In the past year, I noticed a lot of people were making a switch to millets in place of rice. Hard-core rice eaters like my father alternated his rice consumption with millets.
I saw millets in mixed rice, porridge, dessert and even steamed cake versions. It was a force to be reckoned with. I did a bit of reading to find out what the fuss was all about. I was stumped! Millets besides being one of the oldest and inexpensive cereals available, comes with a host of health benefits.
To list a few, it is high in fibre, iron, calcium and B vitamins and protein. It is also favoured by many for its slow release of sugar making it perfect for those watching their sugar intake and on a low GI diet. As a huge plus, this is gluten free and easy on the tummy.
How could I not give it a go? I asked my father for recipes, and in my recent visit to India, I was treated to a plate of yummy yoghurt rice with millet as the base and it was served with gorgeously spicy pickles. It was instant love. Surprisingly, it tasted so much like rice and in the interest of full disclosure, much better too!
This creamy delight is light, delicious, family friendly and easy to make.
Thinai/ foxtail millet – 1 cup
Yoghurt – 1 cup
Milk – ½ cup
Carrot – 1, peeled and finely chopped
Cucumber (optional) – 1 peeled and chopped
Salt – To taste
Water – 4 cups
Mustard seeds – 1 tspn.
Broken urad dal – ½ tspn.
Red chilli – As much you’d like.
Oil – ½ tblspn.
Wash the millets thoroughly. Allow it to soak for about 15 minutes.
Transfer the soaked millets into a cooker.
Pour the water.
Pressure cook for 4 whistles.
Alternatively, you could cook the soaked millets in a pot.
Bring the millets to a boil, simmer until it is al dante or mashable. The consistency is a personal preference. I like mine mashed and creamy.
Once done, transfer to a mixing bowl. Add yoghurt, milk, salt and chopped carrots & cucumber.
Combine to mix well.
Adjust the salt quantity at this stage. Keep aside.
To temper, heat oil in a small pan.
Add mustard seeds and let it crackle. Follow it up by adding the broken urad dal. Gently stir until the dal is golden.
Remove the pan from the flame and pour the tempered mixture into the mixed yoghurt rice.
Give it a good mix and serve chilled or in room temperature.
- I have used foxtail millet because that is the variant I had in my pantry. There are other varieties, which you could opt instead of this one.
- The vegetables I have used are just indicators of combinations that could work. You could add halved grapes, chopped onions, chopped raw mango pieces, pomegranate and the choices are endless.
- I normally add chopped green chilli for a bit of a kick you could do so if you like that spicy flavour.
- If you intend to pack this for lunch, then add a little bit more milk so the yoghurt rice doesn’t turn clumpy.
- Tempering is to give the yoghurt rice some texture. It gives the nuttiness and a crunchy flavour as you take each morsel of the creamy dish. You could however totally skip the tempering if you wish.
- For those in Australia, check your Indian or Asian grocers for foxtail millet.