Why you should start soaking, sprouting fermenting foods for optimal digestion

Nuts, seeds, grains and legumes are excellent sources of protein, healthy fat, fibre and minerals.

If you are following a more natural whole-food diet, this can lead to us eating a higher load of certain chemicals which can cause gastric, discomfort as well as inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients. They fall into the following:

Phytate

Phytate is the salt of phytic acid and is a storage form of phosphorus in grains, legumes and nuts/seeds. It reduces the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium to name a few.

Tannins

Polyphenols are not denatured by heat. Tannins, an antioxidant polyphenol can inhibit the digestibility of protein, minerals and starch. They bind and disable digestive enzymes in the GI tract. The most notable concern is with the minerals iron, copper, and zinc – not calcium or manganese. Vitamin B1 can also be inactivated.

Oxalate

Oxalic acid is present in various plant foods, depending on the area grown. It decreases calcium absorption. You’ve likely heard that calcium from spinach is poorly absorbed – this is because of the oxalic acids in spinach.

Enzyme inhibitors

Trypsin inhibitors and Protease Inhibitors are one of the most common types.

Consuming enzyme inhibitors can cause GI distress that allows our bodies to break down the protein, creating a long-term protein deficiency. Raw nuts and soy are known to contain these compounds.

Lectins

Lectins are found in all plants especially seeds, legumes and grains, in high amounts they can cause harm to the digestive tract lining and interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.

9 Warning Signs You Have Poor Gut Health

Gut heath

How do we reduce the harmful chemicals and release the nutrients?

It’s simple really, soaking and sprouting foods alters the chemical load by reducing the phytic acid. Phytate binds to the available minerals in our gastrointestinal tract, stopping their absorption and can lead to deficiency. It also releases good minerals, enzymes and vitamins making them bioavailable to us.

What does soaking do?

Soaking removes the phytic acid and reduces tannins, so the nuts, seeds, grains and legumes can be absorbed correctly for proper digestion. This process improves their nutrition and bioavailability.

How do you soak ?

Soaking

A general rule is the bigger and denser the food, the longer it will need to soak.

Cover the seeds, nuts grains, beans or legumes with double the amount of water and leave to soak. The longer it needs to be soaked and the more you need to change the water rinsing off the food at the same time. Always discard the soaking water.

After soaking how do we use them?

Once soaked you can use the beans, lentils, nuts or seeds in your kinds of milk, vegetable curries recipes or dehydrate them to make flours or use in recipes like granolas or chocolate. You can also do the next stage which is sprouting.

What does sprouting do?

It unlocks the nutrients and can lower the anti-nutrients making the foods easier to digest as well.

How do you sprout?

Sprouts

It’s not a complicated thing to do. Sprouting takes this one step further. After soaking drain the water, rinse, refill with fresh water and drain them by positioning the jars on the side at an angle for several hours. This allows the jar to completely drain.

Placing the jars on a sunny windowsill will help with the sprouting process. Several rinsing and re-soaking periods allows for them to eventually germinate and sprout

What does Fermenting do?

It is a method in which the seeds naturally become fermented by combining them with wild yeast and an acidic liquid. It creates probiotics. This increases healthy bacteria, helpful enzymes, minerals and vitamins.
Fermentation

Once sprouting is completed, seeds can benefit even more by being fermented. Fermentation, Uncovered

Soaked grain recipes

If you’re looking for soaked grain recipes, check out the recipes below:

Overnight Oatmeal is super simple to make and cooks up in about five minutes in the morning.

Savoury chilla is a fantastic, nutrient-dense breakfast for little ones.

Vegetable Upma is another easy morning porridge made with jowar and spices.

Amaranth parfait
Further reads

7 Natural Drinks To Improve Gut Health

Eating Fibre for a Longer Life & Happier Gut

11 Instant Savory Crepe – Chilla, To kickstart your day the Healthy Way

Savoury Crepe aka Chilla is one of the healthy options to include in your daily diet. It offers numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of obesity, health diseases and more. Try these recipes to reap all the benefits.

1.Sattu Chilla

Healthy and instant sattu chilla are made from chana dal, sattu is a rich source of protein and is often referred to as poor man’s protein. Improves bowel movement. Flushes out toxins. Increases appetite. Helps in weight loss. Increases energy. Acts as a coolant. Good for people with diabetes and high bp.

Ingredients

• Sattu Flour – 1 cup

• Gram Flour / Besan / Kadalai Mavu – ½ cup

• Sooji. Rava – ½ cup

• Curd – 1 cup

• Water as needed

• Onion – 1 chopped finely

• Green Chillies – 2 chopped finely

• Coriander leaves – 3 tbsp chopped finely

• Salt to taste

• Ajwain / Carom Seeds / Omam – ½ tsp

• Oil for making chilla

Instructions

1. Mix all ingredients to a smooth batter.

2. Make dosa. Drizzle oil around the sides.

3. Cook till golden on both sides.

4. Serve.

2.Oats Chilla

Oats are actually one of the healthiest grains on the earth and are gluten-free. They are packed with vitamins, fiber, minerals, and anti-oxidants. Oats flour has some unique fatty acids together with vitamin E slow cell damage & have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.

Ingredients

• 1 Cups Instant Oats Flour

• 1/2 Cup Chickpea Flour (Besan)

• 1/4 Cup Rice Flour – optional

• 1 Cup Plain Yogurt – use vegan yoghurt if need be

• 1 Tsp Grated Ginger

• 2 Tbsp Grated Carrot

• 2 Tbsp Thinly Chopped Cabbage

• 1 Tbsp Thinly Chopped Onion

• 1 Tbsp Thinly Chopped Red Cabbage

• 2 Large Green Chilies – thinly chopped – optional

• ½ Tsp Cumin Powder

• 1 Tsp Salt (As per your taste)

• ½ Cup Water

• ¼ Cup Olive Oil (U can use any other oil) – For making crepe/chilla

Instructions

• In a large bowl, add all 3 flour, salt, cumin and whisk everything once.

• Now add water and whisk to form a lump-free batter (resembling pancake batter).

• Add all the chopped veggies, ginger and stir everything.

• Heat a nonstick pan over a high flame and apply 1 tsp of oil.

• Pour 1 heaping ladle of the batter over the pan, swirl it using the ladle to form a round shape.

• Reduce flame, cook the chilla/crepe for 1-2min, the flip side.

• Pour ¼ tsp oil and cook the other side for 1-2min. (Depending on how brown/crisp you? want – For more crisper or brown look, cook an extra minute)

• Increase the flame to high and cook for 1min.

• Follow the steps above to make all the remaining crepes/chilla.

• Serve Hot or Cold as per preference.

3.Bajra & lentil Chilla

Bajra is rich in magnesium which keeps the heart healthy while moong dal is rich in antioxidants. combining both these ingredients to make a super nutritious chilla which is a perfect option for snack or breakfast.

Ingredients

• For Chilla

• 1 cup Green Gram -1 cup

• 1 cup Soaked Bajra

• 1 cup Finely Chopped Onions

• 2 Chopped Green Chillies

• 1 tbsp Grated Ginger

• 1 cup Chopped Coriander Leaves

• Salt and Water

• For chutney

• 1 cup Curd

• 1/2 cup Roasted and Roughly Chopped Ground Nuts

• 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds

• 1 tbsp Chopped Green Chillies

• 1 tbsp Grated Ginger

• Ghee for greasing

• Pinch of Red Chilli Powder

• Coriander sprig for garnish

Instructions

1. Soak bajra and whole green gram overnight.

2. Grind into a paste and transfer in a bowl.

3. Add onions, green chillies, ginger and salt and give a good mix.

4. The batter should have thick consistency for dosa.

5. Add coriander leaves.

6. The batter should have thick consistency for dosa.

7. Add coriander leaves.

8. Prepare the chilla.

4.Whole Wheat Vegetable Chilla

Whole wheat flour or atta is easily available in every kitchen. It is an instant and easy recipe. Atta contains some healthy fats and proteins and lots of fibre.

Ingredients

• 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

• 2 tbsp onion finely chopped

• 2 tbsp capsicum finely chopped

• 2 tbsp tomato finely chopped

• 2 tbsp carrot grated

• 4 green chilli finely chopped

• 3 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped

• 1/2 tsp ginger paste

• 1 cup water or as required

• 1/2 tsp chat masala

• 1/2 tsp red chilli powder

• A pinch of turmeric powder

• Salt to taste

• Oil as required for cooking

Instructions

• Collect all the required ingredients.

• Take whole wheat flour in a bowl.

• Then add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, chat masala, and ginger paste.

• Mix it well.

• Add water as required and make a lump-free batter.

• The paste should be thicker than dosa batter.

• After making a batter, mix the vegetables like chopped onion, tomato, capsicum, and grated carrot.

• Also, add chopped green chilli and coriander leaves.

• Mix well using a spoon. The batter is ready to make chilla.

5.Besan Chilla

Besan Chilla, a protein-rich nutritious pancake made from the gram flour(besan) is a popular snack from North Indian cuisine, which is also called pudla in Gujarat. This is a gluten-free snack because gram flour (chickpea flour) is gluten-free flour and it’s the only flour used in this recipe.

Ingredients

• 1 Cup Gram Flour

• 1/4 Cup Rice flour

• 1/4 Cup Wheat flour

• 1/4 Cup Curd whisked

• Oil for roasting chilli

• 1/2 Cup Spring Onion Finely chopped

• 1/4 tsp Asafetida

• 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder

• 1/4 Tsp Carom seeds

• 1/2 Tsp green chilli Finely chopped

• 1/2 tsp Chaat masala

• 1/2 Tsp Red chilli powder

• 3 Tbsp coriander finely chopped

• 1/2 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste

• Salt to Taste

Instructions

• In a mixing bowl add besan, wheat flour and rice flour.

• Next add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, gently crush ajwain in your palm and add to the mixture then add asafetida, chat masala and salt to taste. Mix all the dry ingredients.

• Now add ginger garlic paste, chopped green chillies, whisked curd and make it to a semi-thick pouring consistency, adding the water a little at a time.

• Add chopped coriander leaves & green onion and mix them well.

• Heat a non-stick frying pan or griddle, and then pour the batter with help of a spoon and spread it out evenly with the back of the spoon.

• Lower the heat and let cook till the edges brown a little and can be lifted easily.

• Dribble a little oil around it, turning the pan so the oil goes under the Cheela.

• Flip it over to cook slightly on the other side.

• Similarly, make the other Cheela.

6.Rice Chilla Recipe

The health benefits of rice include supplying energy, fighting inflammation, reducing cancer risk, supporting nervous system health, promoting heart, preventing constipation, controlling blood sugar levels, supporting immune system health, a great source of selenium and a natural diuretic.

Ingredients:

• Rice Flour – Half Cup

• Semolina – Half Cup

• Cumin seed powder (jeera powder) – ½ teaspoon

• Black pepper powder (Kali Mirch Powder) – ½ teaspoon

• Red Chilli Powder (Lal Mirch powder) – ½ teaspoon

• Few Curry Leaves & Green chillies

• Tomato-1

• Salt to taste

• Refined oil

• Water required to make the rice batter of thin consistency, but not watery

Instructions:

1. Mix rice flour & semolina in a bowl.

2. Add water to form a lump-free pourable batter.

3. To this batter, add salt, cumin seeds powder, black pepper powder and red chilli powder. Mix well.

4. Add chopped green chilli, curry leaves and finely chopped tomato OR Any other vegetable (grated) of your choice.

5. Heat a non-stick pan or tawa, and grease it with oil.

6. Pour one ladle full batter onto the heated pan and spread it uniformly in round shape with the backside of the round ladle. Let it cook over high flame till the moisture evaporates.

7. Do not add oil till it looks dry. Cover it with the lid to speed up the cooking process.

8. Once it looks little cooked & dry, pour some oil on the sides & cook and flip the chilla.

9. Pour some oil on this side too and cook till it turns brown and crispy. Cook it on medium flame only.

10. Now, serve it with chutney or tomato ketchup or sambar.

7.Corn (Makai) Chilla

Corn is rich is in Vitamin B12, folic acid and iron which helps in the production of red blood cells in the body. It helps in reducing the risk of Anaemia, by supplying enough of the nutrients required to produce fresh Red blood cells.

Ingredients:

• Makka Flour – 1 Cup

• Gram flour (besan) – 1 Spoon

• Chopped onion – 1 Tbsp

• Chopped Ginger & Chillies- Optional

• Oil

• Water

• Salt & Chilli Powder – To taste

Instructions:

1. Dry Ingredients – Pour makka flour, besan flour, chopped onion, ginger, chillies in a bowl.

2. Mix everything adding little water at a time – the consistency of the chilla batter should be a little thick. Now add salt & spice accordingly

3. Now heat a tava on low to medium flame, grease it with oil, pour a ladleful of the batter. Keep it a little thick compare to besan chilla.

4. Pour few drops of oil around it after a minute. Cover it with lid & cook on low flame. Makka takes time to get to cook properly.

5. Once the bottom of the chilla turns a little brown & upper layer looks settled, flip over and cook the other side in the same way.

6. Serve chilla with chutney of your choice.

8.Multigrain Chilla

Multigrain Chilla made from a powder of multiple grains which taste so delicious and is very nutritious!

The healthy multigrain powder is as follows:

• 100 gm ragi (finger millet)

• 100 gm wheat

• 100 gm bajra (pearl millet)

• 100 gm jawar

• 100 gm corn

• 100 gm green moong dal

• 100 gm black gram

• handful of almonds

• handful of cashew

Wash all the grains and soak them overnight for slight sprouting. Dry roast them on a low flame and then grind them to a powder.

Ingredients:

• 1 cup Multigrain powder Recipe in the post

• 1 cup of water

• 1 onion finely chopped

• 1/4 cup capsicum finely chopped (I used yellow and red ones)

• 2 green chillies finely chopped

• to taste salt and chilli powder

Instructions:

• Mix the powder with water to get a batter of smooth consistency.

• Add salt, chilli powder and rest of the ingredients.

• Heat a Tawa and spread the mixture on the hot Tawa.

• Roast on the side and then turn and roast the other.

• Enjoy with ketchup or green chutney.

9.Sprouts Chilla

This is a healthy recipe and you wouldn’t believe how light these Moong daal sprouts are. And besan is such a good source of protein.

Ingredients:

Besan – 60 gms

Moong Dal Sprouts – 100 gms

Carrot – 150 gms

Ghee – 10 gms

Spices: Hing (Asafoetida), Ajwain (Carom seeds), Red Chilli Powder, Coriander Powder, Salt, Ginger Garlic paste

Instructions:

Sprout the moong daal by soaking overnight (one night before you want to make the chillas)

Take Moong dal sprouts in a mixer and put a little water, enough to let it get grind. Grind it into a thick paste. Do not let this mixture get very thin/watery

Take besan in a bowl and add little water and keep mixing with a spoon. Keep adding water little by little to ensure you make a paste-like mixture of besan (not too thin/watery)

Add Moong dal mixture to it. Add little water and mix if feels too thick to make chilla

Grate the carrot and put the grated carrot in the besan and moon daal mixture. Add little water if feels too thick to make chilla

Add all spices (Hing only half a pinch, rest normal quantities). Add little water till you feel you get food consistency of mixture (not too thick to make chilla and not too thin to allow the mixture to run away on the pan)

Take a pan and apply 2 gm ghee. Spread evenly on high flame. Put some batter/mixture on the pan and spread evenly with a spoon. Make gas medium flame and cover the pan with lid. Let it cool for 2 mins. Once the chilla feels solidifying, you will be able to take it off without sticking.

Then cook the other side also in a similar way for a couple of minutes. Enjoy with coriander chutney or tomato sauce

10.Rava (Semolina) Cheela

Semolina flour has several health benefits, such as healthy muscles, improves heart health, prevents anaemia, controls overeating, early bowel movement, improves immunity. Suji Ka Cheela if prepared with curd, vegetables and semolina taste more tempting then those prepared with gram flour, flour or dal.

Ingredients:

• 1 cup suji/Rava

• 1/2 cup curd

• 1/4 cup onion finely chopped

• 2 tbsp capsicum finely chopped

• 2 tbsp carrot grated

• 2 green chillies finely chopped

• 3 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped

• 1 tsp ginger paste

• Salt to taste

• A pinch of turmeric powder

• 1/4 tsp red chilli powder

• Oil as required for roasting cheela

• 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water or as required

Instructions:

preparing batter for suji cheela:

• Collect all the required ingredients.

• Take fine suji or rava in a bowl.

• Add curd and mix well.

• Then add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and ginger paste.

• Also, add 1/4 cup water.

• Mix very well.

• Cover it and allow the batter to rest for 20 minutes or till suji swells completely.

• After 20 minutes, suji will absorb much of the water and will become very soft.

• Now add chopped onion, capsicum, green chillies, coriander leaves, and grated carrot.

• Mix very well and add the remaining 1/4 cup water.

• Next, add 2 tbsp water again and mix very well.

• Mix well and add water if required to get slightly medium-thick flowing consistency batter.

• The batter for making cheelas is now ready.

11.Ragi/ Finger millet chilla

Ragi (Finger Millet/ nachni) is a nutritious grain which is the staple food in most of the South Indian states. It is generally milled into flour and then used to make ragi balls, ragi dosa, ragi roti, and so on and it is preferred food for diabetic patients and kids.

Ingredients:

• Finger millet (ragi / nachni) flour 3/4 cup

• Semolina (suji) 1/2 cup

• Yogurt 1 cup

• Onion finely chopped 1 medium

• Green capsicum finely chopped 1/2 medium

• Ginger finely chopped 1 inch

• Green chillies finely chopped 1-2

• Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon

• Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon

• Curry leaves 10-12

• Baking soda 1 teaspoon

• Salt to taste

• Oil as required

Instructions:

Combine semolina and ¾ cup yoghurt in a bowl and mix. Add finger millet flour, onion, capsicum, ginger, green chillies, cumin seeds and mustard seeds and mix well.

Add remaining yoghurt and mix. Add some water, mix well and set aside for 5 minutes.

Heat a non-stick Tawa.

Add curry leaves, baking soda and salt to prepared flour mixture and mix well.

Put some oil on hot Tawa and wipe with a tissue. Pour a ladleful of the prepared flour mixture, spread into a shape of uttapam and roast till the underside turn slightly golden. Make incisions on each cooked uttapam and roast from the other side till golden and crisp.

Cut into 4 equal pieces and serve hot.

Want to make it more nutritious? You can add grated seasonal vegetables and paneer, soya, tofu, eggs…. to the chilla batter. At my house, it’s always served with nut chutney or dip.

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar