Millet is one of the oldest human foods and believed to be the first domesticated cereal grain. There is evidence that millet was grown during the Stone Age by lake dwellers in Switzerland and was eaten in Northern Europe at least since the Iron Age.
Has the grain disappeared from our palettes over time, with food easier to cook and digest replacing it? Maybe those amongst us asking this question are just worry warts who don’t move on with the times. The new moral brigade that looks down upon French Fries and burgers, after having spent their teenage years and 20’s gorging on them. But there is an answer to those who accuse us of being healthy merely because it suddenly seems stylish to be. Alternatives to wheat and rice are not just healthier. They also widen our palette and introduce us to new tastes we didn’t know existed. For us, who don’t know of a staple beyond rice down South, the wonders we can do with millet and the South Indian panorama of flavours is a discovery. Yes, your succulent Pongal and solid Sambar Rice can taste equally good with Millet!
Here’s a beverage we made using organic pearl millet (Kambu in Tamil) to beat the summer.
Kambu/ Pearl millet koozh / porridge:
- Organic pearl millet – 1 cup
- Water – 3 cups
- Green chilly – 1 small
- Ginger – 1/4 inch piece (peeled)
- Asafoetida / Hing – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Coriander leaves -for garnish
- Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Fresh curds – 2 cups
Rinse 1 cup millet of your choice (fox tail, pearl) in water and pressure adding 3 cups of water for 3 whistles. Once done, set aside to cool. In a blender, add green chilly, ginger, curds, salt and water and blend together. Pour this through a strainer and separate the green chillies and ginger pieces. What you need is the spice from the chillies and flavour from the ginger. The spiced buttermilk is now ready.
Mix the cooked milletts with the spiced buttermilk in the consistency you wish. I prefer it slightly thick. Temper with mustard and some asafoetida /hing. Garnish with coriander leaves and maybe a few drops of vadu maanga (tender mango pickle in spice and brine) juice.
Tip: This can be substitute a heavy duty lunch because of the nutritional value. You can have a chilled carrot and raw mango salad and/or vadu maanga pickle to get that extra kick!
Sip on this healthy cooler and beat the heat! Eat organic and save the planet!