Fada, a substitute for semolina
This grain product, fada (cracked wheat), was not described in A Short Course in Culinary Experiments. In the book, preparations using wheat flour were done either with atta or with semolina (also called, rava or sooji or cream of wheat). A form of cracked wheat was used to make a dessert (payasam, preparation SD4.2); but the grain used for that had a much larger particle size.
Cracked wheat is made from the milling of whole wheat, without removing the barn. Thus, it has a light brown color. Semolina on the other hand is made from the milling of the endosperm of the wheat grain, after removing the barn. Usually semolina is white in color, or sometimes with slight yellow color, depending on the source/kind of wheat. Since cracked wheat contains the wheat barn, it has more fiber content and a lower glycemic index than semolina. There is a general agreement among nutritionists that foods with lower glycemic index are better suited for people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome. For an exhaustive list of glycemic index of various foods, click here.
In Indian/Asian grocery stores, you will find cracked wheat in two or three different particle sizes; and all with the same label, “Fada.” Yep, cause for confusion. To allay any confusion, I will include a photo of fada, to indicate the particle size that is most suitable for substitution with rava. For comparison, a photo of rava is included as well. In the Asian/Indian grocery stores I frequent, there is no price differential between fada and rava.
In A Short Course in Culinary Experiments, the preparation of uppumaav (ST12) was done with rava. In the preparation described, the first step was to dry roast rava. This step, though optional, was recommended to give a fluffy texture to the uppumaav. If you use fada in place of rava, the dry roasting part can be avoided. The slightly higher particle size of fada will ensure that the coagulation of the grain, while cooking, will be minimal. The procedure ST12 requires no other alteration, when you use fada.
Rava was also used in the preparation of rava dosa (ST10). You can replace rava with fada. However, when you make the dosa, it ends up being slightly thicker than the usual rava dosa. Those who like their dosa to be very thin/crispy might not favor the dosa with fada. Here is a compromise: you can mix rava and fada in the ratio of 1:1 in the preparation of the dough. This will enable you make the dosa in a thin/crispy way, while some health benefits of fada are included in the diet.
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