Hurda, Green Jowar, Ponk or call them Tender Sorghum Grains, they have different names but it all means that a new crop season has arrived!
Hurda parties are a great rave in Pune, Nashik, Nagpur – primarily, the northern region of Maharashtra. The popularity of hurda parties has commercialized the event and made it a big part of the agro-tourism concept. If you google, you will find a long list of organizers who can arrange a get-together for you on their farms. It’s a great night-out plan with friends, in winters; a stay in midst of crop fields and get a glimpse of rural life. You get to watch the process of Sorghum inflorescence being coal roasted and also to consume the outcome of it…the warm delicious fresh green grains with various chutneys to go with it. Lately, some have added other farm activities too to make the evenings more enjoyable.
The green jowar millets are a big deal in Surat, Gujarat, too and they are called ponk there. You will find heaps of green jowar at various stalls for sale and you will also get yummy delicacies like fritters, patties, chivda made of green jowar. The ponk season itself is a festival here and also important part of traditional festivals like the kite day on Makar Sankaranti, the other highlight being the famous undhiyu. You can keep it simple by consuming the tender grains garnished with colourful sev that you get at these stalls. Remember but, these easy-to-eat green ponk are heavy to digest. Some recommend not drinking water for at least half an hour after you had them.
It was a great sight to see a lady vendor sitting at the west gate of the Virar railway station with green jowar and green wheat in her basket. Green wheat was a new sight for me too. I bought them and made fritters plus jowar bhel – ekdum Surati style. If you find the green jowar, you too can have a small party with friends at home with these simple recipes in this post. One additional tip – don’t buy them in excessive quantity; it’s difficult to preserve these moist jowar kernels for more than one day.
Ponk Vada Recipe
200 grams green jowar (paste, keep handful of whole Millets aside)
50 grams green wheat (optional)
2 table spoon besan
2 table spoon Makka Atta/Riceflour
7-8 spoon oil for deep frying
2 green chillies
1 small onion
1 tea spoon ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tea spoon turmeric powder
1/2 tea spoon red chilli powder
1 tea spoon Cumin-Corriander powder
1 pinch Asafoetida
salt to taste
Make a fine thick paste of green jowar, green wheat and green chillies by adding appropriate water in a grinder. Take out the paste in a bowl.
Add a handful whole green jowar, besan, Makkai Atta to it. The consistency of the paste should be like any pakoda mixture.
Add chopped onion, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin-corriander powder, Asafoetida and salt.
Mix them well. You can add a little fruit salt if you wish. I did not.
Heat the oil, make small portions of the paste and deep fry the fritters.
Add sev and chopped onion to green jowar millets and you are done! Enjoy the recipes with cuppa chai to go with.