Promoting millets as a healthy diet in modern times, the Karnataka government on Wednesday revived the state's ancient forgotten crop by making a few celebrity chefs prepare tasty dishes from the grains at a culinary symposium in Bengaluru.
"Though millets have been a part of our food heritage, it has been forgotten in recent times and almost disappeared from our staple food. Time is ripe to revive it as a healthy diet and make it a part of our daily life," said Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda at the daylong event.
The Minister said though traditional wisdom recognised the benefits of indigenous crops, modern consumers were still on the lookout for healthy options.
"As we are also in the same quest for healthy options, Karnataka is at the forefront of promoting healthier and sustainable food choices like organic and millets," asserted Gowda.
Celebrity chefs Ravitej Nath, Kasi Viswanath, Ajith Raman, Sandip Narain, R. Selvaraju and Ashish Sanyal prepared tasty dishes from a variety of millets on the occasion to promote the grain as a healthy food.
"Our aim is to introduce millets into homes of all people and prove that its dishes can be tasty if we use them instead of other grains like rice or wheat that are not gluten-free and have much less nutrients," said Rashmi Kappar of MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences at the event.
The state government has been organising workshops, panel discussions, culinary shows and exhibitions over the months on various dishes made from millets to educate the masses on the health benefits of the age-old crop.
"We are reinventing the past as millets had gone out of fashion. The state government is trying to make millets the food of the future through various initiatives and ensure farmers get their due remuneration as the crop can be grown with less water," said chef Vijaya Baskaran, who is also the Vice-President of the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA).
According to Chennai-based Grand Hotels Executive Chef Seetharam Prasad, millets are more suitable for human digestive system as they get processed faster than other grains like rice and wheat.
"Millets also develop probiotics after consumption. Eating local is the best," he added.
Unique dishes like Foxtail and cheese stuffed chicken, grilled tomato and finger millet soup, various millet Lasagnas dishes, just blacked millet brownie, jalebi sorghum, pearl millet choco bar were also on display at the event.