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The nutritious, pocket-friendly ragi-based batter can be used to make food for children at Anganwadi centres
Last week, researchers at Sambalpur University in Odisha announced a patent for a millet-based cake premix. A PTI story reported, “The patent was granted for 20 years for the cake mix developed by the Home Science PG department and School of Chemistry of the varsity.”
Chandrashree Lenka, head of the Home Science department, said that the price would be nominal for one cake if the ingredients are procured via the Public Distribution System (PDS). “Ragi (millet) is nutritious and has protein, phytochemicals and micronutrients. But many people do not like it because of its taste,” she said. “The cake prepared by using the premix is a delicious and low-calorie food. This can be served to children at Anganwadi centres.” The patent for the premix was filed in August last year and granted on March 31.
In 2019, Prime Minister Narender Modi said that India would have to introduce a Millet Revolution to up the nutrition content of everyday diets. A 2019 story published by Mint highlights this fact. Modi also pointed out that the world has started adopting the food that Indians gave up such as barley, jowar, ragi, kodo, sama, bajra, samva, among others. These grains were once part of our diets, but they gradually disappeared, because they were perceived to be a poor man’s food.
Now, the nutritional benefits of these grains are in the spotlight. Moreover, they require less water for cultivation compared to rice and wheat. “Millets are important crops for dry land farmers. They are highly nutritious and climate compliant crops,” writes Vilas, A . Tonapi of Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), in a report titled Nutritional and Health Benefits of Millets.
The Internet is teeming with millet recipes. To grasp the basics, one can sign up for one of the many online workshops. Shalini Rajani, founder of Crazy Kadchi, a workshop platform for cooking with millets, offers a host of innovative recipes. Nutrition consultant Sangeeta Khanna also conducts millet-focussed health workshops. From chaats, nachos, dosas, cakes and breads, these experts unlock the endless possibilities of cooking with millets.