The word millet often serves as a collective noun. These tiny cereals - powerhouse of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, though indigenous worldwide, being cultivated for more than 7000 years, regained their lost glory in the recent times – all thanks to healthy eating.

Millets unlike quinoa, oats are not a fad of modern times. They have always been around for human consumption but faded away in our country slowly after the advent of world cuisines that gained popularity in no time.
Kodo millet in a bowl

In India, there are five types of millets which are considered staple – Jowar or Sorghum, Ragi or Finger Millet, Korra or Foxtail Millet, Sama or Little Millet and Kodo or Arke Millet. While all millets compete at an equal stage when it comes to nutritional content, there are many variations in terms of other components. In many of our earlier articles, we discussed extensively about millets and this one is dedicated to Kodo millet.

Also Read: Foxtail Millet: Nutrition, Health Benefits, Ayurvedic Uses, And Recipes

What Is Kodo Millet?

Kodo, Koda or Arke millet that goes with the botanical name Paspalum scrobiculatum is a drought-tolerant annual plant that is cultivated extensively in India, Nepal, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and West Africa. Kodo millet grass reaches up to four feet tall, sporting slender leaves at 20 to 40 cm in length requiring very little water to grow. When harvested the seeds are ellipsoidal in shape, tiny at 1.5mm in width and 2mm in length, colour varying between light brown to dark grey.

Kodo millet is also known as cow grass, rice grass, ditch millet, Indian cow grass. It is called as Kodo dhana in Hindi, Arikalu in Telugu, Varagu in Tamil, Kodro in Gujarati, Harka in Kannada, Kodon in Urdu.

Nutritional Value in Kodo Millet:

Kodo millet is repository of nutrients, a great substitute for rice and wheat. With a whopping 11% protein for every 100 grams, it is also a rich source of fibre at 10 grams, 66.6 grams of carbohydrates, 353kcal, 3.6 grams of fat, besides impressive presence of calcium, iron, polyphenols and various other nutrients. (Source: Wikipedia)

Kodo Millet in Ayurveda:

Ancient Indian medicine ayurveda classifies Kodo millet as langhana, which means bringing lightness to the body and is included under the category of Trina Dhanya Varga – (grains that are produced by grass like plants). It is termed as a wholesome food, prized for its medicinal, therapeutic and culinary properties and is recommended for diabetics, to beat fatigue, heal wounds faster. Being cold in nature, it increases vata dosha but balances issues caused due to kapha and pitta doshas.

Also Read: Kapha Dosha: Effective Dietary Modifications To Balance And Improve Stamina
Different types of millets in separate bowls

Benefits of Kodo Millet:

Controls Diabetes:

If you are a diabetic, it’s time to switch over to millets. Bring in kodo millets in your regular diet plan for averting those sudden spikes in the levels of blood sugar and also to elevate the levels of insulin. According to studies, Kodo millet significantly reduces glycated haemoglobin levels, triggers production of liver glycogen, stimulating instant levels of energy in diabetics.

Fights Chronic Ailments:

Kodo millets are an impressive source of powerful antioxidants. The phenolic extracts in this tiny millet reduce LDL or bad cholesterol, keep heart healthy, bring down blood pressure levels and prevent various other chronic conditions. These antioxidants also act against free radicals causing damage to the cells, tissues thus preventing various types of cancers.

Aids in Weight Loss:

Millets of all kinds top the list of those hoping to lose those extra kilos. Kodo, a great alternative for rice and wheat serves the purpose, as it triggers metabolic activity, fights against metabolic syndrome especially in the adolescent boys and girls thus aiding in shedding that stubborn fat in and around the waist, abdomen and hips.

Heart Healthy:

Cardiovascular problems are the major cause of fatalities around the world. A healthy diet, means healthy heart and it’s time to bring in millets. Regular consumption of Kodo millets not only keeps this vital organ healthy but also brings down the levels of bad cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, fight anxiety and keep you happy, all thanks to the presence of protein, dietary fibre and antioxidants.

Heals Wounds:

Kodo millet is a time tested home remedy for healing external wounds. Mix one spoon of fresh Kodo millet flour with water and apply it on the affected area on the skin to alleviate pain and also to accelerate the process of healing.

Is Ragi and Kodo Same?

Ragi and Kodo though millets are not the same. However, these both varieties are gluten free, rich in fibre, they belong to different species. While it is easy to cook ragi and Kodo needs to be soaked for couple of hours for better digestion.

Is Kodo Millet Better Than Rice?

Both Kodo millet and rice come with equal amount of nutrients. White rice is a good source of instant energy, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, thiamine, folate and Vitamin E. Kodo millets offer an impressive amount of protein, dietary fibre, good fats, calcium, iron.

While rice is easily digestible, Kodo millets being on low glycemic index are highly recommended for those with diabetics. Both are equally beneficial and cooked in different ways. Make it a point to include both rice and Kodo millets in right amounts for enjoying overall health benefits.

Also Read: Gluten Free: 5 Food Groups You Should Eat For A Healthy Gut

How To Cook Kodo Millet?

Millets are a tad hard to cook and would require exact amount of water to achieve that grainy texture.

Ingredients:

1 cup Kodo millet

4 cups of water

Wash Kodo millet thoroughly and soak it in water for 2 hours

In a pan bring 4 cups of water to boil, add drained millets to it

Cook it on high flame for 5 minutes, reduce the heat and let it simmer for another 5 minutes

Turn off the heat and fluff it with a fork for that grainy texture

Kodo Millet Recipes:

Kodo Millet Pulao:
Kodo millet pulao

Ingredients:

1 cup kodo millet

2 carrots, chopped carrot

1 potato, cut into small pieces

10 beans, chopped

1 big onion, thinly sliced

½ green capsicum, chopped

1 bunch of mint leaves

1 inch ginger

3 garlic cloves

2 long green chillis

¼ bunch coriander leaves

2 cloves

1 tej patta

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp turmeric

3 tsp oil

Salt to taste

Method:

Soak kodo millet for 2 hours in water, set it aside

In a mixer, grind mint, coriander, ginger, garlic, chillis, cloves in to a fine paste, by adding very little water

Take a deep bottom vessel, add oil. Sauté onion till it turns translucent. Add cumin, tej patta, chopped vegetables, salt, garam masala, turmeric powder and give it a good stir

Add mint, coriander paste. Fry till it turns aromatic

Add water, bring it to boil. Stir in kodo millet and cook it on high flame for 5 minutes

Reduce the heat and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot with raita

Nutritional Content:

Kodo millet is loaded with protein, dietary fibre and has an exceptional amount of antioxidants that help in fighting various chronic diseases. It is ideal for those fighting diabetes and on a weight loss diet. Adding vegetables like carrots, potatoes, beans, capsicum increases the nutritional value of this dish as they offer an array of vitamins including Vitamins A, B, C, zinc, potassium, manganese, phosphorous besides copious amounts of fibre. Mint, coriander aid in good digestion, while garlic, cumin, flush out toxins in the system. Eating it along with curd raita leaves a cooling effect on the stomach.

Also Read: Wholesome And Healthy Millet Recipes For Breakfast

Kodo Dosa:
Kodo dosa

Ingredients

1 cup kodo millet

¼ cup whole urad dal

½ tsp fenugreek seeds

2 tbsps poha or beaten rice

Salt as per taste

Method:

Wash kodo millet, urad dal. Soak it in water along with fenugreek seeds and poha for 6 hours

Grind it by adding right amount of water into smooth paste

Transfer it to a container, add salt and let it ferment overnight

Heat an iron tawa, rub oil on it. Pour a ladle full of batter and gently spread it into a dosa

Roast it on both sides and serve it with chutney

Nutritional Content:

Kodo or Arke millet is your best breakfast choice, as it keeps you satiated for a long time, prevents sudden spike of blood sugars and keeps you active. Urad dal too is loaded with protein, fibre rich and an amazing source of phosphorous for strengthening muscles and bones. Fenugreek not only adds crisp texture to your dosa but makes it healthier and ideal for diabetics to consume. Include it in your breakfast menu regularly, for staying healthy.

Contraindications:

Kodo millets are very safe to consume, but can turn poisonous if infested with fungal species called Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus tamarii, as they release a toxic substance called cyclopiazonic acid. This can result in severe diarrhea, nausea, unconsciousness. Avoid consuming these millets if you are having constipation as it may aggravate the problem. Make sure to clean it thoroughly to do away with pollutants, if any. Always soak Kodo millets for a minimum of 2 to 3 hours, before cooking for better absorption of nutrients and digestion.

Conclusion:

Kodo millets are one of the primary cereals available for human consumption worldwide. Owing to their incredible nutritional properties, Kodo millets gained an undeniable slot on the list of super foods in this modern era. A repository of protein, dietary fibre, good fats and an array of antioxidants, these super tiny millets with low glycemic index are hugely recommended for those suffering from diabetes. It is also ideal if you are trying to shed those extra kilograms. However, make sure to clean these millets properly under running water and soak them for a minimum of 2 hours for better results.