Millets - The Hottest New Culinary Ingredient

Healthy and versatile, millets have been staple food of our ancestors. The cultivation of millets in India, dates back to pre-historic times and can be easily grown in regions of low rainfall. India is one of the leading countries in the world the production of sorghum (jowar) with major cultivation in regions of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Though an an integral part of our ancestors food habits, millets were slowly forgotten with the rising popularity of white rice, processed food and a shift towards choosing convenience over health.

With ailments like obesity, diabetes, cholesterol more on the rise and a conscious move towards healthier and traditional ingredients, these nutrient rich grains are back in limelight. From home cooked meals to high end restaurant menus, millets are the new hip ingredient. With multiple health benefits, millets are more than just a temporary fad and are slowly regaining their popularity around the world as the hottest new culinary ingredient.

Pearl Millet (Bajra)

Millets are rich in calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and other nutrients and are a good source of protein and dietary fiber. According to research regular consumption of millets, helps protect heart health, regulate blood pressure, prevents diabetes and more. From health conscious millenials to weight watchers and from specialty gourmet stores to the humble bania, millets are everywhere. Lets look at a few millets and get to know them better:

Pearl Millet: (Hindi: Bajra) (Tamil: Kambu) (Kannada: Sajje) (Telugu: Sajjalu) (Malayalam: Kambam)

Sorghum: (Hindi: Jowar) (Tamil: Cholam) (Kannada: Jola) (Telugu: Jonna) (Malayalam: Cholam)

Finger Millet: (Hindi: Nachani/Mundua) (Tamil: Kezhvaragu) (Kannada: Ragi) (Telugu: Ragula) (Malayalam: Panji Pullu)

Foxtail Millet: (Hindi: Kangni/Rala) (Tamil: Thinai) (Kannada: Navane) (Telugu: Korra) (Malayalam: Thina)

Kodo Millet: (Hindi: Koden/Kodra) (Tamil: Varagu) (Kannada: Harka) (Telugu: Arikelu) (Malayalam: Koovaragu)

We spoke to Chef Paul Kinny about millets and this is what he had to say, "There is a decided shift in the restaurant world from processed to ‘real’ food – unprocessed and organic. Once considered a poor man’s staple, millets are now finding their way into restaurants which are serving millet-based menus. Consuming millets means eating organic. Forgotten grains like ragi (finger millet), jowar (sorghum) and bajra (pearl millet) are being rediscovered at the leading restaurants as there is an increased section of customers who are now looking for healthier options to carbohydrates. Millets are also a good alternative for people who are gluten intolerant. When we started building 212 All Good, we made ourselves a promise – everything that goes into the plate has to be good for you. The Adzuki Bean & Millet Burger is something that ticks all the boxes.
The Adzuki Bean & Millet Burger At 212 All Good

A vegan & gluten-free version of the world’s favorite comfort food, the burger patty is a combination of fiber-rich adzuki beans & millets. Packed with minerals and proteins, the adzuki beans are well known for their heart-health properties. Topped with a vegan tofu mayo, some honey-coriander dressing and pickled beetroot spirals, this gluten-free burger is served with a side salad of micro greens and an assortment of vitamin A, C & D rich red sweet potato and arbi aka yam fries.”

There is also a major shift in the way millets are consumed and now adapted in global recipes to suit a wider palate. Previously used to make rotis (jowar, bajra or ragi) or dosas (ragi), restaurants are experimenting by making pizza base and breads with millet flour, salads, creamy risottos, pancakes, desserts and more. A few restaurants have started creating a wholesome menu with millets and offer a variety of meals that cover breakfast, lunch and dinner, while food delivery start ups are offering millets based dishes to cater to increasing demand.

By cooking and consuming millets, we are doing a lot more than indulging in an healthy ingredient. We are championing the cause of bringing back local ingredients and re-discovering our roots. 

Here is an easy Millet recipe to indulge in:

Healthy Foxtail Millet With Lemon.

Makes: 3 Servings
Time Taken: Approximately 45 mins

  • 1 1/2 cups Foxtail millet
  • 3 cups water
  • Handful of peanuts
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds & white urad dal
  • 2 finely chopped carrots
  • A small piece of finely chopped ginger
  • 8-10 Curry leaves
  • 2-3 finely chopped chilies (as per taste)
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste 
  1. In a pressure cooker, cook washed Foxtail millets with water and let it cool. Once cool, fluff with a fork to separate the grains.
  2. Take a some oil of choice in a kadhai and add mustard seeds and peanuts. Fry for a minute and add urad dal. Fry on slow flame to avoid burning till golden.
  3. Now add ginger, curry leaves and chopped green chilies.
  4. Add chopped carrots and cover the kadhai and cook till carrots are soft but little crunchy.
  5. Add the cooked millet and mix well. Add salt, lemon juice and turmeric powder and give everything a good mix.
  6. Cook for couple of minutes and serve garnished with chopped coriander.

This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest hosted by FashionableFoodz in association with Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest, FashionableFoodz or Godrej is not responsible for any infringement caused. #GodrejFoodTrends2018Contest  #GFTR2018


  1. I am always hunting for good tiffin recipes! Will definitely try this

  2. I'm incredibly excited to have stumbled upon this blog post all about millets! It seems like they're the newest and most popular culinary ingredient right now, and I wholeheartedly agree. Millets are a game-changer when it comes to adding variety and nutrition to our meals.
    Recently, I've started incorporating millets into my diet, and the results have been astonishing. Not only are they free of gluten and filled with essential nutrients, but they also possess a distinct, nutty flavor that adds richness to any dish. The possibilities with millets are limitless, from savory millet salads to delightful millet porridge.
    What really impresses me about millets is their versatility. They can be utilized in both sweet and savory recipes, allowing me to experiment and create exciting new dishes. Additionally, their sustainable nature makes them an ideal choice for those who prioritize the environment and sustainable food options.
    Thank you for bringing attention to this remarkable culinary gem. Millets have undoubtedly become a must-have in my kitchen, and I eagerly anticipate exploring more recipes featuring millets. Keep up the fantastic work!

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