I’m on no gluten-free crusade, but I do find that consuming wheat (refined or otherwise) makes me feel a bit sluggish and bloated. So unpolished rice is my daily staple. Of late, I’ve decided to experiment with other grains like jowar and bajra as substitutes for rice.
I was at the Bombay Local this weekend, and as usual spent some time at the Samskara stall having a chat with Hannah, who I’ve met a couple of times at such pop ups. I usually find something interesting at their stall. This time around I came away with Foxtail Millet. There were quite a few varieties of millet to choose from, but of course I went for the one with the funny name.
Cooking Foxtail millet is quick & easy – the process is like making upma or couscous. The millet themselves are quite tasteless, so they need a little help to take them from mundane to marvelous. (Don’t we all?) Here’s how I cooked mine:
1 cup of foxtail millet (soaked for 4 hours)
Half an onion (finely chopped)
A green chilli (roughly cut into three bits)
A couple of garlic pods (thinly sliced)
A couple of peppercorns
A big pinch of sea salt
Half a beetroot (chopped into small cubes)
1 teaspoon of rice bran oil
3 cups of warm water
Fry the onions, garlic, green chilli and peppercorns in oil till they are slightly brown. Add the chopped beetroot and fry till they just about start getting soft. Then throw in the drained foxtail millets and salt. Allow the spices and salt to mix well into the millets – this should take a minute of tossing and stirring. Then, pour in the warm water, place a lid over the pot and wait patiently for just 7 to 8 minutes.
Take a peek to see if the water has been absorbed by the grains. Don’t allow too much steam to escape. If the water is almost entirely absorbed put the heat off, place the cover back on and allow the millets to sit in the pot for another five minutes. During this time they will absorb all the remaining water and become super fluffy! Just loosen with a fork and serve like you would pulao or couscous.
You can use pretty much any vegetable, meat or masala to flavour these foxy grains!