This is a staple at home because of its many health benefits and sheer yumminess. Now that summer is making its presence felt, there's nothing like a couple of glasses of kool to cool down ;)
Soak 1 cup of pearl millet for an hour. Drain and spread onto a cotton cloth for roughly twenty minutes under the fan. It shouldn't dry out completely. There's a way to test this- if you run your hand through it, a few grains of the millet will stick to your hand for a bit.
Grind it to a coarse powder.
Heat 5 cups of water in a large vessel. In a bowl, mix the millet powder with 1 cup of water and a tsp of salt. When the water in the vessel is one the verge of boiling, empty the contents of the bowl into it. Rinse the bowl with a half cup of water and empty it into the large vessel. So that's a total of 6.5 cups of water. You can add a bit less or more, it doesn't matter.
On a high flame, stir constantly for 4 to 5 minutes. Use a circular motion to stir, scraping the sides and bottom as you go. Don't stop or slow down- switch hands coz its gonna hurt. This is done to prevent lumps from forming. Then simmer, remove the spoon/ladle, cover partially with a lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes. That's it. Push the lid on properly and leave it overnight. In the morning, you'll see a glutinous mass. This is called the kali.
Kali can be eaten as such with a spicy gravy. Traditionally, it is rolled by hand into large lumps and placed in a clay pot of water to sit another night. It's a mild fermentation process that will make it a bit sour, which is said to go well with a spicy side dish.
However, kali is also made into kool, which is gruel. Just blend the kali with yogurt, water and a bit of salt into a gruel. The ratios are up to you. I prefer more yogurt in it than others do.
Traditionally, coriander leaves, finely chopped onion, green chillies and raw mango bits are added to the gruel. I sometimes sprinkle idli podi onto it when I crave more heat. Otherwise, for crunch, I add grated carrots, chopped grapes or pomegranate seeds.
Chill and enjoy!