Millets have been popular in India for many hundreds of years as an inexpensive and highly nutritious whole grain. They come from small, seeded grasses or cereal grains. Compared to rice or wheat, they have significantly more proteins, vitamins, and minerals, in addition to being gluten-free and high in starch and fiber. They are easy to grow, as they don’t need a lot of water, they have a short growing period, and they don’t attract pests, so they don’t need pesticides.
The most popular millets are Bajra (Pearl Millet), Ragi, and Jowar. Other millets include Barnyard millet, Sorghum, Foxtail millet, Little millet, Kodo millet, and Proso millet.
Millets are used to make many Indian dishes, such as kitchari, rotis, cheelas, and muthias. They can also be sprouted and ground into flour. Just as quinoa took the United States by storm several years ago as the “Incan superfood,” millets are being hailed as another “Indian superfood,” especially for those seeking to adhere to gluten-free diet.