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Dalia (Broken Wheat) for Babies: Health Benefits And Recipes

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Dalia, also known as broken wheat or cracked wheat, is a whole-wheat breakfast cereal relished as wheat porridge in several parts of the world. Since dalia is made from broken wheat grains, it has several nutrients and fiber that are good for health (1).

The smooth texture and easy-to-digest attribute make it an ideal choice for babies. This post will take you through all the necessary information about dalia, the right time to feed dalia, and healthy dalia recipes for babies and toddlers. 

When Can Babies Eat Dalia?

Babies can consume dalia from the age of six months, the age when they can consume wheat and wheat-containing products (2).You can make sweet or savory dalia preparations with ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and dry fruits. Alternatively, you can try adding cooked dalia to fruit and vegetable purees, soups, stews, and porridge. 

Possible Health Benefits Of Dalia For Babies

Dalia contains several nutrients that could offer long-term benefits to babies and toddlers.

  1. Provides considerable energy: Dalia is a nutritious and energy-dense food. One-fourth cup (40g) of uncooked dalia gives approximately 140Kcal of energy (3). During the first year of life, babies need nutritious, energy-dense foods for adequate growth and development (4).
  1. Supplies nutrients for growth: Dalia or broken wheat contains good amounts of protein, calcium, and iron (3). Proteins are essential for muscle growth, while calcium is important for bone health. Iron is vital for several developmental milestones, including the cognitive development of the baby.
  1. Maintains digestive health: Dalia is rich in dietary fiber, which can enhance gastric motility and keep constipation at bay (5). It also acts as a prebiotic and boosts the gut microbiota (6). Healthy gut microbiota is necessary to maintain a healthy immune system in the long run (7).  

Precautions To Take While Feeding Dalia To Babies

These precautions can ensure the safe consumption of dalia in babies.

  • Buy packaged, organic dalia from a reputable store for quality assurance.
  • Prepare dalia in a semi-thick, soup-like consistency with no lumps to make it easy for a baby to swallow and digest.
  • Follow a “three to five-day wait” while introducing dalia to rule out intolerance, sensitivity, or allergy. Add no new food while you are feeding dalia to your baby.
  • Introduce one to two teaspoons of single-ingredient dalia to your baby for a couple of days. Once the baby adjusts to dalia’s taste, texture, and digestibility, increase the quantity gradually.
  • You can also try multigrain dalia recipes with pulses, oats, millets, and rice.
  • If the baby looks uncomfortable or shows signs of intolerance or sensitivity, discontinue feeding, and try after a few days. If the problem persists, consult a pediatrician.
  • Dalia contains gluten, which is associated with allergies. If your baby has any existing allergies, food intolerances, or gastrointestinal issues, then consult a pediatrician before introducing dalia.  

Healthy Dalia Recipes For Babies And Toddlers

Below are some healthy and tasty dalia recipes that you can feed to your baby and toddler in moderation.

1. Vegetable dalia khichdi (7 months+)

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You will need:

  • ½ cup dalia (washed and drained)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 small tomato (finely chopped)
  • 1 potato (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ cup green beans (chopped)
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp black pepper powder
  • 1tbsp ghee
  • 4 cups water

How to:

  1. Heat ghee on a stockpot over medium heat and add cumin seeds to it.
  2. As the seeds begin to crackle, add onion and saute until they turn golden brown.
  3. Add tomato, potato, beans, and black pepper powder. Cook the mixture for five minutes.
  4. Add dalia and three cups of water. Cover the pan and let the mixture cook on low heat for ten minutes or until the dalia looks well-cooked. Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. At this point, add more water to the recipe, ensuring it has soup-like consistency.
  6. Switch off the flame and transfer the khichdi to a bowl.
  7. Stir in lemon juice, garnish with parsley, and feed immediately.
  8. You can add soy granules, cottage cheese, tofu, and nuts to this recipe for older babies.

2. Dalia halwa(laapsi) (8 months+)

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You will need:

  • ½ cup dalia
  • ¼ cup jaggery powder
  • ⅛ cup almond, cashews, and raisins (finely chopped)
  • 1 pod of cardamom
  • 1 clove
  • 4tbsp ghee
  • ⅛tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼tsp cardamom powder
  • 3 cup water
  • 2-3 strands of saffron

How to: 

  1. Heat three tablespoons of ghee in a pressure cooker. Add cardamom pod and clove in it and saute until you get a fine aroma.
  2. Add dalia and roast for five minutes or until it turns light brown.
  3. Add two cups of water, mix everything well, and pressure cook for five whistles. Set aside for five minutes to let the pressure release.
  4. Add jaggery and half a cup of water and mix everything well until the jaggery melts completely.
  5. Cook the mixture for five minutes until the jaggery begins to thicken slightly. Switch off the flame and set the cooker aside.
  6. Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a skillet over low heat. Add chopped dry fruits and saute until they turn light brown.
  7. Add roasted nuts, cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, and saffron strands to dalia and mix well. The laapsi is ready to serve.
  8. Remove clove and cardamom pod from dalia and feed immediately.

3. Dalia upma (10 months+)

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You will need:

  • ½ cup dalia
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 small tomato (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • ¼ cup carrot (finely chopped)
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp roasted peanut (coarsely ground)
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp red chili powder
  • ½tsp turmeric powder
  • 2tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 cups water

How to:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add mustard seeds.
  2. As the seeds begin to crackle, add curry leaves and onion and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  3. Add tomato, carrot, green peas, peanuts, red chili powder, dalia, and turmeric. Mix everything well.
  4. Add water to the mixture and let it cook for ten minutes on low heat with occasional stirring until the entire water dries up and all the vegetables turn tender.
  5. Switch off the flame and transfer the upma to a bowl. Stir in lemon juice and feed.
  6. You can add pulses, such as chana dal, coconut shreds, and sesame seeds to this recipe, too.

4. Curd dalia (12 months+)

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You will need:

  • ½ cup dalia (roasted)
  • 1 cup fresh curd
  • 2-3 curry leaves
  • 2 whole red chilies
  • 1 black pepper clove
  • 1tbsp urad dal
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp cashew (roasted and roughly ground)
  • 2tbsp sesame seeds oil

How to: 

  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat and add cumin seeds.
  2. As the cumin seeds begin to crackle, add black pepper, dalia, and roast them for two to three minutes.
  3. Add two cups of water and mix everything properly. Cover the skillet and cook over low flame for eight to ten minutes till all the water dries and dalia becomes soft.
  4. Switch off the flame and transfer the dalia to a bowl. Let it cool. Then, stir in curd and mix well.
  5. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and add mustard seed.
  6. As they begin to crackle, add urad dal, and cook till it turns light brown.
  7. Add whole red chili, curry leaves, cashew, and cook for 40 seconds.
  8. Pour the seasoning over the dalia and feed.

5. Sweet dalia porridge (dalia kheer) (12 months+)

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You will need:

  • ½ cup dalia (roasted)
  • ½ cup almonds, cashew, pistachio, and raisin (finely chopped)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 ripe banana (thinly chopped into small pieces)
  • 1tsp cardamom powder
  • ½tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1tbsp jaggery powder

How to:

  1. Put milk, cardamom powder, cinnamon powder, and jaggery into a pressure cooker. Heat the mixture for about five minutes over low heat.
  2. Add dalia to the mixture and pressure cook over low heat for two to three whistles. Switch off the flame and keep the cooker aside to cool.
  3. After releasing the steam, gently mash the dalia with a spoon or ladle.
  4. Transfer some of it into a bowl, add chopped banana, and feed.
  5. You can add dried berries, chia or pumpkin seeds, and more seasonal fruits, such as mango, papaya, and apple to this recipe for toddlers.

Dalia is a healthy cereal that babies can consume in breakfast or lunch. You can prepare several age-appropriate, sweet, and savory baby food preparations with dalia. Make the dishes wholesome by adding healthy ingredients, such as seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses, and grains.

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