Kaguno Kheer- Foxtail Millet Sweet Porridge
Kaguno is my favorite grain. It is an old type of millet that is also considered to be the first domesticated millet. It is found in the Karnali, Lamjung, and Kaski mid-hills of Nepal. It is a soft, creamy millet that can be cooked in a variety of ways. This makes kheer, a delicious sweet porridge. The kheer made from Kaguno is my preference over the regular one made from rice. Its production is decreasing due to many factors, including the shift towards rice being the main staple. My mother recognized Kaguno grains when I showed them to her and made kheer. Her parents used to grow this grain and called it kauno. She said that the grain did not require a field to grow. They were grown on sloppy land or khoriya, where maize and pearlmillet weren’t grown. The area is no longer home to grain and it has disappeared completely. I hope to bring this beautiful grain back to the area.
It can be grown easily in less fertile land. You can cook it as rice ( baat), or make it into jeer, or a salad ( laguno with roasted mustard oil dressing). It is used to make selroti and roti.
Whole milk 1 Liter
2/3 cup or a big handful kaguno
3-4 Tablespoons Sugar
Salt pinch (optional).
Place a liter (or more) of milk in a large saucepan and heat it on medium heat. Once the milk has boiled, add crushed cardamom and sugar. Season with salt. Next, add Kaguno. Cook it for about 15-20 minutes on low heat with occasional stirring. Turn off the heat once the grains have been cooked. To check that they are done, pinch the grain with your finger. If the Kaguno is still not cooked or the porridge becomes too thick, you can add more milk or water to the pot and continue cooking for a few minutes.
You can now serve the kheer hot or cold. For more sweetness and flavor, drizzle honey from your local honey. You can also add nuts, fruits, or berries to your honey.