Of late I have been experimenting a lot with millets. This is because the millets that I had bought in an organic store in Mangalore had been languishing in my refrigerator for way too long. Late last year I decided that I would earmark 2017 as the ‘Year of Millets’, purely for the purpose of enjoying millets, an ancient grain which has suddenly come under the limelight. Perhaps the only millet that I knew about for the longest time was ‘ragi’ or ‘finger millet’. I later discovered that ‘bajra’ (pearl millet) & jowar/bili jola (sorghum) that I had heard about growing up were also part of the millet family. I am yet to try my hand at proso millet, kodo millet, barnyard millet & little millet and hope to share the recipes with you soon. At the end of this post I will share details of where you can buy them in India & UAE.
A lot is being discovered and written about their tremendous health benefits and they are deemed to be the superfood of today. Since I am not a qualified nutritionist I will refrain from talking too much about their health benefits but will urge you to add them to your diet, especially if you are gluten free and vegan. I won’t say that millets fare better over rice or recommend them to diabetics, but you could definitely do your research and opt for them as it is always good to have a balanced diet – no matter what your age and health condition are. Millets are also very versatile, especially foxtail millets as you can replace them in recipes that call for rice. Make a millet pulao or kheer or grind them to flour and add them to your other grain flours to fortify them. I have a couple of recipes coming up soon.
So when I set out to making something out of this huge stock of foxtail millets at home I didn’t know what kind of recipe would work best. Should I try making a non-veg pulao or a vegetarian one? Should I add the millets to clear stock and make a hearty soup? After some random browsing on the net, I settled for a pure vegetarian pulao. As potatoes are a favourite at home I decided to add some fried strips as I had seen a similar recipe in Mallika Badrinath’s book on rice varieties. Needless to say, this pulao was a hit at home. The son said ‘yum’, the husband suggested that I make it again with chicken, the daughter who is not into trying out new dishes liked it too. Next time, I will take the husband’s advice and try a non veg pulao. For now, I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you do, drop a line at [email protected]! I’ll be waiting to hear from you!
Where To Buy Millets:
Mangalore ~ Desi Utthana, ICICI Bank building above Madhu Bazaar (near the Post office), Hampankatta. They also have stores in Bangalore & Hubli. All details can be found on their website
Other cities in India ~ Please check Godrej Nature’s Basket & similar high end stores.
Dubai ~ Lulu hypermarket, Karama, Dubai in the section where semolina is available. You can also check the Al Adil chain of stores & The Organic Foods & Cafe, Sheikh Zayed Road
Have you tried these millet recipes?
Foxtail Millet Pulao ~ Gluten Free & Vegan
- 1 cup foxtail millet thinai in Tamil & navane in Kannada
- 2 cups plain water or vegetable stock * see notes
- 1 vegetable stock cube if water is used to cook the millets optional
- 1 small potato, peeled and cut into strips
- 1 tablespoon cashew nuts
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped to garnish
- salt to taste
- ghee or oil for frying
For the masala
- 1 medium-big onion
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 inch ginger
- 1-2 small green chillies (spicy variety) * adjust to taste
For the seasoning
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black gram dal urad dal
- Place the millets in a sieve or fine slotted colander and wash carefully in 2-3 changes of water and drain. Do this carefully as the millets tend to stick to your hands and you will end up losing a lot of the grains when you discard the water.
- In a heavy based pan or pot, bring the vegetable stock or plain water (in which the stock cube has been dissolved if using) to a rolling boil.
- Add the washed millets and check seasoning. Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat completely to a sim, cover the pan with a well fitting lid and keep a timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the pan untouched for 15 minutes.
- In the meanwhile marinate the potato strips lightly with salt. Keep aside for 5-7 minutes and then drain the water. Shallow fry them till light golden. Remove on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen tissue
- Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala'. Reserve the water from the mixer jar after the ground masala has been removed
- After 15 minutes are up, gently fluff the cooked millets with a fork. Cover the pan again and keep aside.
- In a heavy based pan or Kadai heat the ghee or oil and fry the cashew nuts till golden. Remove and keep aside.
- To the same pan, add the mustard seeds, when they stop spluttering, add the cumin and black gram dal. Fry everything on a low heat. Add the ground masala and fry it for 7-8 minutes or till the moisture evaporates and the oil begins to leave the masala.
- Reduce the heat and add the powders - turmeric, garam masala, coriander & cumin. After a couple of seconds add the pre-cooked millets and on a medium-high heat mix everything very well. Remove from heat.
- Serve the millets topped with the fried potatoes and garnished with cashew nuts and chopped coriander leaves
The nutritional values are only indicative.