If you’ve been following my stories, this column is meant for you. In all my recent webinars and online millet cooking workshops, as I interact with people from different cultures and regions, I observe some common mistakes and myths about cooking millet. Today, I want to address some of them.
If you are directly using millet flours, this is for you. Do you know that before cooking millet, they need to be soaked for at least eight hours? The fiber in them is so dense that you need to break down the phytic acid in them to let the nutrients be released to make it gut-soothing. Unless you are sure of the source, opt for whole millet instead. And you can always make your own flour at home after soaking. It is super easy!
I am glad to share that I have been able to bring more than 200 participants on this very rewarding millet journey. And trust me, you don’t have to be gluten-sensitive or intolerant to consider cooking with millet. Millet is for everyone. I am coming up with my next comprehensive and very systematic five-day online millet workshop that is spread across 45 days from September 5. It covers everything, including the one-on-one theory session of 70 minutes with me. You can always reach out to me on my Instagram handle if you have any query and doubts about starting with millet. I will be happy to answer them all.
ALSO READ | Adding millet to Bappa’s favourite modaks
Moving on to today’s recipe — this one is to help you understand that millet rava available in packaged form is equally unhealthy as the grain is directly floured without soaking. When you make millet flours at home, you can extract the rava part but when you wish to make millet upma directly from the grain, this is the recipe you can try.
Please note you can substitute red sorghum (jowar) here with white jowar or any of the minor millets like kodo, barnyard, foxtail, browntop or little millet. All you need to understand is the right way to make the millet tender and tasty.
Read more for the step-by-step recipe of red jowar upma and do share if you loved it more than the usual upma you have been cooking all this while.
Vegetable red jowar (sorghum) upma:
Ingredients: (serves 4)
· 1 cup whole red jowar (washed and soaked for 8-10 hours)
· 1 onion finely chopped
· 1 carrot finely chopped
· 1 medium potato in small cubes
· 1/4 cup beans finely chopped
· 2 tbsp roasted and crushed peanuts
· 1 inch grated ginger
· 2 green chilies (optional)
· 2 tsp lemon juice
· 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
· Rock salt to taste
· 2 tsp black pepper powder
· ½ tsp mustard seeds
· ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
· 20-25 curry leaves
· 2 tbsp cow ghee
· 4 cups water
· Fresh coriander and mint leaves to garnish
1. Thoroughly wash and soak red jowar pearls overnight or for at least 8-10 hours in water.
2. Pressure-cook jowar pearls along with 4 cups of water, rock salt and a pinch of turmeric. After 2 whistles on medium flame, turn the flame off and allow the pressure to release naturally. The chewy and tender jowar is ready to be added to the veggies masala.
3. Separately steam all chopped and cubed veggies together. You can always add veggies of your choice to this recipe.
4. In a deep pan, heat some cow ghee followed by curry leaves, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. As they crackle, add finely chopped onions followed by green chilies and ginger. Allow it to sauté till onions are translucent.
5. Next, add the steamed vegetables, turmeric powder, boiled jowar, rock salt and black pepper. Adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and let the jowar upma cook for about 5 minutes.
6. Mix them all nicely again. Turn the flame off and drizzle lemon juice for that extra punch.
7. Garnish with roasted and crushed peanuts and coriander mint leaves.
8. Serve hot with any of your favourite chutneys.
Health benefits of sorghum (jowar)
Jowar is the most versatile and neutral millet. I have been using it in many of my recipes including premixes where I use homemade jowar flour.
It’s rich in vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc; also an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, and protein. If you wish to begin your millet journey without worrying about which millet to eat, give whole jowar a try.
(Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative Millets Cooking Workshops for all age groups)