Breakfast during the week was and still remains really simple for me. As a kid, it had to be quick so I wouldn't miss the school bus and now it's a moment sandwiched between the gym and work. But I still keep it light and nutritious because breakfast is supposed to be one of the most important meals that sustains us through the day. I often get asked what a traditional Indian breakfast would include but the answer is not an easy one. You can have some many different options depending on which part of the country you visit, each meal reflecting the unique characteristics of that region and what is grown there. One might sweet jalebis (a fried funnel cake like pastry soaked in sugar syrup) served with milk in the North or idlis (steamed rice and lentil cakes) in the South, the options are as endless as they are diverse. You will also find eggs, like my North Indian style scrambled eggs that are spiced, cooked and served with freshly toasted slices of buttered bread.
This is another one of my favorite breakfast items from the Northern region of India. Cracked wheat or daliya is similar to stone cut oatmeal in structure and shape. As the name suggests, the wheat kernels are cracked and fragmented bits of wheat. Cracked wheat is however different from bulgur, the latter being much finer and smaller in size. I remember large pots of the wheat kernels in paternal grandmother's kitchen being cooked with water till they were tender and then fresh whole milk would be stirred into it and lightly sweetened with sugar. Piping hot bowls of the porridge would then be served and they would be gulped down hungrily.
My recipe here is very different, I use lightened coconut milk to bathe the cooked wheat kernels and I flavor it with cinnamon. I also like to add dried goji berries but you are free to add whatever type of fruit or berry you desire. I personally prefer my porridges to be less sweet so feel free to play around with the amount of sweetener options listed in the recipe. I like the taste of both honey or brown sugar here, so you can use either depending on what you prefer.
cracked wheat & coconut milk porridge
yields: 2 servings
1/2 cup (3 2/5 ounces) cracked wheat
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar / 2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
1 can (403ml) of low-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons dried goji berries (unsweetened, preferably)
1. Place the cracked wheat and water in a medium-sized stockpot and heat on a medium high flame. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the wheat kernels are completely tender. Remove the stockpot from the stove. The mixture will become slightly thick.
2. Fold the rest of the ingredients into the cooked cracked wheat kernels. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary.
3. Place the stockpot back on the stove and heat on medium-low flame to a gentle simmer for 2 minutes, do not allow the porridge to boil. Remove from stove and serve hot.