Not only do they act as better substitutes to staples such as rice and wheat, but also add ‘healthy’ to your daily diet. Yes, we are talking about millets. These gluten-free grains offer a host of benefits – from being easy to digest to a rich source of essential amino acids and nutrients. The millet family includes seeds such as jowar, bajra, ragi, foxtail, etc.
Ishita Biswas, Nutritionist at Pristine Organics says, “Millets are storehouses of nutrients and have a very high amylose content. Hence, millets have a low Glycemic Index (ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels) compared to most other cereals. Consuming millets lowers blood glucose levels, improves insulin response and increases satiety.” Apart from having a good amount of nutrients, they are also rich in vitamin B, iron, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, magnesium and a combination of good fats. Summing up the many benefits of millets, she says, “If diabetes, weight loss, heart health or just a bored palate are your concerns, millets should be your go-to ingredients for meals.”
However, she warns, “Note that high processing of millets will not necessarily provide health benefits.” She says that the consumption of millets such as Foxtail, Little, Kodo, Proso and Barnyard without hulling provides anti-nutritional properties like phytates, known for reducing the absorption of minerals from a meal. While millets may seem to be a saving grace, complete dependence on one food could lead to deficiencies of other vital nutrients, she adds. Therefore, it is important that along with a good mix of millets, you also include other grains, fruits and vegetables for a healthy balanced diet. To help you make the most of millets, here are four recipes by nutritionist Ishita Biswas:
Barnyard Dosa for Monday
730g Barnyard millet rice
250g Black gram dhal
20g Fenugreek seeds
Salt, as required
1. Soak barnyard millet rice and black gram dal separately for four hours. Grind into fine batter.
2. Add salt, mix evenly and allow it to ferment overnight.
3. Apply oil on the hot plate and using a spoon, pour some batter onto it. Cook till the dosa gets crisp.
4. Serve hot with chutney.
MM Crackers for Tuesday
500g Mixed millet flour
500g wheat flour
1. Add salt and water to the flour and knead into soft dough.
2. Make small round balls (30 g) and roll into sheets
3. Toast the sheets on a pre-heated pan and press with a dry cloth. Don’t forget to turn frequently.
4. Top with your favourite spices.
Chia, Flax Seed and Millet Cookies for Wednesday
1 cup multi millet flour
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1. In a bowl, mix together the multi millet flour, chia seeds, flax seeds (partly crushed), Himalayan rock salt, cinnamon and cardamom powder.
2. In another bowl, mix together the coconut, cold pressed groundnut oil and organic jaggery melted in a quarter cup of water.
3. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Next, combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a wet dough.
4. Take a spoonful of the wet dough and place on the baking tray keeping at least a half-an-inch distance between each cookie. Make sure that the baking tray has been lined with a butter paper or foil.
5. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Remove from the paper after they cool. Check to see if they are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Foxtail Millet Mango Rice for Thursday
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 cup coconut
1/3 cup Cold-pressed groundnut oil
1/2 cup organic jaggery
1 cup Foxtail millet
2 cups water
Raw mango, grated 1 or as per taste
Curry leaves, chillies, mustard seeds, black gram dal, turmeric and asafetida
1. Cook the millet in water and let it cool before mixing the rest of the ingredients.
2. Fry groundnuts in oil, keep aside.
3. Prepare the seasoning.
4. Add grated mango and sauté for a minute.
5. Add the cooked millet and mix.
6. Tangy mango rice is ready. Serve hot.
Lead image: Shutterstock
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