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What are Millets?

Millets are small-seeded grains grown in many parts of the world, known for their nutritional value and resilience in challenging conditions. They are used to make various foods like flatbreads and porridge and are gluten-free, making them a healthy and sustainable food source.

Types of Millets?

There are several types of Millets including:

1. Pearl Millet: Bajra

2. Finger Millet: Ragi

3. Foxtail Millet: Kangni

4. Proso Millet: Cheena

5. Little Millet: Kutki

6. Kodo Millet: Kodra

7. Barnyard Millet: Jhangora

These millet varieties are grown and used for various culinary purposes in different parts of the world.

What is Pearl millet?

Pearl millet, known as “bajra” in Hindi, is a nutritious, drought-tolerant cereal grain commonly used to make flatbreads and porridge in India and other regions. It is rich in nutrients and plays a vital role in food security, particularly in arid areas.

Features & health benefits of Millets

Millets offer health benefits such as being gluten-free, rich in fiber, and packed with essential nutrients. They support digestion, heart health, weight management, and have antioxidant properties, making them a valuable addition to a balanced diet. Additionally, millets are sustainable and require less water to grow.

How are millets useful in daily cooking?

 Millets are versatile in daily cooking. They can be used to make flatbreads, porridge, rice substitutes, salads, soups, and even baked goods. They add nutrition, texture, and variety to your meals.

How have millets been used in Indian cuisine over the years?

 Millets have been used in Indian cuisine for centuries. Millets have been a staple food in India, but their popularity declined. They are now making a comeback due to their nutritional value and environmental benefits. Millets are used in a variety of dishes, including flatbreads, porridge, snacks, sweets, and fermented foods.

5 easy Recipes using Pearl millets (step by step)

Here are five easy recipes using pearl millets (bajra) with step-by-step instructions:

Bajra Roti (Pearl Millet Flatbread):Ingredients:

– 1 cup bajra flour (pearl millet flour)

– Warm water (as needed)

– A pinch of salt (optional)


1. In a bowl, combine bajra flour and salt.

2. Gradually add warm water and knead the mixture into a soft, smooth dough.

3. Divide the dough into equal portions and roll them into flatbreads (rotis).

4. Heat a griddle or tava over medium-high heat and cook the rotis on both sides until they are cooked and have brown spots.

5. Serve hot with your choice of side dishes.

Bajra Khichdi (Pearl Millet Porridge):Ingredients:

– 1 cup bajra (pearl millet)

– 1/2 cup moong dal (split green gram)

– 2-3 cups water

– Salt to taste

– Ghee for garnish (optional)


1. Wash and soak bajra and moong dal for a few hours.

2. In a pressure cooker, add soaked bajra, moong dal, water, and salt.

3. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles until they are well-cooked and mushy.

4. Serve hot, garnished with ghee if desired

Bajra Upma (Pearl Millet Breakfast Dish):Ingredients:

– 1 cup bajra (pearl millet)

– 1/4 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, etc.)

– 1 small onion, finely chopped

– 1-2 green chilies, finely chopped

– 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

– 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

– 2 tablespoons oil

– Salt to taste


1. Wash and soak bajra for a few hours.

2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let them splutter.

3. Add chopped onions and green chilies. Sauté until onions turn translucent.

4. Add mixed vegetables and cook for a few minutes.

5. Drain the soaked bajra and add it to the pan.

6. Add salt and water, cover, and simmer until the bajra and vegetables are cooked.

7. Serve hot as a savoury porridge.

Bajra Kheer (Pearl Millet Pudding):Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup bajra (pearl millet)

– 4 cups milk

– 1/2 cup sugar (adjust to taste)

– 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

– A pinch of saffron strands (optional)

– Chopped nuts (e.g., almonds, cashews, pistachios) for garnish


1. Rinse the bajra under running water until the water runs clear. Soak the rinsed bajra in enough water for about 3-4 hours or overnight. Drain the excess water.

2. In a pressure cooker, add the soaked and drained bajra along with 1 cup of water. Pressure cook for about 3-4 whistles or until the bajra becomes soft and cooked. Set it aside.

3. In a separate large pot, bring 4 cups of milk to a boil. Lower the heat and add the cooked bajra to the milk. Stir well and let it simmer on low heat for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add sugar and continue to simmer the kheer until it thickens slightly. Stir in cardamom powder and saffron strands (if using).

5. Garnish the Bajra Kheer with chopped nuts (e.g., almonds, cashews, pistachios).

6.Serve the Bajra Kheer either warm or chilled, according to your preference.

5. Bajra Snacks (Pearl Millet Crisps):Ingredients:

– 1 cup bajra (pearl millet) flour

– 1/4 cup rice flour

– 1/4 cup besan (gram flour)

– 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)

– 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

– A pinch of asafoetida (hing)

– Salt to taste

– Water (as needed)

– Oil for deep frying


1. In a mixing bowl, combine bajra flour, rice flour, besan, red chili powder, cumin seeds, asafoetida, and salt.

2. Gradually add water and knead the mixture into a smooth, stiff dough. The dough should not be too soft.

3. Heat oil in a deep frying pan or kadai over medium heat. Take a small portion of the dough and roll it into a ball. Flatten it between your palms or on a greased surface to form a thin round disc. Repeat this process for the rest of the dough.

4. Carefully slide the flattened discs into the hot oil one at a time. Fry them until they become golden brown and crisp. Make sure to flip them occasionally for even frying. Remove the fried bajra snacks using a slotted spoon and drain excess oil by placing them on paper towels.

5. Allow the snacks to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. Serve as a crunchy and delicious snack with tea or as a side dish.


As a collection of small-seeded grains, millets have historically been a staple meal in many countries across the world, including India. They are renowned for their high nutritional content, flexibility in the kitchen, and agricultural sustainability. Because of its advantages for the environment and for human health, millets have become more popular recently. Your everyday meals may become more varied and nutritious by using these recipes. Millets are a beneficial complement to a balanced diet since they are free of gluten, high in fibre, and packed with vital minerals.

Dr. Kaviraj Khialani- Celebrity Master Chef, is a Mumbai based food- health & lifestyle consultant. With around 25 years of quality experience with hotels, airlines, consultancy – training & development he is a recipient of several national awards & global recognitions. Chef Kaviraj is specialised in over 33 international cuisines and loves fusion cooking, creating new recipes and sharing his experience with foodies around the globe. He has also been featured on star plus & colors television on several food shows. He may be contacted via email: / WhatsApp- 9820939336.

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