Meeting the millets

by Sanjeev Kapoor

The consumption of rice and wheat is so ingrained in our diets, that we consume it without paying attention to other much healthier substitute - millets. Millets are small grained, warm weather cereals belonging to the grass family.

Here are a few thing you should know about them -

  • Jowar, bajra, ragi and sama or samai (Barnyard Millet) are some of the common varieties of millets consumed in India.
  • Millets are far ahead of rice and wheat when it comes to mineral and calcium content.
  • Some varieties of millets also have iron and beta carotene.
  • Being low in carbohydrates, millets take longer to digest, making the breakdown of glucose slower, this is of great benefit to diabetics. Hence millets are an ideal food for diabetics. Its insoluble fibres make it a good triglyceride lowering food. 
  • Small millets are rich in minerals like copper and iron. Also, they release glucose slowly and thus lower the chances of diabetes.
  • High on fibre, millets fill you up faster and prevent over eating and digestive disorders.
  • Millets rank very low on the allergy list, non-glutinous and non-acid forming. Thus making it easy for everyone to have it.
  • Millets are rich in magnesium, making it a good food for people with migraines.
  • Regular consumption is said to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack.
  • Millets reduces the severity of asthma as unlike wheat, they do not have the allergen that cause asthma and wheezing.
  • Women approaching menopause should definitely increase the consumption of Kodo Millets. Regular consumption of Kodo Millets benefits post-menopausal women with high blood pressure and risk of heart disease.

Here are some fab things to make with millets

Ragi mudde or ragi balls are made of cooked ragi flour. Farmers of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh eat this for breakfast before setting out to work in the fields or eat it as a mid-day meal. Since it is digested slowly, it gives them the stamina and energy to work in the fields all day. It is a good food option for those who sit at their desks all day and work. 

It is great for diabetics as it increases insulin sensitivity and helps keep glucose levels normal. Make a bajra and fresh fenugreek roti and eat with fresh yogurt for a healthy tasty breakfast. It contains good amounts of amino acids and is a great food option for weight watchers. Let a bajra and vegetable khichdi substitute rice in a meal and bajra muffins for dessert.

Centuries ago what was cattle feed is now recognized as a super healthy food for humans. Jowar or shorgum is a hearth healthy grain which has a beautiful earthy taste to it. Soak jowar grain overnight and use it to make jowar curd or a delicious jaggery payasam studded with crunchy jowar grains. These healthy millets are loaded with nutritive value and high in dietary fiber, iron, antioxidants and calcium.

Recommended recipes-

Ragi Sweet Pongal,  Bajra Idli,  Ragi Cutlets,  Ragi Roti,  Jowar Keema Khichdi,  Bajra Muffin,  Bajra Khichdi,  Nachani Puri,  Khichuri,  Jowar with Jaggery

website of the year 2013
website of the year 2014
website of the year 2016
MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.