The Tastemakers: Anahita Dhondy On Why Everyone Needs A Bit Of Millet In Their Lives
Anahita Dhondy, 28
Partner chef, SodaBottleOpenerWala, Gurugram
Power ingredient “Millets…which I have recently discovered and am totally in love with. While ragi and bajra are common, my favourite is barnyard millet (samvat ke chawal). These are tiny white round seeds belonging to the millet family and have six times more fibre than wheat.”
Why “Because I can use it in a salad or as a binding agent in my kebabs. I’ve even used it in dosas, khichris and baked goods. And what’s great is that I can use it in place of rice for people with gluten issues since it is gluten free.”
First Tryst “I’ve seen this ingredient in my grandmother’s home, but never paid attention to it. I’ve eaten it a couple of times at an aunt’s place, but we never really cooked with it at home. That was until I interacted with Pallavi Upadhyay, the co-founder of Millets for Health, a social enterprise dedicated to the revival of millets. I started using millets in my kitchen about two years ago, and now it’s something that I recommend to everyone. A little bit of millet in your life can keep you strong and healthy.”
“I enjoy making barnyard millet and raw banana cutlets, with a spearmint and lemon balm chutney.”
Ingredients: 1kg raw bananas, 150ml refined oil, 10g whole jeera, 30g green chillies, 30g ginger, 5g haldi, 5g jeera powder, 10g salt, 5g coriander powder, 10g mint leaves, 10g coriander leaves, 200g cooked barnyard millet, 5g barnyard millet per piece for coating.
Method: Boil the raw bananas and cool them. Peel the skin and mash. In a pan, add oil, jeera, green chillies, turmeric powder, jeera powder and salt. Add some fresh coriander and mint leaves along with a few drops of lemon to balance it. Separately, boil the barnyard millet, cool and keep aside. Combine the two, make sure the seasoning is well balanced and add some fresh coriander leaves. Make little cutlets and deep-fry, bake or cook in an air fryer. Serve hot with a chutney of your choice.