Food & Drink Magazine

Crack the Code with Whole Wheat Kheer

By Weliketocook @welike2cook
Food truly is a universal language. We have met so many new friends through recipe posts, social media shares and food-related events. It is always fun to follow their culinary adventures and learn from their perspectives. Several years ago, I became Facebook friends with another Atlanta food writer, Nandita Godbole of Curry Cravings, and am excited to have reviewed her newest cookbook (actually the second edition of) “Crack the Code.”
In it, she breaks down Indian cooking using her own secret formula: a six-tier system in which ingredients are organized by the order they are best introduced into the cooking process. Recipes start with tier 1 which includes spices that need to bloom, tier 2 adds ingredients that need longer cooking times, tier 5 brings in the main component (usually the protein), while tier 6 layers on the finishing touches and garnishes. The essential principle is that there is a time and place for each ingredient in every dish.
Crack the Code with Whole Wheat KheerIn all honesty, I have always been very intimidated by Indian cooking, but with easy access to so many of the ingredients used in traditional Indian cuisine, we have been trying more dishes at home especially the hearty dal which is perfect for cold wintery weather. When I gave up sweets for Lent and was searching for a healthy alternative to satisfy my sweet tooth, I turned to Nandita’s cookbook for ideas. Bingo! In it, I found her recipe for cracked whole wheat kheer made with cardamom and almonds which makes for a hearty breakfast or a tasty dessert. I adapted her recipe to use bulgur wheat which requires less cooking time (and patience) and added some dried apricots for a little extra natural sweetness.
Whole Wheat Kheer with Apricots
1 tablespoon clarified butter
1-2 pods of green cardamom
1 cup bulgur wheat, rinsed
¾ cup water
¾ cup whole milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 - 3 tablespoons almonds, chopped
2 - 3 tablespoons dried apricots, raisins or other dried fruit, chopped
Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, reduce heat to low and add the cardamom to the pan to bloom. After about one minute the cardamom should be fragrant and have released the flavor into the butter. I left the cardamom pods in the pan to maximize the flavor, but you could take it out here if you prefer more subtle spice. Either way, the pods are not really edible.
Crack the Code with Whole Wheat KheerAdd the rinsed bulgur to the butter in the pan and increase the heat to medium. Stir the bulgur in the butter for 2-3 minutes until fully coated and glistening. Add water to the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and allow to simmer for about 8 - 10 minutes to fully cook the bulgur.
Uncover the pan and add the milk. Continue to simmer until the milk is reduced. Add the sugar, dried fruit and almonds, and continue cooking until the sugar is dissolved stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. When the dish has reached the desired consistency, ladle into serving bowls and dig in!
To learn more about Nandita and to order her new cookbook, visit her blog, Curry Cravings Kitchen. You can also find her Crack the Code e-cookbook on iTunes.

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