I have been reading, hearing and in fact talking a lot about respecting our food. And this feeling became stronger recently when I attended a food styling workshop at a culinary event in Pune. My takeaways were a lot of tips and tricks as I started to see food from a completely different perspective.
I realise that when we cook something, plate it nicely, allow enough light to pass through it, we are in a way respecting the food. When we are holding back the urge to gulp that first scrumptious bite, we are honouring what has been served. It all started looking so meditative. And practicing those nuances and even planning for it made my relationship with food even better.
So when I was asked to demonstrate a quick single Millet Salad during my five-day Know Your Millets Workshop, the task to choose one out of so many got easier based on my current state of mind.
I picked Pearl Millet (Bajra) because:
It’s seasonal. And after a few days, it won’t be easily available.
In our country, Bajra is the most underestimated grain and unfortunately, still termed bird food. Honestly, if you become aware of its health benefits, you will respect Bajra more than the exorbitant South American Quinoa that you may have been raving about.
Most high-end supermarkets of my city term the ‘millet corner’ as the ‘quinoa corner’. Often, the staff is confused when asked where millets have been shelved. And the moment you utter the word quinoa, they locate it easily.
So while the whole GPS of understanding our own traditional grains is disturbed, here’s a little attempt to pay respect to the cheaper and extremely nutritious Bajra through this quick and warm Pearl Millet Salad with classic lemon dressing.
Read more for the step by step recipe and health benefits of this wonder grain.
1 cup – Bajra grains (soaked overnight and boiled)
¼ cup – Onions (finely chopped)
¼ cup – Bell peppers (finely chopped)
½ cup – Sweet potatoes (steamed and chopped)
¼ cup – Sweet corns (steamed)
Some fresh coriander
1 tsp – Red chilli flakes
2 tsp – Extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp – Lemon juice
A pinch of black pepper
Rock salt (to taste)
1 tsp – Organic jaggery powder
1. Mix all the above salad ingredients in a deep bowl.
2. Separately in a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together till you attain a frothy consistency.
3. In a heated pan, drizzle a few drops of olive oil and add the mixed salad. Stir well till it gets warm and dry.
4. Pour the dressing mixture only when serving.
5. Serve warm and fresh.
Pearl Millet or Bajra is rich in magnesium, which helps keep the heart healthy. It has potassium, which dilates blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily. This helps reduce overall blood pressure. Bajra also has soluble fibre that helps control sugar levels and keeps diabetes at bay.
Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative and healthy cooking workshops for all age groups.