Cereals and millets are the important sources of carbohydrates in Indian diets, with, rice and wheat as the staple crops. Millets that are consumed commonly are jowar, ragi and bajra, but mostly restricted to rural areas, where they are produced. Minor millets like korra, sama, arika etc are neither cultivated nor consumed popularly due to lack of demand and supply. However, recently, due to an increased awareness of health benefits of millets, a segment of population in urban areas are consuming jowar rotis, available at selected retail counters in cities. Today, the nutritional value of major millets like jowar, bajra and ragi are being recognized by consumers and health specialists. So, after years of neglect, millets are finding their place in agricultural research institutes and the agendas of large private companies, this time as functional foods and nutraceuticals.
Most people have not even heard of millet, much less understand the benefits of millet nutrition. And yet, millet is one of the best-kept secrets of our ancient ancestors. Millet can be found in some grocery stores, often in the ethnic foods section. These grains are particularly beneficial for those who are sensitive to gluten and hence can be used as an alternate form of grain with their diverse health benefits. Depending on the cooking method, the consistency of this delicious grain can vary, ranging from a smooth creamy texture to fluffy forms, as in rice.