Quinoa v/s Indian Millets… An Urban Perspective…

Millets have been the traditional component of the Indian food basket for ages. They have been a huge part of our grandparents’ staple diet; as well as a preferred cultivated crop for Indian farmers. They are a rich source of protein, vitamins, fibre & minerals, making them an ideal & healthy food option. Studies show that a regular consumption of millets can have a beneficial influence on many lifestyle diseases – as they are highly nutritious, gluten free, non-acid forming and are soothing and easy to digest.

glossary millets


Inspite of all their benefits, the past few decades saw a decline in their consumption. Reason, urbanisation of the Indian market! Even the earth rotates from west to east but our Indian mindset keeps turning to the West for all latest food trends.




One such trend that took our super markets by storm in the recent years was the entry of many international grains and the star performer of them all was Quinoa. All major supermarkets had isles filled with this super grain and its varieties in the form of chips, biscuits, flours as such and every trendy restaurant had Quinoa preparations featuring in their menus. I too was so taken in by the Quinoa trend myself, that I had literally begged my cousin, who was traveling to Kuala Lumpur on a work trip, to bring back 4 packets of all the different kinds, like white, golden, red variety of as if it was some kind of food treasure.

There’s no doubt that Quinoa is a healthy food option. This Peruvian grain, originated in the Andean region of north-western part of South America. It is gluten-free, rich in protein and contains nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.

Now coming to my question…

Do we really need grains like Quinoa in
our regular diets to stay healthy?

My answer to that is a big NO!

Although Quinoa is very healthy and has numerous benefits, the fact is that like any other imported international grain lands in your shopping basket – first it travels a long period of time to reach our country, then it sits in distribution centers, then on the supermarket shelf from where you purchase it. This long process causes the grain to age considerably. On the other hand, the locally grown Indian grain spends a much shorter time from its harvest to getting your dining table making it less likely for its nutritional value to have decreased. Eating home-grown & local varieties is good for both our environment and the economy.

There’s a common saying, “What grows together goes together!”

Here are a few ideas…

on how Indian millets can make a comeback as an option by choice in our daily dose of urban recipes, and can be used in a creative and modern way to break that mindset that Indian Millets can only be prepared in Indian style of cooking.

Just to get you started here’s a quick and easy recipe of the quintessential modern breakfast pancakes made with apna gaonwala ka Anjeer and Jowar or if you like it to sound more Western…

Date & Fig Sorghum Pancake

date and fig sorgham pancake


Sorghum Flour          –           200g
Brown Sugar              –           20g
Baking Powder         –           2tsp
Baking Soda              –           1/2tsp
A pinch of salt
Milk                            –           350ml
Chopped dates         –           20g
Chopped dried figs  –           20g


– Blend the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt well and keep aside.

– Pour milk and whisk into the above mixture ensuring no lumps are formed.

– Fold in chopped dried figs and dates.

– Cover & leave to rest for 10 mins.

– Put a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Lightly coating it with ghee or oil.

– Once hot pour a ladle of batter on to the pan and spread slightly.

– Cook each side for 1-2 mins, till golden brown.

– Serve immediately with honey or any other topping of your choice.

Hope you enjoyed my take on Quinoa versus Indian millets keep watching this space for more about the goodness of home grown & local Indian food options. Do leave your comments… Cheers!