Millets are getting enough popularity these days.. though it used to be a staple in India many many years ago, it was forgotten quite sometime and now all of a sudden its gaining track again because of its immense health benefits. Millets / Siru Dhanyam(in tamil) are a group of cereals which are tiny grains, usually cultivated in dry climate areas or in between crop seasons..is an excellant alternative for rice. There are few types to name.. Saamai, Varagu, Thinai & Kuthiraivali and they all have their own taste, texture & health benefits. They can suit to any type of preparations… sweet or savory but just the taste & texture varies. Any millet for that matter has a nutty taste something similar to corn. It is really hard to get millets here in USA and I’m just using what i got from my last India trip. There are few online stores which do sell but way too expensive, my mom use send a parcel once in while from India which always includes a few of these gems!
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VARAGU is Kodo Millet in Enlgish, Arikelu in Telugu, Kodra in Hindi, Harka in Kannada & Koovaraku in Malayalam
Millets can be used to make upma, dosa, idli, vada, bajjis/pakoras, murrukus/chakkli, nipatlu, pongal, mudda (dumpling), khichdi, pulav/biriyani, kheer/payasam, baked products such as bread and biscuits, or just boiled as rice. It can be easily substituted for rice and wheat. Amma makes idli, dosa, pongal, payasam and what not… with these millets as its easily available in India. Of all the millets.. Kodo/ Varagu is my favorite as it taste similar to rice and you can never see any difference. I’ve already posted pongal recipe with varagu and here is how i made idli/ dosa with it. This recipe is rice free and fully made with Varagu & Urad dal and used a regular mixer jar to make the batter instead of the grinder. You may use the stone grinder for large quantities though..
Why Kodo Millet / Varagu arisi ?
Varagu rice is gluten-free and packed with vitamins and minerals, high fiber content, helps in controlling blood sugar and Cholesterol, digestion friendly, ease constipation, helps in reduction of cancer risks.
Where to buy Kodo Millet / Varagu Arisi?
You can find this millet in most of the grocery stores in India, Nilgiris Supermarket / Waitrose Supermarket / Any Departmental Store / Organic Stores -Dhanyam Supermarket / even ordinary maligai stores carry these millets. I have not seen this in USA so far, if you happen to see this variety pls share the info. Finger millet, Foxtail millet, Pearl Millet and Sorghum are available in Indian Stores (Patel Bros), USA and some online stores like http://www.bobsredmill.com/
|Kodo Millet / Varagu arisi||2 cups|
|Whole Urad dal||1/2 cup|
|Fenugreek seeds / Methi seeds / vendhayam||3/4 teaspoon|
|Salt (preferbly kosher / Kallu uppu)||1 & 1/2 teaspoon|
Rinse the millet and dal, soak them separately in enough water along with fenugreek seeds for at least 5 to 6 hours. Grind the urad dal with fenugreek first adding some water to a fluffy consistency. Your mixer jar may be throwing some tantrums… add extra water to make them run. (Using cold water while grinding can help to reduce the heat from the mixer jar) Now once this is done, remove and then grind the millets adding very less water… they are really very tender compared to rice so may need less water while grinding. Grind to a soft rava like texture. (The batter consistency should be like thin dosa batter)
Now combine both dal and millet batter, add salt and mix. Cover and place in a warm place to ferment. Usually overnight works but may take longer if the temperature is low in your home or cold climate zones. It may double in quantity once it ferments and may look pale white and frothy.
To make idlis– don’t mix the batter, straight way scoop the fermented batter into the idli molds and steam for 10 minutes over medium high flame. Switch off and let the steam settle and then scoop out the idlis.
To make dosa– slightly mix the batter and and scoop some and spread on your dosa tawa, drizzle oil and let it cook on one side until browned a bit and then flip to cook the other side and flip once more time and fold.
Serve this Idli dosa with side of your choice, it goes well with spicy chutney or gravy. Enjoy these with Spicy Garlic Chuntey
- The above batter suits for both Idli & dosa.
- This batter will yield pale white idlis with slight nutty taste. Too much water while grinding will yield sticky dough and chewy idlis.
- Dosa will be crispy and light golden brown.
- Stone grinder yields better results than mixer but its hard to grind small quantities.
- Allow at least 10 hours to ferment in a warm place and few extra hours for cold countries.