India :It's varied food culture: Wheat : The day starts with it.

India :It's varied food culture: Wheat : The day starts with it.

Wheat was cultivated in India as early as 4000 -5000 years ago. In a predominantly rice eating country, wheat consumption has caught up well. Approximately 90 percent of wheat consumption of India is in the form of chapati. Since the rumour has been spread that rice is "fattening" , the consumption of wheat has increased.

Can we think of a world without wheat ?

Biscuits, bread ,muffins, cake , pastries, patties, khakras , theplas , bhaturas , naans , and lots more..

But most of these tasty biscuits, cakes are made from refined wheat flour and the nutrients are destroyed during processing.

The wheat grain is made up of Bran , Aleurone layer , Endosperm (Kernel), Germ (Embryo) , Scutellum.

Bran consists of cellulose and minerals. The cellulose is digested by animals but not by humans. It is helpful for constipation. But in some people it irritates the bowel and produces diarrhoea but ... the high phosphorus and phytate content of bran interferes with the absorption of calcium and iron.

Aleurone layer is rich in protein but it is removed during milling because it is firmly attached to the bran.

Endosperm (kernel) is rich in starch and proteins and when milled yields flour.

Germ (embryo ) is rich in proteins, fats , the fat soluble vitamin E And thiamine but usually removed in milling otherwise the fat in it rapidly turns the flour rancid.

Scutellum contains thiamine or vitamin B1 , thus it is important to preserve the scutellum in the flour .

In India and its neighbouring countries people prefer chapatis made by adding water to the wheat flour to form dough . The dough is made into small balls and flattened with a rolling pin and toasted on a heated pan . To what extent the protein and vitamin is destroyed is not known but is far better than the refined flour as it is stripped of all the nutrients except the carbohydrates. If the dough is prepared by adding whey water or milk the protein content can be restored and if veggies and pulses or legumes are added the vitamins and minerals can be taken care of.

The chapatis can be made into an interesting, delicious and nutritious meal .

The other wheat product used in India is wheat puffs , semolina or broken wheat and refined flour.

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