When we think of fiber, we tend to think of foods such as lentils, seeds and quinoa. However, a lesser known but equally significant source of fiber is cracked wheat, or Bulgur. It is a fiber-rich food that is easy to digest and is considered to be one of the best foods for weight management. There are many ways to prepare cracked wheat flour and it is a healthy option for any meal of the day. So let’s deep dive into what is cracked wheat exactly?
What is Cracked Wheat Flour?
Cracked wheat is a whole grain product obtained by grinding wheat berries into coarse particles larger than flour. In Mediterranean dishes, North African food, and Western baked goods, this versatile product plays a key role as it has a distinct nutty flavor and unique texture.
Cracked wheat undergoes fewer refinery processes and therefore retains a lot more nutrients than refined foods such as all purpose flour. 1 cup (about 180g) of cracked wheat provides up to 8g of fiber, 6g of protein and contains large amounts of vitamin B6, Manganese, Magnesium and Iron. The rich nutritional content of cracked wheat makes it an ideal replacement for wheat/flour. It is easy to prepare, adds crunch to baked goods, and can enhance the texture of many recipes. Here are some health benefits of cracked wheat:
Health Benefits of Cracked Wheat Flour
- Promotes Heart Health: Fiber-rich foods such as cracked wheat flour support heart health. Cracked wheat contains a significant amount of potassium, which acts as a vasodilator, thereby reducing blood vessel tightness and reducing blood pressure.
- Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Control: Cracked wheat is a rich source of both fiber and phytonutrients, which could help improve your blood sugar control.
- Supports Digestion and Gut Health: Consumption of cracked wheat can promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which produce short-chain fatty acids that support intestinal health and proper digestive function.
- Promotes Weight Loss: The fiber content of cracked wheat supports better digestion and energy consumption by the body, which helps in weight management.
Cracked wheat is extremely nutritious and can be a valuable addition to a daily diet. It is also easy to incorporate in a variety of dishes without compromising on their flavor. Here are some cracked wheat recipes:
Dalia Upma, also known as Cracked Wheat Upma is a savory Indian breakfast loaded with fresh vegetables. It uses the goodness of cracked wheat and the aroma of spices to pack a punch for the first meal of the day!
- 1 cup cracked wheat
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup green peas
- ¼ cup carrot, finely chopped
- ¼ cup green beans, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp peanuts
- 1 tbsp cashews, sliced
- 2 green chilies, chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 ½ cups water
- Roast the cracked wheat over low heat for 3-5 minutes or until light brown. Set aside on a plate. Heat oil in a pressure cooker on medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add mustard and cumin seeds and wait until they begin to crackle. Add the peanuts, cashews, chopped onions, and green chilies and cook for 10 – 20 seconds over medium heat. Saute the mixture.
- Add in the vegetables and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then add in the cracked wheat. Add salt and the remaining spices to the dish.
- Add the water to the pressure cooker, stir everything well and cover it with a lid. After two whistles, turn off the gas stove with the pressure cooker weight on.
- Once the cooker steam has released, remove the lid and fluff the upma gently with a fork. Add the lemon juice and stir gently. Enjoy!
Lapsi is an easy and healthy dessert that can be made in a matter of minutes and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days so it can be enjoyed anytime. This is one of the best cracked wheat recipes!
- ¼ cup ghee
- ½ cup cracked wheat
- ½ cup jaggery powder
- 1 ½ cups hot water
- Pinch of saffron
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- Sliced almonds and pistachios
- In a nonstick pan, heat ghee on low heat.
- Add the cracked wheat and saute for 2-3 minutes until dark brown in color and nutty in smell.
- Stir it continuously for 20 seconds after lowering the heat. Add the saffron and water. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the water evaporates and the lapsi begins to leave the sides of the pan and ghee oozes out. Add the jaggery powder and mix well until well dissolved. Stir in the cardamom and cook for 2-3 minutes until it dries. Turn off the flame and add some sliced nuts. Enjoy!
Cracked Wheat Rava Adai
Cracked Wheat Rava Adai is an easy-to-prepare and healthy recipe that requires no fermentation. Breakfast is made even better with these healthy, protein-rich lentil pancakes!
Ingredients (For Soaking):
- 1 cup cracked wheat
- ¼ cup Toor Dal
- ¼ cup Chana Dal
- ¼ cup Moong Dal
- ¼ cup Urad Dal
- 2-3 dried red chilies
- 6-7 garlic cloves
Ingredients (For Adai):
- ¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- ¼ tsp Asafoetida
- 1 tsp Jeera Powder
- Salt as needed
- Water as needed
- Coconut oil as needed
- Soak the ingredients under enough water for 4-6 hours or overnight. Add very little water as you grind into a not-so-smooth batter in batches.
- Add the coriander leaves, salt, jeera powder, and asafoetida to the batter. Mix well before preparing the adais on a cast iron tawa.
- Spread a ladle full of batter into a thin circle. Add coconut oil all around the adai and let it cook until the bottom is golden brown and crisp. Remove the adai from the heat. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Serve hot with coconut chutney!
Cracked Wheat Pilaf
This is a hearty, healthy, and delicious Lebanese-style Cracked Wheat Pilaf recipe. There is a lot of fiber in this dish and it can be tailored to fit any flavor palette!
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 vine ripe tomato, finely chopped
- ¼ green pepper, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups cracked wheat
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, and green peppers to the onions and continue cooking until fragrant, approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the cracked wheat, cumin, salt, and pepper, and stir until the cracked wheat is completely coated in the tomato paste, about 2-3 minutes. Combine the chickpeas with 3 cups of vegetable stock and then add into the pot. Remove from heat, close the lid and allow it to absorb the liquid for 10 minutes. With a fork, fluff the mixture. Serve with chopped parsley and fresh vegetables!
The nutritional content of cracked wheat makes it a particularly desirable ingredient, especially since other flours such as wheat flour and all-purpose flour often lose a lot of these nutrients during refinement. Due to its gluten-free nature, cracked wheat is also suitable for those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and it is slow to digest, so it keeps you full for a long time and prevents hunger pangs. The health benefits combined with the versatility of flavor make cracked wheat a great food to try today!