By Kamakshi Ganesh
As a self proclaimed carb enthusiast, I find it very difficult to follow any of the fad diets that eliminate rice and bread in its entirety from my meals. However, as tempting as pizza or biriyani might be, the responsible adult in me recognizes that I need to be making healthier choices. Enter Millets!
Millets are by no means, a millennial trend. They’ve been around for generations before us and were a staple in most of our grandparent’s homes. Dishes like Ragi Dosa, kodo millet khichdi, bajra roti, jowar upma are something that has been consumed by Indian households for many decades now. But it’s a common misconception that millets can be used only in traditional recipes. Simply put – millets are healthier alternatives for refined white rice and flour. This means almost any recipe that typically uses rice or wheat flour or maida can be substituted with millets and millet flour.
The reason why millets are the healthier alternative is because they are packed with a higher percentage of fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than their refined counterparts. This makes them the go-to choice for weight loss as well as to fight diabetes and prevent risk of heart disease.
Here are some easy ways to include millets in your daily diets :
1. Millet Pancakes for breakfast
Millet cereal for breakfast is not an uncommon sight. But millet pancakes are an easy and delicious way to get all the goodness of millets. Slurrp Farm’s millet pancakes are made of jowar, foxtail millets and oats. They come in a whole range of flavors and they are super easy to whip up for breakfast. All you need to do is mix the powdered pancake mix with some milk and butter or eggs.
2. Millet for meals – pizzas
You read that right. In place of all purpose flour, millet flour can be used and the crust can be made with millets as well. Foxtail millets or kodo millets or a mixture of both can be used for the pizza base and crust. Top it up with your choice of vegetables / meat and you have yourself a healthier, gluten-free option which can be enjoyed completely guilt-free with all the goodness of millet nutrition.
3. Millet for meals – biriyani
Millet biriyani is a healthier take on our beloved basmati rice biriyani. It packs in all the flavors of the typical regular biriyani but again, it’s a healthier option. Little millets can be used almost exactly like rice. Barnyard millets can also be used in this recipe.
Essentially any recipe with rice like pulav, lemon rice, tomato rice or even bisibelabath can be made with millets. These meals will be more filling – because of the high fibre content – and also more nutritious.
4. Millet based snacks
Millet snacks are another easy way to introduce the goodness of millet nutrition into one’s diet in a simple way. A large number of baked healthy snacks can be made with them. Baked ragi chakli or ragi murruku is a healthier version of a beloved tea time snack. Even popular chaat items like bhel puri can be made with sprouted ragi instead of puffed rice. These are quick and effective ways to introduce millets into your family’s meal plans.
5. Millets in salads
The West is infatuated with quinoa salads and with good reason. Millets can also be substituted in place of quinoa in a lot of salad recipes. Millets have a great texture when cooked. They work great with spinach and other greens or even as a Mediterranean style with chickpeas and cherry tomatoes. Make sure to not add too much water while cooking the millets so that they retain their chewy texture.