If there is one thing I loved the most about becoming mother apart from the awesome twins I was blessed with, is enjoying all the food made especially for my postpartum phase. Traditional foods that not only healed my body but nourished my twins and calmed my soul. Not even for a moment did I worry about piling on those extra kilos (I put-on 20 kilos in one year after giving birth and lost all of it the following year) what was utmost import to me was to take care of my body and that of the babies I was nursing.
Aatho is one such food that I ate the most (don’t know why is it called so). Aatho means ferment in Gujarati but there is no fermenting involved here. It is a traditional Gujarati food preparation for nursing mothers. This particular preparation is neither set as bars not shaped in ladoos. Aatho is a no-cook preparation wherein all the ingredients are just mixed together.
It continues to be a favourite. I can still wipe down a bowl and not feel guilty about it. It has loads of ghee and jaggery along with spices, seeds and nuts. All the ingredients carefully chosen to induce lactation and good health.
The recipe is pretty simple. The hardest part would be assembling the ingredients. Since it is a traditional recipe I have given the measures in grams. You can mix and match the nuts you like. But do not compromise on ghee, edible gum, khus-khus, dried coconut, sooth and peeprimul. They are their for their medicinal properties and the spiciness of sooth and peeprimul balances the sweetness of jaggery. It may look like lot of ghee but trust me it will seem just enough once you have added all the ingredients and the ingredients have soaked up the ghee.
The recipe here is shared by my Kaki/taiji who made it for all the new mums in our family. Hope you get to make and enjoy this soulful foods as much as I have
- 500 grams ghee/clarified butter
- 250 grams jaggery/gor, grated
- 100 grams sugar crystals/sakar
- 200 grams dedicated coconut/chinelu suku nariyel
- 1 shell dried coconut/suka nariyel ni kachli
- 50 grams edible gum/deshi gunder
- 50 grams pistachios/pista
- 50 grams almonds/badam
- 50 grams walnuts/akhrot
- 50 grams cashew nu/ kaju
- 50 grams golden raisins/kishmish
- 50 grams dried dates/kharek
- 50 grams dried apricots/jardalu
- 25 grams Chroli/chironji
- 50 grams poppy seeds/khus-khus
- 50 grams magaz seeds
- 50 grams dried ginger powder/sooth
- 10 grams peeprimool/ganthoda powder
- 1 nutmeg, grated (can reduce the amount to suit your taste)
- 5-6 green cardamoms, seeds powdered
The preparations for making Aatho begins with finely chopping the dried coconut shell, kharek, pistachios, almonds, cashews, walnuts and apricots.
If you want you can dry roast the khus-khus and magaz seeds
Place a small pan on low flame, add two to three tablespoons ghee and fry the edible gum till it pops up.
Once the fried edible gum cools down a little roughly crush it.
In the same pan add the rest of the ghee and melt it.
Turn off the flame.
Take a large mixing bowl. First add the grated jaggery and pour the hot ghee on it.
Mix till jaggery melts down. Now begin adding all the ingredients one at a time and mix well after each addition.
Aatho is ready.
Transfer the Aatho to an airtight container.
The mix stays well at room temperature.
Eat couple of spoonful after each feed or two bowls aday.
How finely you chop the dried fruits and nuts will depend on your preference. You can also chop it roughly in the food processor. In the trailing video you see my Bhabhi frying and roughly pounding the edible gum. And we also gave half the quantity of nuts a chop in food processor and rest were kept chunky to give that bite to Aatho.