Foxtail or Italian Millet called Thinai in Tamil is one of the forgotten grains that belong to the old Tamil culture. Foxtail millet is a grass that grows in a warm climate and is more environmentally friendly as it requires very less water for cultivation in comparison to rice.
It is a staple food of South India and a perfect substitute for healthy diets. Foxtail millet is called Korra in Telugu, Navane in Kannada, Kangni in Hindi, and Kang in Marathi. It can be cooked just like rice and millet recipes are easy to cook. They are available in the form of rice, semolina and as flour.
Foxtail millet is gluten free and very easy to digest. Its high anti-oxidant activity removes acidic element away from the body. Being highly nutritious for children and adults, it acts a great energy source. It is rich in fiber content and minerals like protein, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc. Enriched with vitamin B 6, it helps in the regulation of the healthy nervous system. It helps to control blood sugar levels and is known for its low glycemic index. Its high protein content, when combined with legumes, makes it a perfect substantial addition to a vegetarian diet.
How to use Thinai to cook healthy recipes?
Foxtail millets are rich in calories and many dishes can be prepared with Thinai as the main ingredient. Cooking with foxtail millets is easy as no soaking is required. It cooks faster than rice.
- You can serve foxtail millets in your daily diet instead of rice and wheat. You can cook Thinai to prepare south Indian dishes like Idlis, Dosais, Appam, Pongal, Idiyappam, and Puttu for a healthy breakfast.
- For a light breakfast option, you can make porridge with cooked Thinai and add your favorite nuts and fruits for a delightful flavor.
- For many Upma, a popular south Indian breakfast is an enjoyable one. Cooking Thinai Upma with golden cashew toppings in ghee is an ideal breakfast recipe. Nutritious and healthy and very filling too!
- Thinai is a healthy alternative to polished rice. You can have another favorite dish – Thinai Godhumai (wheat) Rava Dosa for breakfast served with white coconut chutney or tomato chutney or tasty Sambar.
- You can also make rotis from Thinai flour and serve with cooked vegetable gravy. Foxtail millet flour can be used instead of wheat flour for gluten-free cooking.
- You can consider having Thinai vegetable Pulao, Thinai Sambar Bhath, and Thinai with Curd instead of rice.
- You can make tasty foxtail millet pudding or payasam. It is an alkalizing grain and tastes best when you slightly roast it before cooking.
- For healthy sweets and desserts, you can make Ladoos, ghee Paniyarams, and also bake cookies with Thinai. Sweet Thinai Pongal can be your favorite dish on important festival days and Thinai is the favorite grain food of Lord Muruga. Food offerings or Naivedya made of Thinai is considered highly auspicious.
You can make foxtail millet salad by adding cooked millet to a bowl of fresh raw vegetables.
Traditional murukkus and Thattai can also be prepared from Thinai flour.