Different types and benefits of Millets

MIllets are ancient grains that have been used as staple grains similar to rice and wheat. They have numerous health benefits and are a palatable option for some people who look for alternatives from rice and wheat. Cooking properties of millets vary, and some can only be specifically used after a fermentation process. Since they are high in fiber, phytonutrients, and micro nutrients they need to be pre-soaked or pressure cooked for most recipes. 

1. Sorghum — is a great quick snack you can even air-pop to have a healthy popcorn. There are two different types red and white grain variations, white is commonly prevalent in recipes than red.

2. Pearl Millet (Kambu) — has a thick outer husk which has a slight sour taste which can be made more palatable by pre-soaking and grinding to ferment at least 7–8 hours. This is a great grain to make crepes or dosai.

3. Foxtail Millet (Thinai)— always compared to and confused with quinoa. Nutrition profile varies slightly but quite similar to quinoa by being a “protein power house”. Also has a unique nutty flavor profile, once pre-cooked can be added to complement salads.

4. Finger Millet (Ragi)— one of the first baby foods introduced during complementary feeding as a porridge, and great morning breakfast meal to start the day with a calcium boost.

5. Proso Millet — looks similar to couscous, can be supplemented for rice in many recipes and casseroles.

6. Little Millet (Samai)— as the name states the grains are small in size and can be manipulated easily in recipes due to less amount of fiber/husk.

7. Barnyard Millet (Kuthiraivali)— tastes great as a morning porridge when cooked with milk, and quick boost high in fiber for those mornings where you need something to keep you sustained for a long time during the work day.

8. Kodo Millet (Varagu)— similar in cooking properties to proso and little millet can be used in many recipes as a substitute that is high in fiber. These 3 millets require a pre-soaking time of at least 3–5 hours to reach palatable taste levels.