India's tryst with millets dates back centuries. Millets such as ragi, jowar, and bajra, have a rich history of being eaten by different communities across the country. Interestingly, India is also the largest producer of millets in the world. The nutri-cereals are packed with proteins, carbohydrates, and fibres. In fact, ragi contains 3X more calcium than any other cereal (yes, even milk!) and it has high-fibre content that keeps people fuller for longer. Jowar, on the other hand, is a gluten-free grain and the amount of antioxidants in the grain is about 3-4x higher than that of other wholegrains, making it a super immunity booster.
AND the icing on the (millet) cake? The grains are incredibly delicious.
Yet, we don't talk about these superfoods enough. As a nation, the monocultures of wheat and rice have taken over our plates and along the way, we have forgotten the benefits of the mighty, homegrown millet. However, things are slowly changing - millets are coming into their own, with individuals, brands, the Indian government, and even the United Nations consciously working towards communicating the benefits of this grain. The recent Union Budget put the grain in focus and the United Nations has designated 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
The spotlight is finally on these hardy grains and it's time to bust the myths - millets are easy to make, taste yummy and do not need a complete overhaul of your existing recipes.
Here are 7 quick and easy ways to incorporate millets into your family's daily routine:
1. Millet Chapati
Small changes add up! One of the easiest ways to incorporate millets into your diet is by cooking chapatis with 50 percent whole wheat flour and using a millet-based flour like ragi flour or jowar flour for the remaining part of the dough. Over the course of a few weeks, chances are that you'll find yourself getting so used to the super grain that you'll want to eventually switch to chapatis made entirely of millets.
2. Millet Idli
Idli for breakfast is a great way to kick-start the day, isn't it? Unfortunately, what most of us don't realize is that rice-based idlis can actually make one feel lethargic since they are a carb-heavy preparation. The next time you want to indulge in idlis for breakfast, try substituting rice with ragi - it's a concoction that will keep you full for longer while also checking off the boxes of taste and health! And the best part? You can make idlis with most millet varieties, which means that you can experience a 'new' idli every time you make it.
3. Millet Fried Rice / Pulaos
Millet varieties like foxtail millet are easy substitutes for rice and fantastic grains to use in fried rice recipes or pulaos. The grain is loaded with good calories and is a powerhouse of energy. A diet including foxtail millet is also known to help improve glycaemic control and reduce insulin, cholesterol and fasting glucose in type-2 diabetes patients.
So the next time you're craving a hearty pulao, be sure to use millets as the central ingredient.
4. Millet Porridge
If eating porridge sounds boring and dull to you, try making it with equal proportions of ragi, rice, moong dal and jowar. Add some fresh fruits, and you have yourself an easily digestible dish, which is not only a hearty breakfast for adults and kids alike. Click here for the recipe.
5. Millet Pancake
We're often asked in wonder "It's possible to make a pancake with millets?"
Absolutely! And what if we told you that it will taste just as yummy as the pancakes you're used to eating? Switch your regular flour with any millet-based flour (foxtail millet, amaranth, and bajra are our top picks) and you'll have an absolutely delicious (and guilt-free) option for your lazy weekend breakfasts.
6. Millet Cake
Millet cake is the perfect way to satiate your sweet tooth without worrying about the impact the dessert will have on your health. Instead of maida, you can use any millet flour like finger millet, foxtail millet or pearl millet as per your liking and taste, and enjoy a healthy and delicious treat at home.
(Also Read: 5 Millet Recipes For Weight Loss)
7. Millet Crepes
Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals and the goodness of fruits, millet crepes are an ideal breakfast to put together in the middle of a hectic WFH week. You can use ragi flour, fruits such as bananas, along with milk and eggs to whip up a healthy and wholesome breakfast crepe.
Enjoy the various benefits of millets through these recipes.
About the authors: Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik are co-founders of Wholsum Foods Pvt. Ltd (makers of Slurrp Farm)
Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.