By taking the lead, India has succeeded in giving millet its justified importance. 2023 has been declared the International Year of Millet. In worldwide millet production, India ranks first. Meanwhile, the country has a long history associated with these grain crops in its native cuisine. Vocal for Local -an initiative launched by Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the onset of the Covid pandemic in 2020, has added extra importance to local products in India. No wonder millet basked in glory. As India prepares to celebrate its 74th Republic Day on January 26, let’s honor our time-tested millet-based Indian breads and breads. It’s time to revive their glory and bring them to our plate.
Fox millet (Priyangava), barnyard millet (Anava), and black millet (Chiyamaka) are among the varieties of millet included in some of the earliest Yajurveda scriptures from India, which indicates that the use of this grain crop was widespread. Its use dates back to the Indian Bronze Age (4500 BC). In India, millet was the main grain produced till five decades ago. They were an essential component of regional culinary traditions and the staple diet. Ironically, like so many other things, they have been despised by modern urban consumers as ‘coarse grains’. They have forgotten that these were something their village ancestors might have relied on. Instead, the ‘more refined’ diet was replaces it.For the good of all, millet is currently experiencing a strong revival.
Bagri ki roti
Bajre Ki Roti is a millet flatbread that can be eaten with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries. It is prepared from pearl millet flour. Bajri ki roti is basically cooked by every family in Rajasthan. It is a must see, especially during the winter season. It is consumed almost daily by the cities of Barmer and Jaisalmer. Gujarat and other North Indian states also use Bajra or pearl millet.
next to roti
Jowar, also known as cholam in Maharashtra and Karnataka, is a staple used to produce rotis or Indian flatbreads. Because it is gluten-free and full of whole grains, guar, also known as sorghum millet, has become popular around the world as the “new quinoa.” However, making soft millet rotis by patting by hand requires skill.
Meethi Debra from Gujarat, Photo Source: flavoursofmumbai.com
Using pearl millet flour, dhebra is an Indian bread of Gujarati cuisine. It is known as methi debra when fenugreek leaves are used as a flavoring. The dough is kneaded by mixing millet flour with enough water and salt to make a dabra. Then a bailan or rolling pin is used to flatten the dough balls on a chakla or rolling board so that they are spherical. Next, vegetable oil is used to fry Dabra on the tava until small brown spots appear on both sides.
Indian two-color sorghum or mighty millet is used to make the unleavened bread known as jolada roti. The name means “sorghum bread” in the literal sense. Compared to the traditional wheat roti, it has a rougher appearance. Compared to a crusher or cracker in terms of hardness, its texture can be soft or hard. Most of North Karnataka enjoy jolada rotti as a staple food, which is paired with curries such as jhunka, yengai, shenga chutney, or various other sauces.
Raj Addai from Karnataka, Photo Source: archanaskitchen.com
Karnataka’s traditional breakfast dish, Ragi Roti or Adai, is much loved in the rural areas of the southern region of the state. Ragi or millet flour is used to make this nutritious dish. In the language of origin, Kannada, it is known as ragi-pancake. Usually, the mixture contains chopped coriander, cumin seeds, diced onions, and carrots for flavour. It is prepared like dosa and looks like a thin pancake.
A common ingredient in Indian Maharashtrian cuisine is pearl millet, which is used to make the round, unleavened flatbread known as bhakri. Compared to the traditional wheat chapati, ragi, jowar or bajra, it is much coarser. Bhakri texture ranges from bland to firm. In particular, it is widespread in the states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Malwa, Goa and North Karnataka in western and central India.
Kodre di roti, Photo credit: Nirbhao Healthy Foods @ YouTube
This flatbread hails from the land of Punjab. Using Kodo Millet or kodra as it is called locally in this state, this Indian flatbread was the main dish on the plate. But in the end, it has lost its relevance and is on the verge of extinction. Kodre di roti is the main ingredient for making kodre di churi, an exotic dessert made during Lohri.
Republic Day gives us an opportunity to reflect and reflect on domestic matters. 2023 is the International Year of Millet, let us revive Indian breads and crepes made from millet, which were once part of the local diet.