Millets are steadily becoming the next big thing in the food world. These days, people are strongly conscious about what they eat. As people look to diversify away from white rice more and more, millets come in very handy as a healthy substitute.
Millets are a very good source of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that can significantly boost human health in various ways. Millets also contain very impressive starch levels, high B-vitamin content, as well as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and essential fats. Further, they also have significant levels of protein and dietary fiber.
It is always advisable to eat food that has been grown locally, and according to the current season. Millets were grown & used by our ancestors as a part of their daily diet; this is one of the many reasons why people are turning to millets today. The nutritive value of millets makes this a very valuable addition to our everyday meals.
The below recipe is for the quintessential khichdi, but with a healthy twist by replacing rice with Kodo millets (varagu arisi) in Tamil. What this does is keeps you full for longer, doesn’t give you carb overload, and the glycemic index of this meal is significantly lower than that of the khichdi made with white rice. The best part is that you do NOT miss the rice in this dish! The velvety texture of the cooked millets blends beautifully with all the lentils and vegetables to give you super melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness!
I used panchphoron spice mix to flavor this dish. This is of course optional, but I highly recommend it because it is a great way of adding buckets of flavor to the dish without making it too spice-heavy. Also, the panchphoron is a combination of 5 digestive spices that help not only with flavor, but also with health. If you choose not to use it, just skip that from the recipe and use jeera to temper, along with other ingredients.
- Oil – 2 to 3 tsp
- Panchphoron spice mix – 2 tsp
- Kodo Millet- 1 cup
- Mixed Dals/Lentils- 3/4 cup
- Carrots- 2 small, chopped
- Fresh Peas- a handful
- Green Beans- 1/4th cup, chopped
- Green Bell peppers-1, chopped
- Tomato- 1, chopped
- Fresh ginger- 1 tsp, chopped
- Fresh Garlic- 1 tsp, chopped
- Fresh Coriander leaves- a handful, chopped
- Green Chillies- 3-4, sliced
- Paanch phoran (optional) – about 1/4 tsp
- Ghee – 2 to 3 tsp
Step by step recipe:
- Wash the kodo millets and remove any impurities. One or two rinses under running tap water should do. Wash the dals separately and remove any impurities.
- Mix the millets and the dal together and soak them in clean water for about 15 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan, and add the panchphoron seasoning, wait for it to crackle.
- Add the chopped vegetables and slit green chillies, mix well for a few seconds. No need to cook the vegetables at this stage.
- Add the washed millet/lentils to this and mix well.
- Now add water to this mixture. I added water in the ratio of 1:2.5 for the millets, and 1:2 for the dal, a total of 4.5 cups.
- Add turmeric powder and salt. Taste the mixture. If it is slightly salty, then it will be perfectly seasoned once the khichdi is cooked.
- Close the lid of the cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles. After done, switch off the stove.
- Now do not open the pressure cooker lid for the next 15 minutes, let it rest. The millets will cook in the retained heat and this will make the grains more fluffy / velvety in texture. This is an important step.
- When you open the lid, this is how it will look. Mix well once. Now the Khichdi is done. On to the final tempering.
- Heat ghee in a kadai.
- Add 1 tsp of jeera seeds and allow it to crackle.
- Add 1/2 tsp of panchphoron seasoning as well. This is for extra aroma and taste.
- Add the chopped ginger and garlic and saute for a few seconds until the raw smell goes away.
- Add the chopped tomato to this and mix.
- Add kashmiri lal mirch, 1/4 tsp sugar.
- Saute for a few seconds, no need to make the tomatoes into a pulp.
- Add freshly chopped coriander , switch off the stove and mix.
- Add this to the khichdi.
- Mix well and serve hot with ghee and papad or curd, pickles and papad.
This can be a breakfast, lunch or dinner dish – whatever you want it to be. Do try it and let us know how it went!! 🙂