Rich in dietary fibre, full-bodied proteins and nourishing carbohydrates-there is little that a millet won't come packed with. And everyone from your grandma to the nutritionist on your speed dial has been recommending it. The best part about this nutrition powerhouse is that they go from sides, salads and mains quite effortlessly. From a vegetarian version of the meat-based haleem to a millet dosa that comes with interesting chutney sides and sauteed mushrooms, restaurants have been experimenting with Indian varieties of millet in a big way. We round up five of our favourite millet-based dishes to help you pick the right one for your craving.
Here Are 5 Of The Best Places In India To Savour Millet-Based Dishes:
1. Millet Haleem at The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai
Vegetarian haleem is not unheard of, but that made with millets is definitely a first one. With this dish, the chefs at The Bombay Canteen outdo themselves. On their summer menu, find millet haleem that's a bowl full of smooth slow-cooked rajma stew and broken wheat. The porridge is topped with puffed millets and crispy lotus root for ample texture. The restaurant that takes tremendous pride in making everything from scratch serves this one-off dish with a famed lamb pao, picked from the traditional bakers of Minara Masjid in Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai.
2. Millet Dosa at Noon, Mumbai
A newly launched restaurant in Mumbai by Vanika Chaudhary, she does a vast range of millet-based foods. Chaudhary has been championing Indian grains since the launch of her popular healthy food brand Sequel. With this restaurant too, millets find space and are treated with tremendous sophistication. Pick from sprouted finger millet tortillas, avocado-cape gooseberry salsa and kanji spiced onions. There is also a wonderful dish that is Chaudhary's take on a dosa made with millets, crispened with A2 ghee and served with curry leaf podi, kokum chutney, oyster mushrooms and coconut-pea chutney. Besides, Noon also makes several homegrown ferments, and one of them is made of finger millet, habanero miso and A rice koji.
3. A Day In The Indian Summer at Aragma Food Studio, Pune
This gourmet food studio specializes in a course-by-course menu and you'll find usage of different kinds of millets on it. Take for example a dish called 'a day in the Indian summer'. The dish features a bed of millets and pumpkin cooked together, served with peanut sauce, drizzled with fenugreek oil and garnished with fresh grapes. The fenugreek oil adds a distinct bitterness which is balanced by the sweetness of fresh grapes. The inspiration for the dish came to founder Poornima Somayaji, when she was travelling to a grape farm near Nasik. She ate steamed millets with fresh pumpkin sabji and methi sabji, both grown locally. On her menu, she put this dish as an ode to the farmers of Maharashtra, for whom millets and methi are a staple. They also make 'millets and pulses', a signature preparation that features jowar, crunchy and cooked, served with tomato sauce, fresh yoghurt and fresh greens.
4. Millet Taco at Elaa Bar and Cafe, Goa
There is absolutely no dearth of millet-based foods at this Goa-based restaurant. Headed by chef Sandeep Sreedharan, who is known for his popular Kerala cuisine restaurant called Mahe, Elaa's menu is different and is dedicated to ingredients from and of the earth. Pick from a taco of alsande beans, sorghum and millet or soft jowar crepes topped with tangy local beans. Our favourite is the vegetable or seafood laksa served with foxtail millet which is both nourishing and outrightly delicious. Or the millet upma.
5. Jowar Pita Pockets, Soam, Mumbai
One of the best dishes at this iconic Gujarati restaurant in Mumbai is the jowar pita pockets. A classic Soam dish, it has a pita bread-like puffed roti made using jowar flour which is then generously filled with grilled green peas pattice, garlic chutney and low-cal beetroot and carrot coleslaw salad. In summer, this dish needs to be washed down with generous helpings of their aam panna which is a seasonal special here and pairs exceptionally well with our pita pockets.
About Author: Sonal Ved is the author of 'Tiffin' and 'Whose Samosa Is It Anyway?'
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