Foxtail millet, the second-most widely planted millet, is a rich source of nutrients. The crop grows predominantly in tropical or temperate weather conditions and is mainly found in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
This variety of millet is an excellent alternative to rice. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that a protein in the bran of foxtail millet can control heart-related problems to some extent.
The main cause of heart disease is narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis. Foxtail millet bran peroxidase (FMBP), found in this crop, can bring down this growth. The millet also contains ample amounts of iron and calcium, which stabilises the blood sugar level, as well as strengthens the immune system. Regular intake of this millet can even help in weight loss, due to the presence of dietary fibre.
Dr P V Lakshmi, chief dietitian at Gleneagles Global Health City, told The New Indian Express, “Four months ago, a patient with extremely high blood sugar visited us. She was suggested foxtail millet in her diet and exercise. After a month, her blood sugar reduced drastically. It was a wonderful change. Her cholesterol level also improved due to the fibre content in the millet.”
She added that consumption of 100 g of foxtail millet satisfies 25 per cent of one’s daily requirement of magnesium. This can prevent a few types of cancer, regulate asthma attacks, and relieve hypertension.
Foxtail millet is gluten-free and can be consumed by anyone. It can also increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to be brittle.
Are you convinced of the prowess of this millet yet? If so, here are some everyday recipes that use foxtail millet, which you can cook up with ease.
Foxtail millet dosa
Foxtail millet – 200 g
Urad dal – 80 g
Fenugreek seeds – 1.5 teaspoon
Salt – for taste
Oil – as required
Wash the millet, dal and fenugreek seeds in cold water. Soak them in separate bowls for six hours, or overnight. Then, blend them into a smooth batter by adding the necessary amount of water. Add salt to taste. Let the batter ferment for another six hours. Then, take a dosa pan, grease it with oil, pour the batter, and spread it using a ladle into a round shape. Cook well and have it fresh with sambar or coconut chutney.
Foxtail millet upma
Sesame oil – 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
White Urad Dal – 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves – 2 sprig, finely chopped
Green Chilli – 1
Dry Red Chilli – 1
Onion – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 inch, finely chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
Carrot – 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Green beans – 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Foxtail Millet – 1 cup
Lemon – 1
Salt – to taste
Coriander leaves – 2 tablespoons
Ghee – 1 tablespoon
In a pressure cooker, add mustard seeds and urad dal to hot oil. Allow it to crackle and turn golden brown, and then add green and red chillies. Next, add onion and ginger. Once they soften, add curry leaves, turmeric powder, beans, carrot, foxtail millet, salt and 2.5 cups of water. Let the cooker give out five or six whistles. Simmer for another five minutes and after the pressure is gone, squeeze one lemon’s juice and sprinkle coriander leaves. Serve it hot with tomato chutney. This recipe can serve up to two people.
Foxtail millet khichdi
Foxtail millet – ½ cup
Moong dal – ½ cup
Water – 2.5 cups
Carrot, beans, peas, capsicum – 1 cup, finely chopped
Methi leaves – ¼ cup
Tomato – 1
Ghee – 1.3 tablespoon
Ginger – 1 teaspoon, grated
Cumin – ½ teaspoon
Red chilly powder – ½ teaspoon
Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
Garam masala – ¼ teaspoon
Salt – for taste
Clean and soak millets and dal for one hour. Add ghee to a heated pressure cooker. Add cumin and ginger. Then, add all the veggies and saute them for three minutes. Add turmeric, red chilli, garam masala powders and salt. Drain dal and millet, add them and saute for three minutes. Add water and let the cooker give out 2-3 whistles. Open the vessel and add a little more ghee. Serve hot with spicy pickle and papad. The recipe serves two.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)
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