Confusing title! Ain't it? Well I guess Its not confusing if I say that ' Bulgur and cracked wheat are as different as me and my husband!!' Now I don't wanna grab 'poor' hubby dear in between while he has no clue, But I just want to emphasize the point that Bulgur is different from cracked wheat. Both are made from whole wheat, but the key attribute of traditional bulgur production is that the grain is parboiled (soaking, steaming,drying(usually by spreading in the sun) like the parboiled rice and then de-branned. On contrary to cracked wheat, which is made from crushed wheat grains which have NOT been parboiled. So why am I using Bulgur for cracked wheat in my upma recipe? Well its just a matter of choice...But may I propose to you a concept called 'phytic acid and gluten'. This is not some lecture on chemistry but a simple but important fact for us to know. All grains contain phytic acid(an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound)in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why diet high in whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss.The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in long term many other adverse effects.On the other hand refined flours and grain products are devoid of nutrition.There is a fix again! so what to do? As always look back to the old ways. Our ancestors soaked, fermented, sprouted there grains. Like in idli, the rice & dal are soaked all day and fermented overnight. For pesarattu, the mung beans are soaked over night. For haleem, the cracked wheat and dals are soaked over night. And there are many more examples to follow. Soaking, fermenting, sprouting allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increase the amounts of many vitamins, especially B vitamins.Now what is gluten? Gluten is a protein in grains, very difficult to digest. Grains fall into two general categories. Those containing gluten such as oats, rye, barley and especially wheat, should not be consumed unless they have been soaked or fermented. Buckwheat rice and millet do not contain gluten and are easily digestible.So soaking, fermenting, sprouting will help break the gluten for the grains.
So now you see why I am preferring Bulgur for cracked wheat in my upma recipe. Bulgur is already soaked.Well you can use cracked wheat too, provided it is soaked overnight or for 7-8hrs. Now my patient readers might start fretting ;-) about the process involved in cooking. But let me assure you that all it takes is planning ahead of time. The world has become so fast paced that we eat on the go.But it is better if we slow down and ponder on whats going inside of us, because it does make a world of difference.
Bulgur or Cracked Wheat Upma:
Bulgur - 2 cups
Cracked Wheat - 2 cups soaked 7-8 hrs
Water - 4 cups
Onions - 1 medium
Green chillis - 2
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
For popu or tadka - 1 tsp each : urad dal, chana dal, cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves
pinch of asafoetida.
coconut oil - 2 tbsp s (using coconut oil is a whole new article in itself. I would be covering that soon)
cilantro - 2 tsp finely chopped
lemon juice if needed for some tangy taste.
Because of the large size of the grain, roasting is not necessary.Take the oil in a pan, add popu ingredients in the order mentioned above.When mustard seeds start sputtering add onions, Green chilies.Saute them till tender and add ginger garlic paste.Add the water and bring it to boil. Now add bulgur and if adding soaked cracked wheat, then drain the water and add.Be careful not to wash it as the wheat is soaked, it makes it difficult to handle.Cook until water is evaporated. Keep stirring once in a while. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with some lemon juice or a pickle.It has a nutty flavor with chewy texture. It was our Breakfast today.Bulgur is more costlier than cracked wheat. So I use bulgur when I am not planned and had to fix a quick meal, otherwise I soak cracked wheat for this recipe.