Foxtail millet which is known in Andhra by various names like Korralu, Korra Annamu, Korra biyamu, is also sometimes used as a substitute for rice, especially in rural communities.
Given it's delicious, nutty flavour, great texture, and nutritive value, it should be used more often than it is.
Thanks to a resurgence of sorts in the organic and health-food space, millets are making a comeback into our food culture. Livemint asks: What's your millet mojo?
According to "Bhoole Bisre Anaj", a publication by Navadanya, which strives to remind us of "forgotten foods", - 'millets are so called because many thousands of grains are harvested from each seed sown'. And foxtail millet (Setaria italica), along with several other small millets like finger millet (Eleusine coracana), kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum), proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), barnyard millet (Echinichloa colona), little millet (Panicum sumatrense), Job's tears (Coix lachryma-jobi) as well as the two major millets, sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and pearl millet (Pennisetum typhoides) 'are all classified as "coarse cereals".
Such labeling has degraded their value, even though millets are the most nutritious of all cereals'.
It's also heartening that they note in it, that "the fact that these crops have withstood the competition from major cereals in the past forty years and are still cultivated in substantial areas is testimony to their resilience, and their importance in local diets".
For more exciting recipes with (and information about) millets, visit this link, or check out Navdanya's book.
It is possible to use many of the other millets listed above (or a mix of similar-sized ones) in place of the foxtail millet for even greater variety, besides the usual wheat-semolina version. The smaller millets can be whole, instead of semolina, but will need more cooking and perhaps more water. Keep hot water handy for consistency adjustments in the final stages.
Foxtail millet semolina - 1 cup
Mixed vegetables (eg. carrots, beans, potaotes, cauliflower) - 1 cup, chopped and steamed/cooked
Onion - 1 finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 finely chopped
Water - 2 cupsGhee/Oil - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Hing (asafoetida) - a pinch (optional)
Green chillies - 2, slit/chopped
Whole, dried, red chillies - (optional) 2, broken
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Urad/Black gram dal (husked, split) - 1/2 teaspoon
Chana/Bengal gram dal (split) - 1/2 teaspoon
Ginger - 1 inch piece grated/julienned
Curry leaves - 1-2 sprigs
Fresh coriander - 2-3 tablespoons, chopped
Salt - to taste
Lemon juice - from 1-2 lemons (to taste)
I used Foxtail millet semolina from Timbaktu organic - one of my favorite co-ops for organic products.
In a heavy bottomed kadhai or pan, dry roast the semolina for a few minutes (with half a teaspoon of ghee or oil, if liked.)
In the same pan heat up the teaspoon of oil or ghee and add the tempering ingredients one by one.
First the cumin+mustard along with the urad and chana dals, then the hing and dried whole red chillies if using...
Next go in the chopped tomatoes
Two-three minutes later, the chopped coriander.
If these are diced very fine - they can simply be sauteed at this stage followed by a rolling boil in the next step which ought to be enough to cook them through.
Turn heat to medium, keep stirring the whole thing constantly. Watch out for scalding hot splutters at this stage.
Adjust salt to taste. Add the lemon juice. Mix.