Ponk / Paunk no Chevdo (Spiced, tender roasted sorghum grains) - typically a very Gujarati snack

If you are Gujarati or Indian, chances are you may have come across this extremely unique dish, Paunk or Ponk. Gujaratis wait every year for winter to delight in this most delicious winter snack. It can be eaten boiled however, it is most typically roasted and served with a generous squeeze of lemon, fresh coriander/cilantro chutney, sev (spicy vermicelli) and chaas.

Today, I will share with you the recipe for Paunk in chevdo form. Chevdo basically implies that the ingredient in question has been spiced and well roasted in a wok or other such similar vessel before being served with other delectable extras.

Paunk is one of my favourite Gujarati snacks and given the option, I would eat it at least twice a week, or more! However, as it is seasonal and not as easy to find in the UK (unless you go to Indian grocery stores in Leicester or Wembley - areas with large concentrations of Gujarati people), I savour it even more when I get my hands on it.

Here is what it looks like when served:


(serves 4 people)

This is what the grain looks like before it is soaked and cooked:


This is what it looks like when it has been soaked and they look pretty similar when they are cooked but when one makes a chevdo of them and roasts them, there is a tendency to mill half of them in a grinder and keep the other half as above to give it more texture:


Without further ado, I have outlined how to make Paunk no Chevdo (spiced, tender roasted sorghum grains) in the recipe below:

Ingredients:

(Phase 1)

1.25 mugs dry paunk/ponk
1 heaped tbsp fresh, peeled and minced/grated ginger
2 tbsps fresh, ground, green chillies
2 tsps salt
0.25 tsp red chillies (powdered)
0.25 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsps whole or semi-skimmed milk

For the tarka: 

(Phase 2)

5 tbsps sunflower oil
0.5 tsp mustard seeds
1 big pinch of asafoetida
1 big pinch of sanchoro/papad khar (alkaline salt available in all Indian grocery stores)

Method:

1. Measure out the paunk/ponk/fresh sorghum grains and in a plate, look and sort through it carefully to see that there aren't any small stones or foreign objects mixed in with the paunk/ponk.

2. Place the sorted through paunk/ponk into a dish and soak in lukewarm water for about 2 to 3 hours. Ensure that the sorghum grains/paunk are covered with water that goes at least 4cms higher then the level at which the grains sit so that there is room for the grains to swell up.

3. Once 3 hours have passed, wash the fresh sorghum grains/paunk thoroughly with lukewarm water at least 3 times to get rid of any floating and foreign elements. They are now ready to roast.

(Optional: at this stage, you can mill/grind half the paunk/ponk grains in a grinder and mix with the other half of the grains that are left whole, or you can roast the paunk/ponk completely unground/unmilled.)

4. Add all of the Phase 1 ingredients (apart from the milk) into the soaked paunk/ponk and mix well.

5. In a heated wok, add in all of the Phase 2 ingredients (for the tarka) in the order as listed above. Ensure that the work is on a medium to high heat flame.

6. Add in the spiced paunk/ponk mixture and roast on a medium to high flame for about 5 minutes or until all of the mixture is heated through. Add in the milk at this stage and mix well.

7. Turn down the heat to a medium to low flame and stir occasionally for 25 minutes or until the grains are roasted. Cover the wok with a lid during these 25 minutes.

8. Once the grains are cooked properly, serve hot and top them off with a delicious coriander chutney, a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice and sev (spiced vermicelli - also available in Indian grocery stores) and enjoy with a delicious glass of cold chaas (a yogurt based cooling drink).

There you have it; yummy Paunk no Chevdo!

'Til next time ... enjoy!
Bon appetit! xx




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