Monday, August 19, 2013

How to Cook Millets-(Varagu arisi-Saamai-Thinai-Kuthiravaali)-Healthy Lunch Menu (Indian)

Millets are gluten free, rich in fiber, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Besides being gluten-free, millets have higher nutritional value than wheat, especially phosphorus and iron. Its fiber content also helps prevent constipation and may reduce the risk of developing bowel disorders. Millets are easy to digest, contain a high amount of lecithin and are excellent for strengthening the nervous system (source-Hindu).They contain complex carbohydrates which breaks down slowly and hence good for diabetic patients.These grains were used in olden days by our ancestors but totally forgotten today.Now a days I have started loving millets so much that I have switched to eating millets thrice a week, so you will be finding lot of millet recipes in this space.The good think about millet is that they can be substituted for rice and wheat in many recipes.I would like to share another interesting thing I read about millet. These crops grow in poorer soils and are highly resistant to pests and diseases. Hence they are usually grown without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.So they are mostly organic by default. I started this blog not only to inspire others to cook but also to bring back our traditional food and also to create an awareness on health among people. It is time we bring back this forgotten grain in our diet.

Millets

Some popular millet varieties

Saamai - Little millet
Varagu -Kodo Millet
Thinai -Foxtail Millet
Kuthiravaali -Barnyard millet
Kezhvaragu-Finger millet
Kambu-Pearl millet

First we will start with the basics on-How to cook millets? before going to Millet recipes. Samai, varagu, kuthiravaali can be cooked in the same manner as below and can be used in the same manner as rice. Foxtail millet/Thinai alone needs to be soaked for one hour.Cooking method is the same as below. 

Ingredients needed 

Millets - samai or varagu or kuthiravaali or thinai - 1 cup
Water -3 cups

1. Clean millets and remove grits if any.

2.Wash and add 3 cups of water and switch on the heat.

how to cook millets

3.When water starts boiling, reduce the heat to low, close it with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.

4.After 10 minutes, switch off the flame and let it sit for 20 minutes. The millets will get cooked fully in that resting time. 

cooking millet

Fluff it with a fork and serve just as you serve rice with sambar, rasam or curd. Just replace rice with millets as shown below.

A very healthy Lunch menu with millets 

Healthy Lunch Menu using millets
Soya Beans Sambar-Cabbage Potato Curry-Curd- Millet (Barnyard millet-Kuthiravalli)
You can reduce the water to 2 1/2 cup for 1 cup of millet for preparing variety rice but personally I prefer 3 cups of water for 1 cup of millets. Once it cools it becomes fluffy and is suitable for any variety rice also.

Note -You can pressure cook millets in the same way as you cook pressure cook rice. For 1 cup of millets, add 2 1/2 -2 3/4 cup of water depending upon your personal preference.

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74 comments:

  1. Thank you padhu... I jus got all these in this month shopping as i simply wanted to use these in my fod intake but was wondering what to do with this? thanks a lot u started to write on Millets:) By the way am learning cooking only from your blog:)

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  2. Lovely and very informative post. I know only kambu,kezhvaragu and thinai and good to know about the other three millets too.

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  3. thanks for a healthy recepie padhu ,ippo than brown rice try panni iruken next will be a kuthiraivali

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  4. Can we cook these in the pressure cooker, if so pls tell me the number of whistles and water measurement. Thanks

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  5. Delicious and lovely looking millets. Very healthy as well.
    Deepa

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  6. Wat an useful and informative post, i love thinai and using it very much.

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  7. very useful.how to differntiate between saamai and varagu?

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  8. Sorry, but i have not heard of these millets or may be they are known by some other names in north India. I am more than eager to include millets in my meals but how do i learn about them ?

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  9. Kamakshi Pande - Happy to know that you want to include millets in your diet. Even if one person changes, I feel happy and satisfied.I got the hindi names for you -Source millets India
    Barnyard millet -Jhangora
    Finger millet - Mandua
    Foxtail Millet - Kangni
    Kodo millet - Kodra
    Little millet - Kutki
    Pearl millet -Bajra
    Sorghum - Jowar

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    1. kindly let me know what is jowar in tamil..

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    2. Hi, I am very much interested using these millets in our daily food, can i have there names in kannada s in live in bangalore. one or two i found in one shop, but would like to buy everything and use it in kanji powder which we have it regurlarly, thank u so much for such good and informative post

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    3. Thanks for the info .cooking tips on kelvaragu and kambu.

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  10. Hey padhu
    Can I use hulled millet formaking millet rice

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  11. Thank u so much.... useful info mam.

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  12. Hi Padhu, thanks for this info.. You have a great blog that I visit often. Can you share where you source varagu and kuthiravali in Bangalore? Thanks.

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  13. Dear Friend thank you so much. After having great effort finally I got all the millet a month before but could not know how to prepare food. Now after seeing your blog I am very happy to proceed to cook myself. Thanks a lot very kind of you.

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  14. Hi Padhu, thanks for your millets recipes. post more recipes.

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  15. Hi Padhu,would you be kind enough to share where you source varagu and kuthiravali in Bangalore? Thanks.

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  16. Priya - I am not in Bangalore but you will get it in all organic food stores in Bangalore. When I can get it in Chennai, why not in Bangalore.I am getting timbaktu organic brands or Parambaryam organic Brand. You will get it online also.

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  17. Thanks Padhu. I thought you live in Bangalore (thought I read it somewhere on your blog). I've found the other varieties of millets but not varagu and kuthiravali. Shall check these brands and see.

    You have a fab blog full of interesting recipes. Whenever I am wondering about any recipe, I quickly come over here and search and voila I find it here. Thanks.

    Love the way you present the food too. Extremely creative.

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  18. Hi Padhu.. I tried cooking foxtail millet with 1:3 water ratio.. I gave nearly 7 to 8 whistles but it was not cooked at all.. The outer skin remained crunchy n in same shape.. Water was not absorbed as well.. Pls help me..

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  19. Meenu -Foxtail millet alone needs to be soaked for 1 hour in hot water. Other millets does not require soaking. If you soak foxtail millets and cook, it gets cooked very well. It is very soft and delicious.Check out my Foxtail millet khichdi

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  20. i just want to know that how to convert ordinary thinai into thinai rice ? plse help me ha i have lot's of thinai as fresh not as a rice what to do ?

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  21. Thank you for ur great info padhu.. I love all ur dishes... Keep on posting... Whether these millets reduce weight..

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  22. thanks for the wonderful post.......how to clean millets?whether there would be dirt in every millet?how to remove it? arisi pudaikkira madhiriya?

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  23. Samba- You have to clean millet just the way you clean rice. But if you buy it from health stores, you do not have that work as the millets are cleaned and then packed. I buy millets from Organic stores.

    Vp - you can use hulled millets also. You get both- with hull and without hull. You can use any variety

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    Replies
    1. hi, thanks for your information, i am in need to finding stores where they sell these millets as flours, please let me know

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  24. hi, it's very useful to me. thank u very much. the kuthiravaal millet increases the hemoglobin. please share it in your fans......

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  25. thank you for valuable information.

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  26. Hi, Suppose thinai is bought like rava texture ..does it still have to be soaked for 2 hours.

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  27. Indirani -If you have bought thinai rava, then it is not necessary to soak for 2 hours. May be 10 minutes is enough.

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  28. thank you for this very useful information...please let me know the tamil name for sorgham...jowar in hindi....so far i know they are sold in powder form and i mix with doas batter and cook...good now i can completely switch over...i was told they cause constipation..but to know they are not am very happy...thanks again

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  29. It will be more helpful if you can indicate how the grains look with and without husk, and if if we need to remove it, and how. For ex, the thinai I bought at nilgiris supermarket is mustard coloured. They say it can be cooked as such. But I feel its with a layer of husk similar to paddy. Pls enlighten. Thanks.

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    1. Rani - You can cook millets with husk and without husk in the same manner. You do not have to remove the husk. For eg- you get varagu with and without husk. The one with husk will have more fiber. That's all. Wash well and cook it in the same manner. The yellow one in the first picture is thinai.

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    2. Hi pads,
      I have a doubt in this,whether we can eat all the millets by cooking it with husk,does not the husk cause any harm to our stomach?

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  30. Valuable information, thank you so much

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  31. Hi
    Your blog is nice and informative. I have a basic doubt. How to clean these millets before cooking? Since they(thinai) are smaller than rice , its getting difficult to rinse with water.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. Yes, they are very tiny. I wash it using a strainer so they do not get washed away with the water. .

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  32. Thank you Padhu for a very useful post. what would be the taste of kudiraivalli/ varagu arisi... would it taste similar with our traditional sambar with rice?

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    1. Not much of a difference. You will get a nutty flavor if you buy it with hull, otherwise I do not find much difference as I have it often with our regular sambar, rasam and curd.

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  33. Dear padma
    I am 62yrs and i am 90 kg Doctors adviced me to take only millets. Which is best Srirangam is very hot place. I hope none if the millets produce lots of heat.Which is the best way to cook like dosa or kichadi.
    I want to use unpolished rice also How to cook that.
    Here i dont get broken what i got sarbhati wheat, how to make broken wheat
    Kindly guide me I am suffering with back pain due to big tummy
    which developed after uterus remonva.
    You just give a miss call or mail your number i will call you my nu
    08807076277

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    Replies
    1. Mail to me at padhusblog@gmail.com I will see, if I can guide you. Unpolished rice is brown rice. Check out How to cook brown rice.

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  34. Thanks for the recipe. Good to start with my millet cooking :)

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  35. hi, thank u for your guideline but i would like to know how to remove the husk for the millet like thinai and cholam at home

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  36. hi padhu am finding difficult to clean pearl milllet,after cleaning it in running water also while eating am finding stones. am buying it in good super market. please guide me how to clean it....

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    1. Subha and Saranya - I buy millets only from health stores. The thinai they give (yellow color) can be cooked as such. Since I buy from health stores,I cook everything after washing. I do know how to remove husk as I buy only cleaned ones as you can see in the first picture above. Varagu alone-we get both white and light brown color and we can cook both as such. Regarding cleaning millets, you have to clean just as you clean and wash rice. If there are stones,I pick it up manually or I use a sieve or strainer to wash the milllet so that the fine sand particles and other small stones get washed off. Hope I have made it clear as I get questions frequently as to how to remove the husk from millet.

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  37. I prepared thaval dosai by samai rice instead of usual rice . It is excellent

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  38. Vijaya - I have given the millets names in Kannada

    Millet names in Kannada

    Little millet -Same
    Finger millet -ragi
    Foxtail millet -navane
    Kudo millet -Harka
    Pearl millet -sajje
    Sorghum - Jola
    Proso millet - baragu

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  39. Thank you for your relevent information about our healthy old foods , i am very happy . you pls provide information regarding how to get this millets.

    Mahesh kumar

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  40. Hi Ms. Padma
    Your blog is simple, elegant and socially very essential with dependable information presented aesthetically from entirely your own inputs thanks to your all-rounded creativity. Be it so, my first stop for any culinary consultation is your website. My request is that you may expand this blog or start a new blog sharing your skills and experiences in ORGANIC kitchen gardening. Hope you find time.
    On another aspect, some of your fans here have wanted to know how to dehull foxtail millet (thinai). One may soak it with little water just to wet it sumptuously (in tamil called "pesari vekkirathu"). After 15 20 minutes, put in a mixie jar and using WHIPPER mode pulse-run a few times until you feel the husk has considerably be removed by visual inspection. Then use a winnow (tamil"muram") and shake-separate the lighter husk out very much like grandmas used to do with flattened rice ie "aval" (in tamil "kozhikkirathu and pudaikkirathu"). Repeated exercises from step 1 may be needed for a thorough job if preferred. One can also pour water and remove husk by floatation technique. I have done this successfully with thinai.

    Thanks to your efforts and this information age is made productive only through such untiring interest in sharing knowledge by people of your ilk. Keep it up and Best wishes.

    Regards
    Prof. Dr Ravichandran

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  41. hai padhu pls post some millets ready mix recipes its very useful forpeople like me. pls consider my request

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  42. Hi, am a great follower of your blog. I refer to your recipes almost everyday.ur recipe on thinai adai is a classic. I just wanted share a recipe with bajra/kambu. Its kambu dosai and for this you need the proportion is 8portions of kambu: 1 portion of urad dal: 1tsp fenugreek : 1portion of boiled rice. The rest of the process is exactly how dosai batter is made.
    U are doing a great job indeed!!

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    1. Thank you very much for liking my blog and recipes Akila.Refer my
      Easy Kambu/Bajra dosa recipe.

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  43. where can i get these kambu,thinai,varagu and kudhiraivali in chennai?
    can you specify any specific departmental store?

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  44. good posting about the millets,but for beginners why don't you throw light on identifying those millets!!!

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  45. mam, when i prepared thinai porridge, it was well cooked but the outer grain like layer was very crunchy, seems like not cooked well. how to overcome this problem.

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    1. My apologies for the late reply. I had been on a vacation to UK. Try dry roasting thinai until it is hot to touch. Then cook as usual.

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    2. hi padhu , i love ur presentation very neat one.
      Clarify my doubt pls. thinai need soaking ? cant we cooking with out soaking????

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  46. Hi Padhu,
    As a beginner cook, I refer to your recipes mostly. You have done an amazing job. I first read about the word millets in your site. For the current generation, it is a word that is never heard of. Since then, I did a lot of research on millets and for the past 9 months, me and my husband have been having millets instead of rice. I advocated it to all my friends and I was overwhelmed by the benefits that I even thought of writing a research paper.
    However, I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroid and I read that millets slow down thyroid activity. In fact, millets is a strict no-no for thyroid patients.I request you to please highlight this in ur web page in BOLD so that people who are switching partially/fully to a millet diet will make informed choices. Millet consumption will worsen thyroid condition and should be consumed in moderate quantities. People who are wanting to lose weight by switching to millets will actually gain weight if they have hypothyroid.I am only writing this because your site has a large following and better reach. Keep inspiring people!!! Thank you so much for ur amazing and simple recipes...

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  47. Hi padu i have panivaragu can u tel me how to cook

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  48. Can we add samai and varagu arisi with sathu maavu ingredients. Pls help me

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    1. Kala - you can cook panivaragu also in the same manner.

      Sridevi -Do not add .Today I made sathu maavu - I will post that recipe soon. I drink only that sathu maavu kanji everyday.

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    2. Thank u. Thanks a lot. Awaiting for ur recipe

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  49. hi I prepared idiyappam flour as u said but after some time it became rotten why like that ...

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    1. Kala - there is nothing wrong with the recipe as I have just ask to soak raw rice for few hours, drain and dry on a cloth. Then grind it to a fine powder and roast it. You would not have roasted properly. If there is moisture in the flour, it will get spoiled. Even after roasting, you have to spread it in a plate to cool and then only store it.

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  50. Hi Padhu, your recipes are great. BTW, I have these millets shipped here(US) in the form of powder.. can I use them instantly ( without soaking for 5-6 hours) for making idlis just like rava idlis( 30 mins) ?

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  51. hi padhu... how r u.i am a great follower of your blog. plz tell me how to prepare kozhukattai with raw kelvaragu....

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  52. Thanks a lot for the receipe. I bought these millets 15 days ago and am wondering how to prepare. I asked my wife to learn from neighbours. However, I got these now to prepare. I will come back once I prepare and eat for feedback.

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