One indigenous ingredient that is packed with immense healthy properties and antioxidants, and has finally got its due is the rich grain — Millets or ‘Siridhanya’. Chefs are trying to up the quotient of the versatile millet. Not happy with just preparing millet khichdi, they are finding its place in the most appealing of dishes.
Speaking of some popular millet dishes at his restaurant, Chef Prem K Pogakula, Executive Chef, The Imperial, New Delhi says, “My favourite millet dish is upma, in which I use Kodo Millet, cook it with mustard, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, green chillies, curry powder and add lots of vegetables.”
Well, that’s not enough as chef Prem has also introduced millet pizza bases, which have been popular with his guests. “Our aim was to try and replace rice and wheat with healthier options while maintaining the original flavour and taste of the dish,” he says.
Surging ahead with incessant efforts towards offering healthy and sustainable food, Chef Shamsul Wahid, Group Executive Chef of Social and Smoke House Deli, loves to experiment with all kinds of millets. One of his best sellers is Millet Risotto in which he has substituted Arborio rice with millets. “With millets, I realised that the risotto does not need any butter or cream since the grains render a smooth and creamy texture and also the flavour of mushroom is better.”
Chef Shyam Dhar Rai, Culinary Designer at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity confesses that he is in love with millets. These days his passion is to rustle up dishes with the forgotten grains of India. One of his favourites is Kodo Millet Salad with citrus fruits and fresh greens from the in-house garden, served with maple and balsamic dressing.
So, the next time you have a bite of ragi nachos and Moroccan-inspired Vegetable Tagine with millets, you know that world cuisine is being recreated with our grains and that’s really hearty news!
The author writes on food and travel among other things.