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Posted by shiyam | October 14, 2015


Millet Varieties (Names in Hindi, Tamil and English)
Hindi Tamil English
Kodhra Varagu  Kodo Millet
Kangni Thinai Fox tail Millet
Bajra Kambu Pearl Millet
Cheena Paniviragu  
Gondli Samai Little Millet
Jhongra Kuthira vali Barnyard Millet
Rajgira   Amaranth
Sanwa Ragi(Kannada) Finger Millet
Jowar Cholam Sorghum
Mandu Kelveragu  

Scientific names
Millets are several small grains of the Panicum family. Some of the other millets are included in the Echinochloa and Setaria families.

Millet in the Vedas

  1. The Samhitas of Yajurveda mentions these grains were collectively called Shyamaka. IBN Battuta mentions these grains as Shamak in ‘Arabic’.
  2. Historical Evidence 
    1. Proso Millet (Panicium miliaceum) akshutha in Sanskrit, Cheena in Hindi and Pannivaragu in Tamil is a very old grain, cultivated even by the pre historic lake dwellers of Switzerland. There are mentions of it domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean, Russia, China and in parts of India. Pannivaragu has been excavated 1000 B.B in Adichanallur and was an important food grain in the Tamil country during the Sangam period.
    2. Ragi (Elusine Coracana) - Uganda in East Africa is considered the home of the wild Ragi plant because of the many connected customs and rituals. Ragi has reached India from Africa and Halur excavations have found ragi in the banks of the Thungabhadra river since 1800BC.
    3. Grains like Jowar (sorghum), Bajra (pearl millet) are all of African origin and have been cultivated in India and used as a major part of the meal before the arrival of rice as a staple.

Benefits of Millet

  • Millet crop have shorter growth periods and higher yields. The crops require little tending and mostly organic.
  • They are a rich source of protein.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • Gluten- free.
  • Easy to digest, non acid forming food.
  • Packed with essential minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorous.

How to prepare Millet?

Wash millets 2-3 times under running water , soak with enough amount of water and cook the millets in the same water this will prevent loss of nutrients.

The soft millets require an hour of soaking and the hard millets like Jowar, Bajra and Ragi need to be soaked overnight.

Water Ratio
Soft millet varieties require 1:2 (Millet: water) can be cooked both by absorption method in a pan or in a pressure cooker.
Hard millet varieties require 1:3 or 1:4 (Millet: water) needs pressure cooking.

Where to buy Millet?
Al Adil stores stock a wide variety in their grains section both whole and flour http://www.adildubai.com/ad/index.php. They have stores all over the Middle East.
Choitrams,Spinneys also have many varieties in the grains and pulses rack.


Oxford Guide to food- Alan Davidson

A historical companion to Indian food- K.T. Achaya

On Food and Cooking- Harold McGee