Once referred to as coarse grains, millets are now witnessing a resurgence among the health conscious. And for good reason.
These humble grains are among the oldest foods and featured prominently in Indian diets before being elbowed out by ‘refined grains’ like rice, wheat and fancy imports like quinoa – all nutritionally and environmentally inferior substitutes to the mighty millet.
Millets may be tiny grains but they pack quite a punch: they are rich in macro and micro nutrients, and very easy to digest. Their low glycemic index means people with diabetes can enjoy them.
Well-suited to poor soils and dry land and chemical-free cultivation, millets are the closest we have come to finding a climate-resilient miracle grain that benefits farmers and consumers alike.
There are many varieties of millets: jowar, bajra and ragi are the most popular and consumed across the country. Minor millets such as foxtail, proso and barnyard are also slowly reappearing in many health stores.
Just like rice and semolina, millets are quick and simple to cook and lend themselves to a whole variety of preparations – from dosas and kheer to cupcakes and biryani.
As part of the Family Favourites Millet Recipes Contest, The Better India Shop asked readers to get creative with the kodo millet and send in some innovative recipes. Here are our favourite entries.
1. Dibba Rotti, by Vijaya Venkatesh
A healthy twist on a traditional Andhra breakfast.
- 2 Cups Kodo/Varagu Millet
- 1 Cup Urad Dal
- 1/2 Cup beaten Rice/Poha/Aval
- 1.5 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp oil for making each rotti
- 1 Tbsp grated Ginger
- 2 finely chopped Green Chillies
- 10 Chopped Curry Leaves
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1 Cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1 Tsp Jeera
Wash and soak millet, dal and poha separately for two hours. Using a blender, first grind the dal till fluffy. Grind the millet with just 2 tbsp of water to a fine rava consistency. Grind poha finely. Mix everything. Let the batter be thick.
Add salt and ferment for 6-8 hours or overnight. Heat the curved pan/ilupachatti. Mix spices and other things to the batter.
Pour a tbsp of oil. Pour 3-4 ladles of batter. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
Let us know which of these you liked most! To buy a whole range of millets and millet-based products, check out The Better India Shop!
Cook till you get a crust base. Carefully flip and cook the other side for another 6-8 minutes or till the batter is cooked well from inside. No need to cover after flipping the side.
A toothpick test may be done to make sure that it is well-cooked. Serve with sambar/chutney.
2. Kodo Millet Pidi Kozhukattai, By Vidya Srinivasan
Pidi Kozhukattai is a healthy South Indian dumpling, traditionally made of rice and eaten for breakfast or dinner.
- Kodo millet – 1 cup
- Salt – as needed
- Curd – 1 tbsp (Optional)
- Water – 1 cup + ½ cup
- Asafoetida – a generous pinch
- Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds – ¼ tsp
- Cumin seed – ½ tsp
- Green chilli – 3 small (Adjust according to your taste)
- Ginger – 1 inch
- Coriander leaves – a few
- Curry leaves – a few
- Wash the kodo millet and strain it in a colander. Spread it on a towel and let it dry for an hour. When it is completely dry, grind it coarse.
- Add all the ingredients given under “to grind” to a mixer jar and grind with a little water.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds.
- Once they splutter, add water and bring to a boil.
- As the water starts boiling, add curd, asafoetida, salt, and mix well.
- Add the millet flour and stir until all the moisture evaporates and the millet is half-cooked.
- Sprinkle some water if required. Switch off the heat and let it cool.
- Form kozhukattai (dumplings) with the mixture when it cools a little.
- Steam the dumplings in a steamer or idli stand for 8-10 minutes
- You can use little millet, foxtail, barnyard instead of kodo.
- You can use whole millet instead of ground. I ground the millet coarsely, but you can grind it according to the texture of your preference.
- You can add two tablespoons of coconut for extra taste
- You can choose not to grind the chilli, coriander leaves and curry leaves; I made this dish toddler-friendly by grinding them.
- Sprinkle extra water if required. The amount of water may vary while making the upma for kozhukattai
- Upma dries up if kept for too long. Cover it with damp cloth/towel and if it dries out, sprinkle some hot water and make kozhukattai.
3. Sprouted Delight, By Pallavi Sharma
- Sprouted ragi (finger millet): 1 cup
- Sprouted moong: 1 cup
- Grated carrots: 1 medium
- Green chillies finely chopped: 2
- Onion finely chopped: 1 medium
- Curd: 2 tbsp
- Curry leaves: few
- Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
- Chilli powder: 1 tsp
- Hing: a pinch
- Oil to temper: 2 tsp
- Salt: to taste
4. Kodo Millet and Makhana Rabdi, By Meenakshi Kapur
- 500 ml milk
- 1 cup kodo millet
- 1 cup makhana
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1 tbsp elaichi powder
- 4-5 cashew nuts
- 4-5 raisins
- 1 tbspghee