24 June 2013

Oota from my thota & Millets Idli

I was pleasantly surprised when the "Oota from my Thota" event took place in our neighbourhood. Organized by the Garden City Farmers, this event brings together garderners, local food producers and makers, and eco-friendly products. It makes for a wonderful Sunday stroll.

This time we met Mr Dinesh, whose group, earth360, was promoting the consumption of millets. To make the point, there were goodies prepared from various millets - payasa, bisi bela bath, roti, crackers. If you have never tasted millets before, a good way to be introduced to their granular texture is the payasa. Nothing that jaggery, elachi and dry fruits can't turn into a delicious introduction. We have been using millets for the past 3 years. There are many varieties, the most common one that we were familiar with being Ragi or Finger millet and Jowar. There are other types that are available (in English) - Barnyard, Proso, Kodo, Little (Same in Kannada), Pearl (Bajra), Foxtail (Navane - which I hold in my palm). You can learn more about them and some recipes here.

I find adding millets to our menu a bit challenging. The texture is not as smooth, so upma tastes a bit grity, and having them as a substitute for rice only works for us in Khichdi, or if you have a heavy dal like Whole Urad, Rajma etc. At the event we were introduced to Ms Kalyani, the chef of the above millet items and got a booklet on recipes where they work. Here's a recipe for idlis that works for us, modified from the recipes she shared. We make dosa/idli batter once a week and in this form, the millet tastes great. 

Foxtail Millet Idlis
Navane - Finger Millet - 1 cup
Dosa rice - 1/4 cup
Urad dal - 1/2 cup
Methi seeds - 1/2 tsp

Soak these separately overnight, or at least 4 hours. Methi seeds can be soaked along with rice. Grind together and keep batter to ferment. I usually check how much it has risen, the air bubble situation and smell, to decide when it is done. 8 - 10 hours is usually good. Add salt. 

Steam to eat as idlis. The idlis are soft but heavy. 
OR Add chopped onions, coriander leaves and chillies to make rava-dosa like dosas. 

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