Looking for gluten free recipes? Say gluten free cookies?
Well, ask for it and you have it readily available here.
Rajgira or amaranth is a high protein, high vitamin & mineral gluten-free grain that has remained a staple for many ancient cultures.
The best fact about the gluten free amaranth is that it can be consumed as:
- a leaf - make rajgria saag with it (known as chulai in Odiya and tastes delicious with simple ingredients on your shelf..will share the recipe )
- a seed - amaranth ladoo for vrat/Navratris
- grain flour - make amaranth parantha, dosa, idli, cake, or cookies
Festive season is just around the corner. The beginning of Navratras rings the bell for the festive season in India. The holy days when people from across the country observe fast in reverence of Goddess Durga and of course to please the deity. In English navratri means nine nights. The last four days of navratri are celebrated as Durga Puja in Bengal, which is a quintessentially Bengali festival.
Usually people savor fruits during Navratri fast. There is a special fruit-based flour known as singhara or chestnut flour that is used to prepare delicious flat breads during fasting days. In my mom's home, she prepares delicious sighara parothas that we savor with aloo curry or potato curry, tempered with cumin seeds and tomato.
- No onion, no garlic for fasting days.
- No vegetables (but I have seen many people eating bottle gourd, cabbage, and cucumber during these days ...am surprised!!)
- No use of wheat and related flours
We ideally savor amaranth flour ladoos, and during navratri fasts these ladoos were my tea time accompaniment, for I couldn't think of having cookies during fast. But these days we have started experimenting and these experiments have led us to create savories, snacks from the typical fasting ingredients. These navratri fasting recipes are a big surprise package - we couldn't think of them just a few years back!
Benefits of Amaranth
A native of Peru, amaranth grain has been cultivated for over 7,000 years. This is a big surprise for me,
If you are looking for super grains, then rest assured that you are reading about one now.
- The tiny yet powerful grain is gluten free and a rich protein source.
- Technically it is not a grain, but a "pseudo cereal" packed with protein punch.
- Amaranth contains iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. One cup of uncooked amaranth can give you 82% iron, 31 percent calcium, and 14 percent vitamin C.
- Amaranth is a rich source of amino acid lycine, so it acts as a digestion aid. This is one quality that sets rajgira flour apart from other whole grains.
- It comprises primary water-soluble proteins, known as albumin and globulins, which are more soluble and easily digestible.
- Studies link amaranth benefits to heart health, claiming that the grain helps lower bad cholesterol and hypertension.
- It makes a good gluten substitute for recipes that require gluten despite being gluten free. It may be used as a thickener for soups, sauces, and stews.
- Enjoy the peppery-crunchy texture and flavor of amaranth as a snack,
- It can replicate tiny popcorn kernels and can be enjoyed as toppings, thanks to its nutty taste.
I started experimenting just last year, but I had not thought of making cookies with the fasting approved flours. Recently, someone asked me to share amaranth flour cookie or rajgira cookie recipe. So this gave me an idea to experiment with amaranth for my cookies.
I must tell you, this experiment did not disappoint. Rather, the aroma of baking amaranth is so addictive! Can't explain in words!
Without further ado, let's get back to the rajgira cookies:
1/2 cup- rajgira atta
1/2 cup- almond powder or almond meal (here is the recipe for making almond meal at home)/ or coconut powder (I tried one batch with almond meal and substituted the same with dry coconut powder in the other, and the result was just awesome in both)
2 tbsp- sugar/ honey (you may add more if you like it sweeter)
2 tbsp- cold ghee/butter
1 tbsp- cold milk (if the dough feels dry, add 1 tbsp more)
1/2 tsp- Baking soda (or you may skip it altogether - then you will get rajgira crackers)
- Sieve baking soda, salt, and amaranth flour.
- Mix almond meal. If you are using coconut powder, add it here. My next batch was amaranth coconut cookies, and these tasted yummy. Made this batch for my elder sister who simply loves coconut flavor.
- Add cold ghee. Rub with hands.
- Add sugar or honey. Mix very well.
- Now add milk 1 tbsp at a time. If the dough feels dry, add 1 tbsp more.
- Do not knead. Just collect the ingredients.
- It should be little soft dough, though not too soft, nor too hard.
- Make a log and pack into a parchment paper or silver foil.
- Refrigerate for half an hour.
- Preheat oven (mw convection) at 180degrees for 10 mts.
- Flatten the dough log like a chapati.
- Cut into different shapes.
- Place evenly on the baking tray.
- Bake for 12-15 mts at 180 degrees.
- Enjoy amaranth flour cookies with a cup of tea.
- Do share how you find this festive recipe. Of course, you can enjoy this gluten free cookie recipe on any day other than fasting period as well.
|pic courtesy: Harsharan K|