Jhangora or Barnyard Millet is very similar to the popular superfood Quinoa. In Uttarakhand it is grown at an altitude of 400-2100 m above sea level and is a good source of highly digestible protein and at the same time is least calorie dense compared to all other cereals. It is also an ideal food for diabetics due its low glycemic index. Jhangora is one of the oldest food known to mankind and is considered to be the least allergenic & most digestible grains available.
According to the Nutritive Value of Indian Foods, published by the National Institute Of Nutrition, every 100 gm of barnyard millet contain 11.9 gm of moisture, 6.2 gm of protein, 2.2 gm of fat, 4.4 gm of minerals (one of the highest value among grains), 9.8 gm of crude fibre, 65.5gm of carbohydrates, 20 mg of calcium, 5 mg of iron and a high level of phosphorus at 280 mg.
The roles of minerals and phosphorus are extremely important for the body; minerals are part of the body structural component while also acting as a catalyst in many body reactions. As far as phosphorus is concerned, it is an important element of our bodily requirement since it combines with calcium as calcium phosphate to be available to bones and teeth. It also plays an important role in cellular metabolism. So, if we look at the nutritional inputs of this local super food, we notice that it can provide us not only a high fibre food but also the subtler elements of our dietary requirements.
As far as its appearance is concerned, the de-husked grains are light brown in colour, with each grain being somewhat oval in shape, in fact very similar to its now glamorous cousin quinoa.
In the hills of Uttarakhand, it has been used, since time immemorial, during the fasting period of Navratras, as not only is it high on energy but it is also light on the stomach, both eminently desirable properties during long fasting periods.
In the Hills, where women have to toil hard at farming on the step-cultivation system and therefore need a sustaining diet, they have evolved many mouth-watering dishes with Jhangora; apart from the festive kheer, there is also a kadhi called Jhangora ka chencheda.
In fact barnyard millet is a very versatile ingredient which lends itself to innumerable preparations. It is both rice-like and semolina-like once cooked. It makes for wonderful pilafs, that can be seasoned as per everyone’s desiderata, from Mediterranean herbs to South Indian spices.
This high on performance millet is, to top it all, not very difficult to handle. To get the best flavour out of it, all you need to do is first dry roast it so that it gets a nutty taste, then put it in a strainer and wash it; after this step, you can plunge it in boiling water and let it sit there till it is cooked. This process can take up to 20 minutes, sometimes even less; it is therefore desirable initially to check out from time to time if it has acquired the texture you desire. Once cooked, it should be drained and fluffed up with the help of a fork. Your millet will then be ready to absorb all the aromas you want to infuse into it either by stir frying or by just adding the seasoning directly.
The process of making a kheer or a phirni is of course different, and the receipe is available on the web.
In times of climate change, when we need climate resilience our Forgotten Foods can become foods of the future, given their adaptable ecological behavior. As we become eco-citizens, our food choices can help reduce our carbon footprints, by choosing to eat locally grown ingredients.
Shipping - To ensure fresh & pure products are delivered at your doorstep, we procure these directly from the Local farmers/ Women's Self Help Groups in small batches. It therefore sometimes takes 7-21 days for the shipment to get delivered to you depending upon your location.