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Bring Millet Back to your Plates

The peasant’s grain as it is commonly referred to, has been around since 3500-2000 B.C in the Korean Peninsula and has been mentioned in the ancient Vedic scriptures of India specifically identifying Finger , Banyard and Foxtail Millet indicating its consumption dating back to the Bronze Age -4500B.C !

So why did we ever leave consuming this superseed? I refer to them as seeds , since this is a drought resistant annual grass grown for grain and hay. Until recently , i.e 50 years ,millet was the major grain grown in India . As urbanization took over , the diets became more refined , with wheat and rice taking over majority of the land , leaving these course grains as far behind as possible .

More common millet grains like Pearl Millet or Bajra and Sorghum or Jowar are cooked in households in some parts of India ,but they are still secondary grains. The benefits of millet grains are immense . I cannot get myself to think why these grains were pushed away totally from our kitchen shelves , replaced by lower nutrient grains like wheat and rice . Ayurveda recommends the consumption of these grains in our diets in order to bring back balance to our ‘Doshas’ or our body bio-elements. Our ancestors knew about the healing properties of these grains , somewhere it lost its charm due to economics of growing Wheat and Rice.

I was introduced to these miracle grains as I would like to call them by Mrs. Aswini Harish , founder of Rootz Organics in Dubai, U.A.E . Her passion for spreading awareness about the grain and reviving it , was the reason of my instant attraction towards this grain .

In her words “Rootz Organics is my humble attempt at creating awareness about organic products and sustainable living. It is my contribution towards building a community that lives a life free of chemicals, pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Starting our kids early on these good habits will ensure that our coming generations too are hale and hearty.’ She conducts fabulous workshops with Mrs. Smita G., Lifestyle Coach, Healing Space in Dubai .Please visit : to know more.

So ,I stocked up with her products which she distributes here, empowering farmers in India and rural women , and started my millet journey ..bringing it back to my plate . I want to share with you some simple recipes that can be savoured at home and hope that it is served on your plates too.

This is a series on Millets since there are many varieties and I will be bringing recipes of each millet to you…high time that this supergrain is brought in the limelight and back onto our tables.

My first recipe is a simple Foxtail Millet Khichdi ( a one pot usually lentil and rice, easy to digest and wholesome vegetarian dish ) . With the highest mineral content of all millets, foxtail millet is justifiably the second most produced in the world. It’s known as Kakum in Hindi. It is gluten free ,has high protein , fibre and iron content and low in fat ,absorbs glucose steadily without affecting the metabolism of the body, thus very beneficial for those battling diabetes.These are only some of its benefits. It is usually consumed as an alternative to rice .Be sure to alternate grains in your diet .This dish is incredibly tasty and high on nutrients when you add vegetables to it .

Tip : Always soak grains for as long as you can to get maximum benefits. This Khichdi has replaced the yellow lentil rice khichi on my plate and hope you can savour it too .

I have soaked Foxtail millet along with the Yellow lentil for 5 -6 hrs before I cook the Khichdi.

Ingredients :

½ cup Foxtail Millet

½ cup Moong Dal or Yellow Lentil

2 ½ cups water

½ tsp cumin seeds

1 ½ tsp ghee

A cup of chopped vegetables like pumpkin, gourd , carrots , beans or peas or any other vegetable you would like to incorporate

½ to 1 cup Spinach leaves

1 tsp grated ginger

¼ tsp turmeric powder

A pinch of Asafoetida

1/4 tsp Garam masala (optional)

1/4 tsp Red chilli powder (optional)

1 small tomato , deseeded (optional)

Salt to taste

To prepare :

  1. Wash and soak the millet and lentil till the water runs clear. Then soak them. I usually soak them for 5-6 hrs before preparing the Khichdi . The longer they are soaked the softer they turn.

  2. Take a pressure cooker , heat ghee and sauté ginger . Let the aroma come out .

  3. Add all the vegetables. If you want to include tomato, you may do so at this stage.

  4. Add turmeric and if you want , garam masala, red chilli powder and salt .Saute till the tomatoes turn soft .

  5. Add the drained millet and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

  6. Add water and check on the seasoning . Pressure cook this for 2 whistles.

  7. When done, fluff it up with a fork and add a bit of ghee or butter.

  8. Serve hot and enjoy.

This is high in fibre , iron , potassium , vitamin A and C.

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