My Family's Galactagogue

Galactagogue: "a substance that promotes lactation in humans and other animals" (Wikipedia).

After E was born, my milk took a while to come in. Once it came in I was dealing with supply issues. Thankfully my mom was staying with us and made me an Indian recipe often made for new moms that featured my second favorite galactagogue: fenugreek.

Fenugreek, or methi as it's known in the South Asian culture, seeds are used as a spice in cooking. Its leaves are also eaten and can taste bitter. Most moms (myself included) are told to eat fenugreek in capsule form to help increase their milk supply. The capsule form contains crushed seeds.

The dish my mom made for me is called kheer. It is a porridge that uses fenugreek seeds, jaggery (I imagine brown or white sugar can be substituted in its place), and rice. Kheer is typically eaten cold and milk can be added if you desire a thinner consistency.

  • 1/3 cup of rice (we typically use basmati rice)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of jaggery (more if you want it sweeter)
  • 1 cup milk
  • Wash and soak rice together with fenugreek seeds overnight. The ratio of water to the rice/fenugreek seeds is 2:1 (for ever cup of rice, soak in two cups of water, etc.)
  • The next day, boil the rice and fenugreek in the same water that it was soaked in. Add more water if necessary to keep the 2:1 ratio. It doesn't have to be exact, you can eyeball it.
  • Add a pinch of salt.
  • Let it cook until the rice is fully cooked and most of the water is absorbed.
  • Smoosh the rice with a spoon as it is cooking. It does not have to be finely mashed, it should be coarsely mashed (if that makes sense).
  • Once the rice and fenugreek seeds have cooked, add the jaggery until it melts and the mixture thickens up.
    Be sure to stir the rice every 5-10 minutes.
  • After the jaggery melts, bring the mixture up to a boil.
  • Add the milk and let everything boil for two minutes.
  • Cool it and keep it in the fridge.
  • Add milk to thin it prior to eating if desired.

Kheer's done! You can see the fenugreek seeds in the mix.

If you Google "fenugreek kheer" or "methi kheer", you will find variations of this recipe. Some call for coconut milk and cardamom, others say you can use sugar in place of the jaggery. All are correct, but this is what my mom made me, her mom made her, and so on and so forth. I guess you could say it's my family's version of a chocolate chip cookie or pasta sauce.

A word of caution from my experience: ingesting too much fenugreek can give mom and baby an upset stomach. If you decide to add more fenugreek to the recipe, please be careful. The same holds true if you are taking fenugreek capsules and add methi kheer to your lactogenic diet. It's not fun. I found out the hard way.

In case you were wondering, a cold pint of Guinness is my favorite galactagogue. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day!