On Tuesday we heard about the wonderful Masterchef competition in Melghat that produced some ingenious thinking from a group of women who created a healthy, nutritious rice pudding without access to livestock for milk. Today, we hear about how the programme is being expanded across Melghat and get the tasty recipe for the prize-winning soy milk Kheer.
By Annila Harris, Communications Associate, World Vision India.
In Phase II, the Melghat Area Development Programme (ADP) is rolling out these winning recipes in every household falling under the World Vision target area.
Acting as agents of change, the women of each self-help group (SHG) have embraced healthy cooking techniques with open arms. A demonstration of each recipe is conducted to show them all the processes that go in making one dish, with the plan to teach all 13 recipes to all the villages.
Sharda Raju Bachhale, a member of the Badnapur SHG, says, “We go to other villages to impart this know-how and technique that we have received.”
“Women are actively taking interest in improving the health of their children by incorporating all that they have learnt practically at home by cooking nutritious meals for their children,” says Sushila a community development coordinator of World Vision India, “Adolescent girls now eat groundnut and jaggery ladoos, which have vital nutrients essential for growing girls. There were certain myths regarding eating habits that have been plucked out.”
The local recipes are frequently cooked and are doing wonders for the children of the community. Children who were earlier categorised as malnourished are now gaining weight, a step closer to winning the battle against malnutrition.
The kheer is a big hit among the children and is frequently consumed in households of Badnapur and Solamoh. Once categorised as Grade 3 severely malnourished, Hemlata, a six-year-old sponsored child, now stands strong and healthy with her weight soaring in the normal realm. She tells us, “I love to eat kheer because it is sweet.”
Aware of all the healthy cooking techniques and the benefits of nutritious food, pregnant and lactating mothers are taking extra care of their health by eating right, leading to lower risks while giving birth and higher chances of having healthier babies.
Rajni Dinesh Bawnekar, a mother from Solamoh says, “Now I am enjoying this kheer, but I will start feeding my [3-month-old] son this dish when he grows up.”
In February 2011, the number of malnourished children in Badnapur and Solamoh were 42 and 14 respectively.
Now with World Vision India’s intervention programmes the numbers have fallen drastically. In May 2012 survey showed 10 cases in Badnapur and 1 in Solamoh.
With innovative community inclusive ideas and initiatives such as food exhibitions the World Vision India team of Melghat is working tirelessly towards making malnutrition history in the Melghat region.
Because there are few milk producing animals in the region, the women used soya beans.
Soya beans contain rich protein, vitamins A, B1, B2, and other mineral elements and soya milk has a greater variety of complex carbohydrates than whole milk.
Soya bean skin has compounds in it that can cause stomach pains, so the women de-skinned the beans before crushing them.
The soya beans are then ground to extract the milk….
Which is strained through a traditional muslin cloth…..
….before being boiled.
Rice is the other key ingredient in the “Kheer” (rice pudding) recipe.
The rice powder is fried…..
… and then mixed with the boiling soya milk.
Sifted, broken rice is added to the mixture and cooked.
Lastly, Jaggery (unrefined whole cane sugar) along with other spices is added to enhance the flavour of the dish.
And then it’s ready to eat!
We loved this project and what our colleagues in World Vision India have done. A great way to introduce healthy cooking and empower women to improve the health of their children.
If you’ve been inspired and fancy making the Soy-Milk Kheer, be sure to let us know how it turned out. Head over to our Facebook page and leave your comments.