Although there are different varieties of millet grown around the world, the most common cultivar is Pennisetum glaucum, also known as pearl millet. In terms of history, millet likely originated in Africa but then spread through Asia and the Middle East as early as 10,000 years ago. Its reliability to survive in harsh conditions made it a perfect crop and is still preferred for one of that reason today.
India cultivates over 8 million tons of these grains every year, followed by Africa and China. It is a very good source of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that can significantly boost human health in various ways. It is receiving additional attention in recent years, as Celiac disease seems to be a larger and well-known condition. Millet is gluten-free, so Celiac sufferers can turn to it as their source of grains, instead of wheat. In terms of basic food staples that are praised as the simplest and most valuable additions to diets around the world, millet provides the most energy, as well as the most fat and vitamin-B.
Millet is one of the best possible grains to add to your diet if you want to protect your heart. It is a rich source of magnesium, which is an important mineral for reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Controls Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol levels go hand-in-hand with heart health, so the high fiber levels in millet make for an ideal cholesterol-lowering approach.
My preparations dedicated to this wonderful cereal include a smoothie, salad, a main and a dessert:
Pearl millet (ragi) flour : 3 tbsp
Almond flour : 2 tbsp
Full fat milk : 250 ml
Brown Sugar : 25 gm
Toasted almond flakes : 1 tbsp
- Bring the milk to a boil and sieve in ragi flour and almond flour and whisk briskly till dissolved.
- Add sugar to dissolve.
- Serve garnished and topped with almond flakes.
Millet couscous salad.
Foxtail millet : 100 gm
Bell peppers diced (assorted): 15 gm
Zucchini diced : 15 gm
Broccoli florets : 15 gm
Cherry tomatoes (quartered) : 15 gm
Lemon juice : 5 ml
Olive oil : 25 ml
Vegetable stock : 200 ml
Salt : as required
Cayenne pepper : ½ tsp
- Wash the millet grains and keep soaked for about 30 min.
- Take 10 ml of olive oil in a saucepan and warm up. Add the broccoli florets, then zucchini and lastly bell pepper. Saute till slightly crisp and partially cooked. Add cherry tomatoes last and take off the heat.
- Add vegetable stock in the same pan and bring to boil. Add salt and cayenne. Simmer.
- Drain the millet and add into the simmering stock. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and keep on a slow heat for 5 min.
- Turn of the heat. Open the lid of the pan and add the sautéed vegetables. Place the lid on and allow to steam for 5 more minutes till all the moisture is absorbed.
- Prepare a dressing with the remaining oil and lemon juice. Pour in the dressing and fluff up the grains.
- Chill the same and serve cold as a salad.
Saffron millet risotto with asparagus tempura.
For the risotto:
- Pearl millet grain 50 gm
- Butter 20 gm
- Onion (chopped) 5 gm
- Saffron strands ¼ th gm
- Vegetable stock 100-150 ml
- Salt as required
- Parmesan (grated) 1 tbsp
- Asparagus spears (baby) 4 nos
- Corn starch 1 tbsp
- Flour 1 tsp
- Ice water 1 tbsp
- Egg white 1 no.
- Soak the millet grains in water for 15 minutes after rinsing free of dust.
- Keep the stock to boil. Warm up the saffron on a flat pan and warm gently for 2-3 minutes to toast. Add the strands to the simmering stock and simmer together.
- Warm up a sauce pan and add half of the butter and melt. Add the onion and sweat till translucent.
- Add the rinsed and strained millet grains and continue to saute for 3-4 minutes. Gradually add stock a ladle at a time till all the stock is absorbed and the risotto is a mushy and soft. Add salt to correct seasoning. Add the remaining butter and parmesan. Serve hot.
- To make the tempura, heat up the oil in a pan till it is smoking hot. Prepare a batter using egg white, flour, corn flour (keep a teaspoon aside) and salt.
- Coat the asparagus spears in the remaining corn starch and dip in the batter.
- Deep fry when the oil is smoking hot for about 1-2 minutes till crisp.
- Serve the crispy asparagus tips alongside the millet risotto.
- Ragi flour (millet) : 100 gm
- Sesame seeds (white) : 1 tsp
- Sesame seeds (black) : 1 tsp
- Coconut (dessicated) : 2 tbsp
- Almond powder : 1 tsp
- Jaggery : 50 gm
- Water : 100 ml
- Ghee : 2 tbsp
- Cardamom (powdered) : 1 gm
- Dissolve the jaggery in water and bring to boil and reduce to half. Add half of the ghee and heat.
- In a separate pan, dry roast the ragi on a very low heat till cooked (the raw aroma disappears) and keep aside.
- In the same pan, add the sesame seeds, half of the dry coconut and dry roast till it is roasted. Grind to a fine powder. Combine the ragi flour and jiggery mixture.
- Roll into balls and coat with the remaining coconut mixture and the lodoo’s are ready.
Serve at a room temperature.