Years back, watching my friend's newborn snuggle up resting his teenyweeny face on her breast, I was hit by a painful yearning to become a mom. A few months back, watching my mom carefully feed my baby her first solid food, nature or love or whatever it was struck again and am already looking forward to becoming a grandma:). Where I come from, homemade rice cereal called kurukku is given as the first solid food to babies because it's easy to digest, and generally a brownish variety of rice called navara ari is preferred for its higher nutritional value. My little girl was five and a half months old when she first tasted it- a spoonful the first day, a little more the next day, and a little more, thus my mom got her eating almost half a cup of rice kurukku thrice a day by the time baby and I had to come back to the U.S. Grandma magic, you see. She also packed finely powdered and roasted rice, ragi/muthari and wheat, doing all the work by herself to make sure her grandchild's food stays fresh.
Rice (or ragi or wheat) is soaked in water for an hour, drained well and finely powdered in small quantities. This is then slowly roasted over low heat in a thick-bottomed pan to ensure no moisture is trapped. Carefully made, these powdered grains stay good for months in the fridge, and it is common practise to make and store these powdered grains in larger quantities. Mix about a quarter cup of this powdered grain in one cup of water and bring to a boil in a heavy- bottomed pan. Once it gets boiling reduce the heat to low and cook till it becomes a smooth and fairly thick paste, stirring all the time to avoid cleaning up a messy pan. If her kurukku is watery my girl thinks it is some game and starts blowing rasperries as I try to feed her, so I make sure it is thick enough. Back home a dash of salt and ghee is added to these kurukkus. If you would rather keep the salt away from your baby, a ripe fruit like banana or apple can be added to make these more appealing for your little gourmet. I sometimes use coconut jaggery too, by simply melting a tiny bit of jaggery in hot water and passing it through a sieve to remove any coarse lump, and then adding it to the pan.
...and then my princess feasted on navara ari kurukku and a steamed nectarine, kissed me, and fell asleep.