Millet Magic

Sometime back I was asked to compose a brief write up about traditional grains that are re-entering our daily intake in various forms of fads. To begin, I met with a very amiable nutritionist at a notable gym who soon became quite friendly. We talked about many things including the rising levels of type 2 diabetes, increasing numbers of biryani points, local spas, Wednesday farmer’s market, vegetable juicing and finally millets. She profusely advocated the substitution of rice and wheat with millets as a staple and invited me to give it a go. Before leaving she handed me a little cookbook of easy millet recipes. A few web searches later the write up was finished and submitted. That all done and over with and the cookbook found its way at the bottom of a donation box.

An excerpt from that article

Nuzzling next to the daily bakery essentials, the multi grain bread solicits your better, smarter, urbane sensibilities. Multigrain or multiple grain products are composed of more than one major ingredient from the cereal group. Anything from ragi, barley, oats, corn, soya, millets, sunflower and sesame seeds find their way into the multigrain products. From Aashirwaad and Pilsbury flours becoming multigrained to Maggi introducing a multigrain instant noodle packet, every company is trying to make a buck out a newly health conscious population. There are multigrain pizza bases, cookies, cake powders, candies, granola, muesli, crackers, savory snacks and takeaways. Nestle has even introduced a multigrain baby cereal. 

Dehulled, polished rice and refined wheat, a staple of an urban lifestyle are depleted in fibers, proteins, calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins and micronutrients. Fiber or roughage is especially essential for the health of the digestive system and is most missing in our modern day diets. Inadequacy in any of these lead to deficiency, ill health or malaise. Grains in their coarse and unprocessed forms on the other hand pack in extra nutrition, good fats and proteins .  

 Multigrain products use permutations of whole wheat, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, linseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, onion seeds, spelt, rye, ragi, sorghum, millets, soya, corn or their derivatives.  It was part of local customs to eat with the seasons, always sowing the crop best suited for that part of the year……

and finally….

(to be able to buy it off a shelf) … Many people find it convenient, time saving and a guilt salvaging antidote for a sedentary lifestyle.

Couple of weeks ago among a circle of friends with revolutionary ideas, the millets issue resurfaced. Something that had appeared more like a roving fad a year back was now gushing forth with such vigor. The ladies raved and ranted about its goodness over social media and went into a frenzy of experimentations. Drawn into all this with my own penchant of the exotic, I dove in wanting to finding out more about this thing called millet, which is not grain…

What are millets:

Wiki has it as “small seed grasses grown around the world for animal or human consumption”. It can be  bought in the whole, flour, rice form or as small spaghettis. millets:

History of Millets introduction into Human diet:

Millets were first discovered by hunter and gatherers in China and Sudan during the stone ages around 4500BC, then through Sumer and Persia it found its way to Rome and Greece. The Egyptians were making beer fermented millet bread just like it is today and the Harappans of ancient India make flat pita breads. By 200B.C, the Chinese had a special ceremonial millet wine while the rest of the middle age Europe thrived largely on a millet diet. Up until 1200 A.D, millet was a stable diet in many civilizations totally independent of each other.  Makes you wonder what happened to it since…

The Types :

Finger Millet,

Banyard millet

Proso Millet

Little Millet,

Pearl Millet

Benefits of Millets:

  • high in complex carbohydrates and proteins which is great for energy production and weight loss.
  • Proteins aid the body in tissue repair and production of antibodies to fight sickness or infection.
  • Copper and iron, essential fatty acids, B vitamins and starch enriches its nutritive value.
  • Magnesium helps build strong bones and teeth and in metabolism.
  • Fiber is important in regulating the body and maintaining a healthy colon.

One of my first tries,

Foxtail Millets




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