A meal in itself.
Foxtail millet which is known in Andhra by various names like Korralu, Korra Annamu, Korra biyamu, is also sometimes used as a substitute for rice, especially in rural communities.
Given it’s delicious, nutty flavour, great texture, and nutritive value, it should be used more often than it is.
Thanks to a resurgence of sorts in the organic and health-food space, millets are making a comeback into our food culture. Livemint asks: What’s your millet mojo?
According to “Bhoole Bisre Anaj”, a publication by Navadanya, which strives to remind us of “forgotten foods”, – ‘millets are so called because many thousands of grains are harvested from each seed sown’. And foxtail millet (Setaria italica), along with several other small millets like finger millet (Eleusine coracana), kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum), proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), barnyard millet (Echinichloa colona), little millet (Panicum sumatrense), Job’s tears (Coix lachryma-jobi) as well as the two major millets, sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and pearl millet (Pennisetum typhoides) ‘are all classified as “coarse cereals”.
Such labeling has degraded their value, even though millets are the most nutritious of all cereals’.
It’s also heartening that they note in it, that “the fact that these crops have withstood the competition from major cereals in the past forty years and are still cultivated in substantial areas is testimony to their resilience, and their importance in local diets”.
It is possible to use many of the other millets listed above (or a mix of similar-sized ones) in place of the foxtail millet for even greater variety, besides the usual wheat-semolina version. The smaller millets can be whole, instead of semolina, but will need more cooking and perhaps more water. Keep hot water handy for consistency adjustments in the final stages.
Foxtail millet semolina – 1 cup
Mixed vegetables (eg. carrots, beans, potaotes, cauliflower) – 1 cup, chopped and steamed/cooked
Onion – 1 finely chopped
Tomatoes – 2 finely chopped
Ghee/Oil – 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Hing (asafoetida) – a pinch (optional)
Green chillies – 2, slit/chopped
Whole, dried, red chillies – (optional) 2, broken
Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Urad/Black gram dal (husked, split) – 1/2 teaspoon
Chana/Bengal gram dal (split) – 1/2 teaspoon
Ginger – 1 inch piece grated/julienned
Curry leaves – 1-2 sprigs
Fresh coriander – 2-3 tablespoons, chopped
Salt – to taste
Lemon juice – from 1-2 lemons (to taste)
I used Foxtail millet semolina from Timbaktu organic – one of my favorite co-ops for organic products.
Keep the roasted semolina aside.
When spluttered and browned, add the curry leaves, green chillies (if using) and the chopped onion.
I add the ginger after the onion is browned a bit because the grated version tends to stick to the bottom and get burnt (julienned or chopped is not as tenacious and can be added before the onions).
Some more sauteing (a minute or two). At this stage the aroma is complete!
Then the chopped, steamed vegetables. This is a shortcut: – i use the little pressure cooker (one whistle) for cooking these before starting.
If these are diced very fine – they can simply be sauteed at this stage followed by a rolling boil in the next step which ought to be enough to cook them through.
Add the water.
Bring to a boil.
Lower the heat, then add the roasted semolina in a thin steady stream, stirring it into the pot all the while as it goes in.
The stirring will get increasingly tougher as the mixture thickens
Until it is pretty much solid. (If you prefer a more runny consistency, increase the water accordingly.)
Adjust salt to taste. Add the lemon juice. Mix.
Great with chutney or pickle.