Ponk: Have You Tried This Healthy Gujarati Winter Snack?
Image Credit: Ponk is a healthy winter snack from Gujarat

Seasonal produce varies from region to region. While some fruits and vegetables are commonly found in most states, there are certain grains and millets that are specifically grown in a few areas and become a specialty there. That’s the case with ponk too. This healthy grain is harvested in Surat, a city in Gujarat, and spruced up into a winter snack during the season.  

For the unversed, ponk refers to sorghum grains, which are a type of jowar millet that is usually harvested during the beginning of winter. Sometimes referred to as ‘paunk’, these sorghum grains are dry and green in texture and colour respectively. They are generally harvested before they grow fully, which lends them a softer texture and taste. Roasted lightly to make them tender, ponk is then added to a variety of dishes.  

What can you make with ponk?  

Ponk bhel is one of the most beloved snacks in Gujarat during winters. The grains are roasted and mixed with onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves as well as spices like chaat masala, salt, black pepper, and a dash of lime juice. Another interesting way to consume ponk is by adding it to your pulaos, salads and even, kheer.  

Vadas are also made using this grain and it is also added to the samosa stuffing at many places. The most popular use of ponk can be found in making Limbu Mari Ni Sev, a crunchy combination of lemon and sev filled with ponk. Not just in Gujarat, you’ll also find this grain’s popularity in states like Maharashtra, where ponk is spruced up as hurda, a chatpati dish made with garlic chutney, onions and loads of spices. It is often served with chhacch.  

Health benefits of ponk  

If you thought ponk is just another tasty winter treat, you’re mistaken. The sorghum grains come packed with a plethora of health benefits. They are rich in dietary fibre which improves digestion and is good for gut health. It is good for diabetic people as it is rich in complex carbs that help to regulate the insulin levels in the body.  

Another added benefit of eating these grains is that they are rich in antioxidants and proteins which keep you full for longer and aid weight loss. This healthy snack can be munched on guilt-free during winters and is also gluten-free, making it ideal for people with celiac disease. Moreover, the shelf life of ponk can be extended by properly storing and freezing them in zip-lock vegetable bags, so that they can be consumed after the winter months as well.