Indulge guilt-free, gluten-free, and vegan in this simple and easy-to-make dish with millets.
Chitranna is the term that usually refers to flavoured and tempered rice most often with lemon juice, occasionally other things like raw mango when in season, but is versatile enough to be made in a number of other ways, even using grains like poha, semolina, bulghur, or quinoa, for that matter.
The lemon juice preserves the rice (or grain) for longer, so it is also a popular choice as a packed snack or meal. Besides the other reason that it’s quite simply delicious.
Are you planning to make your own mix version like I did for the next time?! So easy.
Or just use any single millet.
So here goes –
Millet (mixed or single variety) – 1 cup, preferably soaked for at least a couple of hours or more. Lightly roasting the grains before use will increase the pleasant “nutty” flavour. (I skipped both these steps this time, but well recommended.)
Lemon juice – freshly squeezed from one large lemon
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Fresh coriander – a handful, finely chopped
Roasted peanuts or Cashewnuts – 2-3 tablespoons (optional)
Cold-pressed, organic cooking oil (or Ghee, if not vegan) – 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves – a sprig
Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds – 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
Asafoetida – a pinch (optional)
Split, husked black gram – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Bengal gram – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Dried Red Chillies – 1-2, broken up(or to taste, optional)
Fresh green chilly – 1 split vertically into half (optional, I left this out)
Rinse and pressure cook the millet in twice the volume of water for two whistles or till done. Or cook any other way, as you would with rice.
Note: Don’t do what I did (which is, to direct-cook in a small pressure cooker!) Cooking this inside a lidded container within the (larger) pressure cooker (as with daliya/bulghur) would work better, as millets tend to froth and clog the vents.
Done. ‘Al dente’ or soft, as desired!
Next, mix the salt, turmeric and lemon juice together,
– and then mix thoroughly with the cooked millets.
Heat the teaspoon of oil/ghee in a wok or pan, add the tempering ingredients, first the dry ingredients, (including peanuts or cashewnuts, if using)
then the red chillies towards the end, next the green chillies, if using, and finally the curry leaves.
Turn off the flames when the spluttering slows down. Add in the flavoured, cooked millet.
Alternatively, this bit can be made in a tempering-ladle and poured onto the millet.
in it all goes.
Add the finely chopped coriander.
A good mix.
And it’s ready to serve!
One might be forgiven for wondering if it’s too good to be true!