The Kernel of Life: Cooking with Millets
Have you been waiting for an opportunity to introduce your family to a wholesome and nutritious diet? Then wait no more and join the workshop on How to cook with Millets!
Started 4 months ago by co-founders, Misha Gill and Namukyny, HappyHealthyMe is India’s first 100% certified organic food brand and grocery store. Situated in Indiranagar, products at the store are locally sourced and curated to promote health consciousness within the city. Stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables, organic grains and spices, cutlery and personal products, HappyHealthyMe is also an inclusive community of people who love to eat well, feel good and live wholesome. The store is also designed with a full-fledged cooking station at its entrance to promote cookery workshops. Consumed since prehistoric times, millets are known to originate in Ethiopia, North Africa. Millets are round in shape, tiny in size and can vary from white, gray, yellow and red colours. Millets contain a good source of important nutrients such as copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium which provide abundant health benefits such as prevention of heart-related diseases, diabetes, cancer and asthma.
“Millets are plant based food that cause least imbalances in the body. Millets provide wholesome nutrition that aids health and prevents the onset of lifestyle diseases,” says Dr. Achyuthan Eswar, naturopathy and yoga physician.
Facilitated by executive chef, Sivaram, the workshop was conducted in Hindi/Kannada. Participants witnessed how to cook a variety of dishes with different kinds of millets such as barnyard, foxtail, little and kodo millets. The difference between each of the millets is their nutritional content.Out of the items to be cooked in the workshop, millets in the bisi bele bath and spinach pulao were boiled like rice with additional spices and vegetables. The water consistency in the bisi bele bath was comparatively more to that of the spinach pulao to give it a creamy texture. The millet salad also contained a certain amount of boiled millets mixed with fresh veggies and seasoning.
To prepare ragi and jowar roti, chef Sivaram used the same methodology to prepare chapatti. The flour powder was mixed with water to create a mould which can be rolled into smaller pieces and heated over the tava. To prepare millet idli, the millets were soaked in water overnight and used to make a batter. This batter was later poured into oven moulds and steamed to give the idlis a fluffy texture. Depending on the proportions of the flour and consistency, the batter can be used to make a variety of dosas as well. And for dessert, millets for the payasam was boiled and mixed with jaggery, milk and dry fruits. “Millets used to be the biggest agricultural produce of the country put together. As the pressure on rice increased as the staple food, the production in millets decreased. This led to nutritional imbalance because of lack of holistic food and changes in agricultural practises. The use of millets not only enhances quality of life but also aids additional resources to the farmer for fodder and tillage. Some varieties also require less water making it ecologically viable,” says ecologist, Roshini. V.