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Grains – Will you explore their world?

Grains have been around since thousands of years. However, in the last couple of decades, there seems to be a war against the humble grain!  Thankfully, not all is lost and suddenly, grains that had already been around for the past centuries are now reclassified in the ‘wonder grains’ category and have since been welcomed again into our kitchens. There are several out there, but in this post, I am just going to talk about the ones, I have actually used myself. Here, I go:

Quinoa

Originated in South America and packed with protein and is amazingly versatile and easy to make. I have added it to my vegetables, burgers, pulao and salads until I came across this recipe…Absolutely delicious when packed with the Mexican flavours and use the leftovers from this to make little patties/ burgers…Smiles guaranteed across the table!

QuiGrain - Quinoa bake - the mexican way
Quinoa bake – the mexican way via

Amaranth

In India, we refer to it as ‘ramdana’ or ‘rajgira’. Is there anyone out there who hasn’t tasted ‘ramdana ka laddu’? I am sure, not! Packed with protein as well as minerals and vitamins, it’s basically a great food too. I’ve been known to add to add it to my breakfast porridge or use it as a flour but try mixing it with some kidney beans and turn it very quickly into a yummy burger meal. I am told that  compared to rice, wheat flour, oats, and rye, amaranth has an impressive 30% more protein. What’s not to like about this ‘good for you’ grain? Try to include these burgers in your diet:

grains - amaranth burger
Amaranth burger ? Of course and yummy too via

Millets

There are so many kinds of millets available…Anyone new to ‘bajre ki khichdi’ or ‘bajre ki roti with garlic chutney’? If you haven’t yet tried that…go have a plate today! It’s perfect for the winter months…Millets exist in various varieties – bajra, jowar and ragi to name a few, and of course, it goes without saying that they are packed with protein and minerals. Ragi is known to be quite high in calcium, while bajra is a great source of iron.  Though, you can’t beat the indian recipes for millet, try this comforting chowder recipe and I promise, you will grow to love this grain even more.

Grain - millet in a chowder soup
Millet – in a chowder via

Barley

Barley water was given to us kids when we were little. It was good then, it is good now…Barley is known to have fairly good cholesterol-fighting qualities, infact, even better than those of oats! Now, that’s saying something! Also, it is meant to good for your digestion…has the same ‘good bacteria’ that exist in yoghurt…so, you can have this even if you are vegan and have a happy tummy!  At home, barley or ‘jau ka aata’ is turned in to rotis, parathas and sometimes added to milk for breakfast…However, one of my favourite chefs, Yotam Ottelenghi, has done this amazing recipe using barley. Try it and let me know, if it worked for you.

Grain - barley concoction with mushroom and onion
Barley with mushrooms and fried onion – appetising?? try it via
 As we grapple with a slew of lifestyle diseases, it might be absolutely pertinent to look at our food choices again. Try and introduce different grains, that were used by our ancestors. Not only are they nutritious, but add different flavours to your meal to…Variety, is the spice or grain of life, indeed!
 There are of course grains like oats, spelt and a few more that we haven’t discussed in this post…maybe, for another time!

Before we close this post, let’s take a moment to test our knowledge about this food category. Take this quiz and let us know how you got on!

Shilpa xx

Cover Image via

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