Food fix

Miracle millets

Millets were considered sacred crops by the Indians and the Chinese in ancient times. History reveals that Marco Polo carried plenty of millets with him on his voyages. Millets are grains of tiny size. They could be black (ragi), yellow (navane), white (baraga), grey or red. A healthy substitute to rice, millets — during cultivation — need no pesticides or fertilisers. They are mostly grown in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Millets are rich in vitamin B, especially niacin B6 and folacin. They are also a rich source of calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.

Except in cases where thyroidism is the cause of obesity, millets are of great help to weight watchers. Millets are the only grains which retain their alkaline nature when cooked, so they are ideal for those battling obesity and diabetes, and to those who are allergic to wheat and gluten.

Here are a few quick and easy recipes.

Bisi Bele Bhath

Ingredients: Yellow or white millet — 1 cup; Green gram dal —  ¼ cup; Carrots, beans and asparagus — 25 gm each; Oil — 2 tsp; Mustard and jeera — for seasoning; Bisi bele bhath powder — 2 tsp.

Method: Heat oil, season with mustard and jeera, add the vegetables and fry. Add millets and dal, 4 cups of water and cook in a pressure cooker. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Millet treat

Ingredients: White millet — 1 cup; Curds — 4 cups; Oil — 1 tsp; Mustard — ¼ tsp, Red chillies — 2.

Method: Cook the white millet with 3 cups of water in a pressure cooker. When cool, mix curds and season with mustard and red chillies. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Yellow millet dosa 

Ingredients: Urad dal — 1 cup; Yellow millet — 3 cups; Methi — ¼ tsp.
Method: Soak the grains for eight hours. Grind and ferment overnight. Prepare dosas and serve with dal chutney. Millets can also be used to make upma, porridge and idlis.

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