Food for the Soul: Warmly Welcome Winter with Homemade Himachali Sidhu

Whenever I go to Himachal, one thing that keeps reverberating in my mind is the thought of going to the mountains permanently. It gets stronger with each visit. And honestly, it’s not always the fresh air or the fresh food, it’s the vibrancy of the place and its people.

Today, Shimla demands to share the story of one such trip to Himachal Pradesh. I had shared about my trip to the capital of Himachal on my Instagram stories. To my surprise one of my followers got in touch and expressed a desire to meet. Anju Nirmal Sharma Yes Kasumpti warmed my heart with a sweet (and salty) sense of humor: She surprised me with authentic house-made Siddoo in both sweet and savory versions.

Sweet and Salty Siddu Stuffing. (Photo: Shalini Rajni)

Meethi Siddu was prepared with a stuffing of jaggery and nuts, while the savory variation of this classic Himachali dish was a mix of chutney ingredients with mint, garlic, onion along with some poppy seeds. during our upcoming conversation about traditional Dhams (Festival Feast) From Himachal, and how recipes have been adapted over the years, Anju tells me that the siddus she makes are made with kodo millet flour.

I’m excited to share her unique, customized recipe for this dish. In cold weather, it can maintain optimum body temperature as Himachal Pradesh experiences harsh winters.

Himachali Siddas with Kodo Millet

Component (for 6 big size Siddoo)

For Sidhu flour

  • 1 cup – wheat flour
  • cup – kodo millet flour
  • salt to taste
  • tsp – instant yeast
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • 2 tbsp cow’s ghee
  • lukewarm water to knead

Sidhu for Stuffing

  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cashews and almonds
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • cup finely chopped green garlic
  • 1 medium finely chopped green chili (optional)
  • salt to taste

Sidhu for Stuffing

  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cashews and almonds
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • cup grated jaggery

Method:

1. Mix instant yeast, jaggery and salt in whole wheat and kodo millet flour. Knead the mixture with lukewarm water. Keep the dough covered for 1-2 hours. It will become light and bloated. The authentic recipe calls for natural yeast but this time it was a quick plan, so instant yeast came in handy.

2. For stuffing, take poppy seeds (post grain) and heat it in a pan for 5 minutes while stirring continuously. Let it cook and then grind it in a mixer. Add the rest of the ingredients and keep aside.

3. For sweet Sidhu instead of salty, you need to mix crushed jaggery with chopped dry fruits in poppy seeds powder.

4. Now to make siddu, make 6-10 balls out of the dough and fill the post grain mixture (poppy seed mixture) in it. Watch the attached video for stuffing.

5. Boil water in the lower tier of the steamer. Place the siddus on a container placed in a sieve and cover it with a tight lid. Steam them for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from steamer. Sidhu is ready to be served hot with Cow Ghee and Walnut Chutney.

6. Always serve hot.

(Shalini Rajni is a millet coach, founder of Crazy Kadchi, and conducts innovative millet cooking workshops for all age groups.)

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