Recipe for Foxtail Millet Salad
Foxtail millet, known as Thinai in Tamil, Navane in Kannada, and Koralu in Telugu, is a type of ancient Indian grain that was once a staple for people in rural areas of Andhra Pradesh (including present-day Telangana) and parts of Tamil Nadu. However, the introduction of subsidized polished white rice with a more appealing flavour and texture largely replaced millet.
International Year of Millets 2023
In recent years, millets have experienced a resurgence in India. This is due to several factors, including their perceived health benefits, such as being a gluten-free grain and a healthier option for diabetics and overall well-being. There are now various millet varieties readily available in both physical and online stores, along with an increasing trend of millet-based processed foods such as ready-to-eat snacks and flours. The government’s push towards millet production and products, as well as the declaration of 2023 as the International Year of Millets, are contributing to the growing popularity of millets worldwide.
If you know to cook rice, you can easily cook millet either by the boiling and straining method, or absorption method (stove top/rice cooker/pressure cooker / Instant Pot). It can be easily eaten with all the side dishes that you would eat with rice – eg. sambar, rasam, curds, dal etc.
Soaking millets in sufficient water for an hour before draining and cooking it by the preferred method reduces the anti-nutrients, making other nutrients in millet and accompanying dishes more bioavailable.
You can use millet to make pulao, khichdi, pongal, upma and many other Indian breakfast and main dishes. It is versatile enough to use in desserts like payasam and sweet pongal.
Here are some millet recipes for you to try
Eggplant and millets (Millet Vaangi baath)
If you cook it carefully such that each grain stays separate after cooking, and it goes beautifully into salads, adding a lot of body and fibre to your salads. Try this Chickpeas Kale Millet Salad.
Some tips to make this Foxtail Millet Salad
- Make sure to cook the foxtail millet just right so that the grains are fluffy and separate from each other.
- In this millet salad, I have used seasonal strawberries along with two kinds of bell peppers for crunch and colour.
- Feel free to swap foxtail millet with any other kind of millet.
- Strawberries with any other seasonal fruits like pear, apple, pomegranate or mango.
- This salad tastes great eaten at room temperature or served chilled in summers.
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Foxtail Millet Salad
- 1/2 cup foxtail millet soaked for one hour
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper finely diced
- 1/4 cup green bell pepper finely diced
- 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
- 2 cups lettuce / salad greens washed, dried and torn into bite sized pieces
- 4 strawberries sliced
- 1/2 tsp dried mint or chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp black pepper Freshly ground
- 1/2 tsp salt
- How to cook foxtail millet: Pressure cook the drained millet with 1 cup water, 1 tsp cooking oil and 1/2 tsp salt for two whistles. Turn off the flame. Remove once cooker is cooled and spread on a plate to cool.
- In a large bowl, assemble the bell peppers, onion, lettuce, strawberries and dried mint.
- Add the cooked and cooled millet to the above ingredients in the bowl. Toss gently.
- In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the dressing until thick and creamy and add it to the salad ingredients in the bowl.
- Serve immediately, chilled or at room temperature.
First published on 6 Feb, 2013. Rewritten on 3 Feb, 2023.