Jowar flour is gluten free, a millet that grows all over India, even in arid and semi arid regions, but since wheat and rice have become major staple grains owing to the yield supported by fertilisers and irrigation facilities, the millets have taken the beating and very few farmers still grow it. Thankfully we can still get sorghum flour in the markets during winter months and now I even know a farmer who grows these millets organically. Thankfully more people are realising and coming back to millets. Let's learn how to cook millets now.
I had visited Aiyor Bai farm in Hyderabad recently if you remember, and had met Madhu Reddy who left a promising career in the US and came back home to grow organic food at her farm. She had sent some sorghum flour my way through a friend and some aromatic fresh methi was growing in the garden, I made this jowar methi paratha and shared multiple times on intagram and facebook. A few friends wanted to know how to make such perfect looking jowar methi paratha as most people experience very brittle and dry flat breads when they cook with jowar or other millets. I had promised jowar methi ka paratha and here it is, along with the instructions regarding how to make the jowar flour more suitable for flat breads.
I had done a post about how to use ragi flour to make perfect flat breads and this is next in the series.
Note that some traditional folks have mastered the art of making jowar rotis just by hand and that is the best roi I have ever had. Jowarichi bhakri is a hand patted flat bread slow cooked on an Iron skillet and served with traditional curries. But that skill is not easy to come by so we resort to innovation.
How to make flat breads (roti and paratha) with jowar (sorghum) flour...
Since jowar flour is gluten free and has complex carbs and lot of fiber in it, the dough is not sticky and cannot be managed easily. The best way is to knead the dough using hot water for a longer duration so the starches release and make the dough sticky enough to roll well if you are making the traditional jowar ki roti or jowarichi bhakhri. But this method still requires some skill.
The other way is to use a binding agent to the flour that is not too starchy, doesn't alter the Glycemic index of the flour and adds softness to the dough as well.
#I have experienced cooked rice flour into a slurry works well and I had used a red rice flour that was available at Aiyor Bai fam when I cooked the jowar mooli paratha there. Just cook 2-3 tbsp of rice flour with water to make a slurry and knead about 2 cups of jowar flour with it. You can add some grated vegetables of chopped greens to the dough as well. Cook roti or paratha as required.
Here is a methi paratha I made using rice flour slury as the binding agent to jowar flour.
This was about 4 months ago when water chestnuts were in season and I was adding them to most of my stir fries. These methi parathas we love with a spot of amla chutney on the side.
#You can use leftover cooked rice to knead the flour too. Just add some water, cook the rice once again to make it mushy, blend if required and use this slurry to knead the dough.
#The other easy way is to peel, cube and pressure cook a large potato (150 gm) with a cup of water, puree it to make a slurry and use this slurry to knead about 2 cups of jowar flour dough. You can add grated vegetables or chopped greens to this too, along with some seasonings, herbs etc.
#If you don't want to cook a slurry and to add any more starches to the jowar flour, You can add besan (chickpea flour) to jowar flour (1: 3 ratio) and knead a dough using warm water. I use this method quite a lot but the cooked roti or paratha gets dry when cold with this method. It is good only when served really hot.
Here is one jowar gobhi pyaz paratha with besan as a binding agent. I use grated cauliflowers and chopped onions, chopped coriander greens and some grated ginger in this paratha. Omum seeds (ajwain) is generally used in these parathas to make them easily digestible.
I served it with plain yogurt and amle ka achar (Indian Gooseberry pickle). The jowar paratha with besan feels a little heavier than the other variants.
Recipe of jowar methi paratha
(6-8 parathas enough for 3-4 meals, jowar parathas are heavier than wheat parathas)
jowar flour or sorghum flour 1.5 cup
leftover cooked rice 2 tbsp
finely chopped methi (fenugreek leaves) 2 cups packed
ajwain (omum) seeds 1/2 tsp
anardana powder (dry pomegranate seeds powder) 1 tsp
chilly powder 1/2 tsp
salt 1/2 tsp
water 1/2 cup
ghee 1 tsp for each paratha
Cook the leftover rice with 1/2 cup water till very mushy. I did this in microwave, for 3 minutes.
Mix all the other ingredients except ghee and massage them together so most of the water from methi greens comes into the flour. Add the ricr gruel into it slowly and knead a soft dough. Make 6-8 portions and smoothen them into balls.
Roll out each ball using a rolling pin and flip the flat bread over to a hot griddle, preferably an iron griddle. Cook both sides till small patches appear. Brush with ghee and cook till the brownish patches enlarge and the paratha gets crisp and flaky.
Serve hot with curry or chutney, pickle and yogurt.
Leftover parathas can be reheated and had with tea or coffee as a snack. I sometimes fall for this kind of snacking ans skip the next meal because these parathas are quite filling.
Jowar methi ka paratha or jowar gobhi or mooli paratha will not be too difficult to make now. Parathas are made for breakfast all over north India and is had with a dollop of white butter or fresh clotted cream (malai). Arvind loves such parathas with malai and it makes a complete meal for him many a times. I love these with malai too but then such a breakfast keeps you going till evening. This is one of those meals that would have kept a hard working farmer active through the day.
So keep active and eat good food even though it is a bit rich by skewed modern standards. Eat plenty of vegetables and hydrate well to balance. Practice intuitive eating and see how you never over eat and balance out over the course of the day.