Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Chola(m) Saadham - Sorghum/Jowar Rice

                            Here’s another village food or gramathu samayal, chola(m) saadham, as promised. Cholam, kambu, ragi may all sound very fascinating now, for those who are newly interested in these millets. But, for people in villages, these millets have been their daily food, that provided them with the nutrition and the stamina to work in the fields for long hours and that kept them healthy. Rice or Idly, was something these people cooked only on occasions, like Deepavali, not because they did not like it, but because, ironically, these people who produced rice were not able to afford it. Hence, they lived and live on millets which is cheaper than rice and also healthy. It might be true that millets guarantee a healthy life, but let’s not forget that, it is not just food that keeps the people healthy, but it is also their unbelievable hard work and their disbelief in something called ‘boredom'.

                       One of my aunt’s grandmother who is almost 100 years old now ( not sure, may be more, no one actually knows), still works in the field and when  I last saw her a decade ago, she was a ripe old lady of thin frame, with a heavily wrinkled skin, but still strong enough to help them in the field work. Their tiny hut, where a person has to stoop low to enter and sit in cow dung washed floor, or the long distance we had to walk in the blazing heat to reach the hut, or the lack of electricity, never bothered us, rather we savoured every moment we were there, the spicy mutton curry, the afternoon nap under the neem tree, on a coir cot, embracing the cool wind from the tree, the short walk around the groundnut and spice farm, their warm parting words when we left, are all still fresh in my memories. Their life may look very attractive outwardly, but we cannot overlook the hardships these people endure to live in such calm atmosphere. Following their foot step, eating millets might have a considerable effect on our health, but continuing with the sedentary lifestyle will not help.

Millets are usually hand pound in a ural using ulakkai ( a large size mortar and pestle) and the husks are removed patiently sifting in a muram. For a long time I preferred making idly batter, in a mortar and pestle  with my grandmother sitting beside me to help me through, though it took a long time than what a mixie jar would do in few minutes, but when I moved, lack of space forced me to rely on electric appliances. But, now, I adore my little mortar and pestle which I use to make all my fresh spices and once, during a power cut, I even managed to make Urundai kolambu using only my mortar pestle, right from the scratch, which is not an easy task if you know what I am talking about, but I loved it.
Here, I have used a mixie jar, to make chola(m) saadham, which makes the work easier and cooked like  rice. Chola saadham can also be prepared by pressure cooking. (will explain in the following posts)

Serves 1
Cholam             1/2 cup
Water                3 cups + 3 1/2 tsp
Salt                   1/2 tsp

Sprinkle a tsp of water on cholam and pulse in short intervals in a mixie jar. Add another tsp of water and pulse again briefly.
Transfer to a Muram (Winnow basket) or a plate and tap gently under the muram. While tapping the husk will separate from the millet, blow away the husk.
Transfer back to the mixie jar and add a tsp of water and pulse again briefly. Again transfer to the muram and remove the husk. Repeat this until all the husk is removed and the cholam looks like coarse idly rava.
Rinse the cholam well.

In a heavy bottomed cooking pan, take the rinsed cholam and add 3 cups of water.
Bring it a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 40 minutes, ( Time starting from the minute it is on heat) stirring the mixture now and then to avoid forming lumps and stir continuously towards the end of the cooking procedure, to avoid sticking to the bottom. Add salt and give a final stir. The rice will begin to gather to a mass. Remove from heat.
Let it cool. Serve with a spicy veg curry or  fish curry or thuvaiyal or with sautéed greens( keerai masiyal). Here I have served with a slightly sweet and spicy Garlic curry and Jackfruit seed porial.

Palakottai porial - Jackfruit Seed Stir fry
I am not going to give the exact quantity because I did not measure anything, so just a rough guidance, adjust according to taste.
Jackfruit seeds
Green chilly
Ginger garlic paste
turmeric powder
Chilly+ coriander powder
Grated coconut
Coriander leaves

Pressure cook the jackfruit seeds and keep it aside.
Heat oil and add the fennel and curry leaves.
Add the chopped onion, green chilly and sauté  until it begins to change colour.
Add the ginger garlic paste and stir.
Add turmeric powder, chilly powder, salt and stir.
Add the cooked jackfruit seed, stir and add the grated coconut and stir.
Stir in the chopped coriander leaves and serve.

The left over chola saadham can be stored by keeping them immersed in a bowl of water.
The same method is used to cook Kambu saadham ( Pearl millet rice).
The idea of sprinkling water in cholam is to slightly moisten, to remove the husk. When it is pulsed in a mixie, it becomes dry, sprinkle more water( little by little, 1/2 tsp at a time) and continue the process.


  1. Hai Mam,
    Well done.Very interesting and useful blog.Thank u for sharing such authentic healthy receipes .Its great to watch the videos.It is very useful for me.I am very glad to see the millets receipes and I have confidently started cooking varagu,saamai,kuthiraivalli rice varities.Thanks a lot to u mam.Best wishes for ur fantastic job:):):)

    1. Chitra, I am happy it was useful to you, thanks for the feedback.


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Finally on this day of october the 1st, 2012, I have decided to include the comment form, after a long gap of two years. But, I am going to be a bit selfish here and keep all those nice and lovely things that is said for me and only me to cherish and will be sharing any queries that requires clarifications and your experience about the food if you have tried my recipes. So, drop in a word if you have anything to say and thanks a lot for stopping by.
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