakfast and snacks recipes with it. We call it hara jowar in Hindi but I rarely see them being sold in markets here. I remember fire roasted hara jowar or hara bajra (tender green pearl millet) being mixed with fresh jaggery and ghee being discussed by my grandmother but never had the luck to taste that.

One way to enjoy fresh sorghum in Maharashtra is to roast them on the cob just like we do with corn on the cob and enjoy it with chutney or other seasonings. There are a few suggestions for tender sorghum or hurda in this video by Saee on youtube. Another recipe with hurda is here to explain how the grain is enjoyed as a chaat like salad. More details and pictures of hurda can be seen here.

To the left in this picture is hurda or ponk (tender green sorghum grains), the right side bag contains tender green wheat grains.

Back home, the tender green sorghum was cooked to make upma. The recipe was suggested by Anjali and I loved the way it tasted. I had a large mug of coffee to go with it, Delhi was feeling colder after the Bombay heat.

The recipe of hurda upma is simple. I would scribble it down quickly for your reference and you can tweak the recipe as per your taste. It is basically a savoury, hot and sour breakfast cereal that has a hint of sweetness too. I love the crushed roasted peanuts and coconut chips with this. The tender sorghum grains can be extremely tender and sweet or a bit mature and chewy so adjust the cooking time accordingly and add a pinch of sugar if required. A squirt of lime juice and you are set for a burst of flavours to start the day.

For 2 servings you need about 1.5 cup of tender sorghum or hurda. Rinse and strain well if you are buying it from street vendors.

Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil and add a tempering of a pinch of mustard seeds, handful of curry leaves and a couple of dry red chillies. Wait till everything sizzles, add the tender sorghum grains and salt to taste. Stir fry for a couple of minutes if the grains are really tender and soft or you might need to cook it covered if they are a bit mature. Do not add water if possible, just a sprinkling would suffice if the grains don't cook quickly. 

Sprinkle a pinch of sugar to adjust seasoning. Add crushed roasted peanuts, grated coconut or coconut chips, squeeze some lime juice and have it warm.

Next day I added these green gems to a khichdi along with red lentils and chopped cauliflower, coriander greens and ginger etc. The khichdi was nice with a microwave cooked mash of tomatoes with garlic and raw mustard oil.

I would use this grain more if I get this easily in this part of the country. Sorghum is grown in northern India a lot and I think the tender green sorghum is also consumed in rural areas, it just needs a better distribution system or may be a little more demand by the city folks. I hope it happens sooner as we do need some indigenous foods and not the chia seeds and quinoa traveling across the globe to reach our Kitchen counter. 

No I am not demanding too much, I just want to reclaim our desi foods. Tell me if you get this tender sorghum grains in your part of the world. How do you cook it?

More on the tender green wheat grains later. I promise I will post regularly now. 

Wishing you all great times ahead. More health more wellness once again.


  1. This is the first time I am seeing Ponk in that part of our country!

    They taste most yummy with Garlic chutney and that sev the gentleman was serving. Also Ponk Bhajji's are out of this world! you must try them... maybe unhealthy (read oily) but divine in taste! :P

  2. what a beautiful post Sangeeta. love these Hurda pictures and the recipes. hope your new year started on a great note.

  3. Such fun being partners in crime and such a wonderful post to ring in the year! The GF Pan Forte is one I still have to try; have heard so much about it.


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