“When you getting gold, why go for Tamba(Copper )?“ I couldn’t resist myself using these lines from one Bollywood song to start this blog. When I take case or history of clients, I find we have restricted our food choices to limited . Take an example of grains. Wheat rules undoubtfully in bakery and restaurants . All-purpose flour literally captures the market. It used to very difficult for me to change food habits and introduce new food for my clients especially non-Indians.
It is a challenge to cut on all purpose flour and wheat use and to replace them with various millets. Millets have become a popular choice in health conscious and nutritionally educated people. We are becoming gluten aware but still many alternatives are not explored yet. Millets are the answer to correct what wheat and plain flour might be doing wrong. Basically, we are not choosing Our food. We are made to buy and eat what supermarkets and restaurants offers to us. There are at least 10 types of grain then what making us eat only one or two.
The most difficult task when I promote millet consumption is, how to eat them? What dishes can we cook easily from millet ? Millets are very uncommon in regular foods of western country. The forms which are consumed in India are mostly fresh Bhakari (Indian millet bread). It is highly impractical here.
But very few of us know that there are many easy ways to eat millets without much effort . Before that do you want to know why millets ?
Amazing facts of millets:
- Ayurveda praises millets for its light-dry property , sweet-astringent taste and kapha reducing nature.
- Millets can offer satiety even in small quantity which makes it ideal food in people who want to reduce weight without compromising on nutrition.
- Millets can literally scrap the unwanted fat from the systems in your body. Ayurveda has named this property as Lekhan(To scrap). In obesity and where the toxic Ama is reason for pathology millets are wholesome (Pathya food).
- Millets can increase Vata, that’s why Ayurvedic dietetics mention use of good fat along with it. Cow ghee, sesame seed oil or castor oil are some lipids that goes well along with millets. It also takes care of constipation( if it occurs), due to dry nature of millet.
- Millets are supposed to be galactagogues which means they stimulate and increase the breast milk. Peral millet and finger millet are included in traditional meal plan of post-delivery period in India. Porridge, soup, or mildly fermented steamed flour is choice of food from ancient periods till today.
- Millets have high amount of lecithin and is excellent for strengthening the nervous system. It is also rich in vitamin B, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, as well as the minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
- High in fiber, rich in essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, naturally gluten-free, alkaline, non-allergenic, they are thus easily digestible.
- A low glycemic index makes them an ideal rice substitute, good for cholesterol, diabetes, and weight loss.
- Millets are gaining popularity as they are gluten free. For people who are gluten sensitive millets are best.
- They can be effectively used to control Cholesterol. Remember the Lekhan property of millets? ‘Ayurveda millet diet’ exactly uses this property to manage high lipids .
- Can we give millets to toddlers ? Why not? Variety is key to nutrition. Use different millets in combinations like soft Payasam , soups, boiled liquid flour drink etc. To reduce its dry property, add ghee, coconut oil or sesame oil relevantly according to dish.
Super easy dishes from millets :
- Soft Millet soup : Millets are easily available in form of flours. Roast flour dry and keep in clean glass jar. They can remain good till one month. Take two three tablespoon of millet flour add 200 ml water and mix well. Heat on low flame and boil for a minute. Keep stirring to avoid lumps. Add spices of your choice like dry ginger powder, cloves, black peppers , cumin seeds etc. do not forget to add one tablespoon of organic cow ghee. Serve hot with fresh lemon drops to add the zest. This can be a fulfilling yet light to digest meal or healthy break fast or snack.
- Tasty khichari diet : Pearl millet (bajra) khichari is my favorite khichari. Dry roast millet and grind them coarsely and keep in airtight jar. Soak for two hours before cooking or use pressure cooker to cook soft. Heat oil add cumin seeds, turmeric , curry leaves, chopped garlic, groundnuts, red chili powder. Sauté in finely cut vegetables like onion , cauliflower, potato, sweet potato, elephant foot, raw banana, carrot etc. .(vegetables are optional ). Add soaked millet, rock salt to taste and pour twice amount of water and let is cook till it becomes soft. Semisolid consistency is the ideal one for this khichari. Hot millet khichari with buttermilk and cow ghee can be a super wholesome comfort food.
- Millets Pancakes: Batter made up of millet flour, buttermilk ,rock salt , spices to taste can be turned in to thin crispy pancakes. It’s a quick recipe ideal as meal, brunch or even dinner. Pair it up with green chutney, scrambled eggs, or choice of salad. Yes, You are right, do not forget to use cow ghee instead of butter.
- Sweet millet balls : Dry roast millet flour and roast again very well in ample cow ghee. Add dried fruit nuts powder, dried date powder, grated dried coconut and jaggery. Add some pinches of nutmeg, cardamon powder to add aroma and appetizing flavor. Make small balls (laddus) and store in glass jar. They can remain fresh and well for one month. These are power packed balls and can be served as healthy desserts too. Red/finger millets are ideal millets for this recipe.
- Millet rice : Millets like little millets (vari/sava)can be used just like rice with curries or daal. Spicy millet rice with buttermilk is a typical food people prefer on spiritual fasts.
- Bread and Rotis : Millets are baking friendly. Bake cookies or cake it will never disappoint you. To avoid the strong flavor of millet you can add some portion of wheat flour in few dishes. Roll Rotis, turn them in to buns or bake spicy balls (baatis).
These are some very easy and simple recipes from millets. Mindful is the correct adjective to praise this food class. One need to frequently meet millets in their meal plates. Make sure to add these superfoods in your grocery list next time. Vacate a shelf and give them top place in your kitchen.