Millet is not a staple diet in Kerala as much it is in Karnataka. The only millet I was familiar with before moving to Karnataka, was Ragi. Because Ragi is a popular baby food. So after moving here, I was quite surprised to know the different ways millet varieties can be added to diet.
Millet is a grass variety with small seeds. Millet is resilient to infertile soil, droughts and needs minimum care in cultivation. According to Ayurveda millet is light, sweet and dry grain. It balances Kapha but can increase Vata and Pitta in excess. So it is advised to soak the millet in water and cook with cumin and coriander to make it suitable for all Doshas.
Millet is particularly high in minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Ragi, or finger millet is the richest in calcium, with about 10 times that of rice or wheat. In general, millets are fairly high on the Glycemic Index (GI) so it is best prepared with a little high quality oil, like pure desi ghee, or with additional high fiber foods, to slow the GI of the whole dish.
If you have Thyroid problems it is better to restrict the Millet intake. Millet is a great alternative to rice for diabetes patients. But incase you have no such condition, millet being a dry crop can increase the Vata and dry out your body. So it is advisable to use it in moderation in diet and also to include it as millet flour, as it is easier to digest by the body.
According to Ayurveda your food should be seasonal and local. So if you are used to eating rice, don’t switch to millet immediately. Especially if it is not locally grown.
My first attempt in cooking with Millet was with Foxtail variety. It is similar to quinoa in that, it gets fluffy one it absorbs hot water.
Soak the millet in water for an hour. Then add it to boiling water and let it sit for 15-20min. The millet will drink up the water and expand. Use a fork to fluff it and this can be used to prepare dishes like salads and upma. For dishes like Kichdi, Pongal and Payasam you can add the soaked millet with other ingredients in a pressure cooker and cook it.
Foxtail millet doesn’t have any specific taste. So the taste depends on the ingredients you use for the dish.
Finger millet, ragi or panja pullu is my current favorite. The sprouted ragi glour powder with jaggery is my current go to beverage. I thought it would have the flour taste but surprisingly it has a nutty flavour and makes a great drink.
I wanted to try making dosa batter with ragi. So I soaked the whole grains overnight with urad dal and tried grinding it in grinder, like I normally do with rice dosa. Unfortunately, the ragi didn’t grind at all with the Urad dal. So I transferred it to the mixer jar and tried grinding it in mixie. That worked, eventhough it took a while to get it a smooth paste.
So I would advice you to grind urad dal and mix it with Ragi Powder before leaving it to ferment.
Anyway the dosa and idlis turned out great. Especially the idlis were soft and fluffy.
So that’s it on millet. I will add more recipes in the insta page as and when I try new dishes with it. Hope you liked the post.
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