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Meetha Khichda (Spiced Wheat Pudding)

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

This substantial and energising Rajasthani sweet dish will keep you going all day long whilst its delicious goodness will keep you indulged.

My beloved naani (Grandmother, Mother's mother) often made Meetha Khichda for me whenever I visited her cause she knew it was one of my favourite. This dish holds a special place in my heart and always reminds me of my sweetest naani. She used to spend hours in the kitchen, preparing this pudding.

Don't worry, you won't have to sweat away in the kitchen to make this delicious recipe. I've devised a less time-consuming method that is nearly hands-free. If you want to know how to keep reading.

To create this dish, you'll need to have some Chada hua gehu (whole wheat grain with its outer skin removed) on hand. In Australia, chada hua gehu was hard to come by. So, my travels to India were always accompanied by the purchase of gehu to last me till the next trip. I did this for many years until I stumbled upon a grain box labeled Peeled Wheat next to another container labeled Whole Wheat while wandering through a Middle Eastern grocery store. I couldn't understand why the same company would sell both peeled and whole wheat under the same label. So, immediately, I went online to look up the difference, and voila, my chada hua gehu was discovered. I shrieked with delight, like a small excited kid. The entire store was gazing at me as if I was a lunatic, which was hilarious.

I've been making this pudding for a while now and it never gets old. That's how incredible it really is. It's so full that it may easily pass for a meal. Many a time, we have it for breakfast as well like a porridge or cereal, and it keeps us satisfied for a long time.

Skip to recipe Meetha Khichda (Spiced Wheat Pudding) Recipe or continue reading for tips and stages of making the recipe

Ingredients for Meetha Khichda / Spiced Wheat pudding

All you need is Peeled wheat, water, full-fat Milk (or Almond milk for Vegan), Sugar, Saffron, Cardamom, Almonds, Pistachios, and Sultanas (Raisins), most of which are easily found in every (Q)Kitchen.

Pressure cooker...

I use an electric pressure cooker. A gas top pressure cooker will do equally well. My recipe has instructions for both types of cookers.

Personally, I like my electric cooker for many reasons (some stated below) which makes cooking easier, faster, and has fewer vessels to clean.

1. It comes with a stainless steel cooking container, better than the non-Stick container, and it can go straight into the dishwasher for cleaning.

2. It doesn't whistle and spurt liquid vapour all over my countertop. Again, one less job of unnecessary cleaning.

3. I can set the cooking time and it will turn off by itself when done. Perfect, for times when I am busy running errands for the day.

4. It has a sauté option which is handy to heat up the oil and sauté spices and vegetables prior to pressure cooking. I also use this setting for further heating or boiling food. Ideal to make recipes in one pot and less washing to do.

If you have any queries related to the recipe or equipment I have used please feel free to drop a line in the comment box. Always happy to help my followers to make their cooking experience fun and hassle-free.

Stages of making - 6 simple steps

1. Wash peeled wheat

When cooking with whole grains, it is important to properly wash them. So, place peeled wheat in a cooker pot, add water, wash, rinse, and repeat three times to ensure thorough cleaning.

2. Pressure cook wheat in water

After rinsing and draining the peeled wheat, place the pot in an electric cooker. Add the amount of water specified in the recipe. Cook with the pressure cooker lid on (cook settings are mentioned in the recipe). The final image illustrates how rapidly each wheat grain has plumped up.

Note: As much as you may be tempted to stir the cooked grains and check on them, please resist. This is to prevent the pudding from sticking to the base of the pot and burning during the remainder of the recipe's procedures.

3. Pressure cook wheat in milk

Without stirring the wheat grains, pour full-fat milk / vegan milk (refer recipe for the amount over the cooked grains. Place the pressure cooker lid back on and continue to cook (setting provided in the recipe). The last picture shows how speedily each grain of wheat has cooked completely and expanded. Each grain will be soft to touch with a slight give. That's the kind of spongy texture we're looking for.

Note: The milk may appear split but trust me when I say it isn't. Because grains have absorbed all the milk very well and the next step will help make the pudding creamier and pudding-like.

4. Simmer pudding with additional Milk, Sugar, Cardamom, and Saffron

Nooooow you get to stir the cooked grains. Patience pays up in spades.

There are two things you can do here either, transfer cooked grains to a saucepan like how I did in the photos below or leave them in the cooker (which I normally do most of the time). Add remaining full-fat milk / Vegan milk to cooked grains. Switch the gas on low flame for the gas top cooking or on saute mode for the electric cooker. Mix in the sugar. Allow it to boil for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meanwhile, soak saffron strands in hot water for 3-4 minutes before using them.

This will assist the saffron, unleash its lovely golden colour and fragrant scent. Also, crush cardamom seeds into powder. Add both soaked saffron along with water and ground cardamom powder.

Note: Always soak saffron for a few minutes before using it, and try to use freshly ground cardamom instead of ready-made cardamom powder for that amazing flavour and aroma.

5. Mix in dry fruits and simmer

Add in slivered almonds, pistachio, and sultanas (raisins). Mix and simmer for another 5 minutes and it's done.

Note: If you want your pudding thicker, you may boil it longer, but keep in mind that as it cools, it will thicken even more.

Pour extra milk if you want your pudding to be thinner.

6. Garnish and Serve

The final step is to serve it hot, garnished with slivered almonds and pistachio. A few silver leaf strips (which are entirely optional) might be added for a richer appearance.

What is peeled wheat?

Whole wheat grain with the outer skin removed is known as peeled wheat. It is made by washing and removing the tough upper layer of skin.

Where can I get peeled wheat?

In India, it's called chada hua gehu. Originally, it was only available in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, but it is now available in many other Indian states. It may be found at India's kirana stores.

Chada hua gehu, also known as peeled wheat, is a frequent ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking, which I discovered a few years ago. People who reside outside of India, such as me, can obtain peeled wheat from Middle Eastern groceries shop. They are now also available at supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths.

How to make this dessert Vegan?

Easy. Simply substitute Almond milk for full-fat milk. Since I've tried it myself, I can attest that it's effective. Here's a pudding prepared using almond milk.

If you want a coconut flavour, try coconut milk, or other vegan milk like soy milk, rice milk, and so on, depending on your preferences.

How to alter the consistency?

To make your pudding thicker, boil it longer, but remember that as it cools, it will get even thicker. The pudding can be thinned out by adding more milk and reheating it.

Garnish options?

Nuts are the obvious garnish option. However, you can up the ante with dried rosebuds/rose petals, freeze-dried berries, or chocolate shavings, or how a sprinkle of pomegranate kernels.

Serving options?

Warm is my preferred method of serving. In hot weather, however, you can serve it chilled.

Can it be made ahead of time?

Yes, this dish can be prepared ahead of time. It will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Because the pudding will thicken in the fridge, add a splash of milk and reheat just before serving. It will keep in the freezer for a couple of months.

Note: Once defrost, do not re-freeze. Freeze in smaller quantities so you can take out only what you require.

Variation options?

Rose Flavour: For a touch of rose scent, add 1/4 teaspoon rose water (Gulab Jal).

Serve with rose petals as a garnish.

Chocolate Flavour: Add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder when the pudding is simmering. Garnish with chocolate flakes while serving to make it extra chocolatey.

Citrusy Flavour: Citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit are all good choices.

To make it zesty, stir in a tablespoon of citrus zest (lemon, orange, etc.) or a few drops of certified edible citrous essential oil. On top, arrange a candied citrous fruit slice or rind.

Fruity: When the pudding is served cold, this will work nicely. Before serving, chop up your favourite fruits and distribute them in the pudding; another alternative is to serve them layered in a glass container.

What special dietary needs does this recipe cater to?

This is the ideal recipe that covers a wide range of dietary requirements. It is perfect for Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Nut-free (do not add nuts as garnish), and Lactose-free diets.

Take a peek at this luscious, creamy dessert with a generous helping of almonds. Isn't it a sight to behold?
Make this, and it will keep you captivated till the very last mouthful, much like an intriguing novel.

Recipe link below


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