This porridge with the goodness of two whole grains, sprouted green gram (moong), and flavoured with cardamom and sweetened with Indian unrefined sugar aka jaggery beats the texture , creaminess, as well as yumminess of commercial cereals.
I have added a cashewnut and almond inorder to add to the taste as well as nutrition. This is because it is common among indians (the one's that belong to my circle, anyway) to add a couple of nuts to the usual multigrain cereal flour (sattu maavu) that is given to babies after they cross the eighth month. I had introduced abhi (our baby) to nuts early on and had ensured she is not allergic to them. In case of a family history of allergy to nuts, just make this recipe without the nuts.
Like wise I have used 'podiyari' which can be best described as the 'rice' counterpart to burghul. podiyari is to rice as burghul is to wheat! ( that was a wide throw).This is easily available in south india and out here in Oman (where we live now) since there live a large number of south indian expats here. Podiyari is made out of Kerala rose matta rice (red rice). In case this is unavilable,follow the procedure mentioned in the post script given after the recipe.
Podiyari (broken red rice) - 1 teaspoon (5 gms)
Pearl Barley - 1 teaspoon
Green gram sprouts (moong sprouts) - 10-15 nos
Almond - 1
Cashew - 1
Cardamom - 2-3 grains from a pod (not the whole pod)
Jaggery syrup - 1 teaspoon ( if you dont get jaggery use demerara or any unrefined sugar variety)
Milk - 1/4 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Rinse out the grains and sprouts. Add everything together , apart from jaggery, and pressure cook for 6 whistles. Direct stove top method can take 20-30 minutes on medium and low flame depending on the barley variety. Once done, blend into a smooth mixture, add the jaggery syrup, simmer for a minute. If too thick add some more boiled water.
PS: If podiyari is unavailable, substitute with any other red or brown rice variety (even white will do though this nutritionally inferior). Follow this procedure:
Rinse the rice, spread on a clean cotton cloth and allow to air dry. When almost dry, throw into a skillet and dry roast on very small flame for about 5 minutes. Put into a chutney jar or coffee grinder and grind till it takes on a coarse burghul like texture.
Podiyari - High in fiber, nutrients and vitamins.
Barley - is a very good source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, apart from many minerals and vitamins including selenium, manganese, folate, and niacin.
Almond - Is a prebiotic (increases the good bacteria naturally present in the intestine) source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, etc.
Cashewnut - contains magnesium, copper, phospherous, and manganese.
Green bean sprouts - Sprouting increases the nutritional benefits of the wonder bean, whole moong. Its a better source of protein, B vitamins, iron, and calcium.
Jaggery - iron rich
Cardamom - is a great flavouring agent and used in combination with jaggery increases iron absorbency.