This is an ongoing glossary of grains, both gluten-containing and gluten-free, in English and Hindi. One or the other kind of grains is staple in every cuisine. The most common grains are wheat and rice in different forms. In North Indian cuisine Indian breads made with wheat are staple, while in South India, rice is the staple grain with curries and other dishes. It is the same in other cuisines too. For example, in South East Asian cuisine rice is the staple gain, in North African cuisine couscous made with wheat is staple, in Italy much of pasta and pizza is made with wheat and in Continental cuisine breads are usually made of refined flour.
Health Benefits of Millets – the traditional grain
Wheat and rice may be amongst the most popular grains; Millets (such as pearl millet (bajra), sorghum (jowar), finger millet (ragi), foxtail millet etc), are amongst the healthiest of grains available today. Millets are highly nutritious, naturally gluten free and alkaline foods. Hence they are soothing and easy to digest. Considered to be the least allergenic and most digestible grains available, millets are also recommended for babies in India.
While traditionally millets were the major grains grown and consumed in India, with the coming of Green Revolution and Western Food influences, our diets shifted towards rice and wheat flour. And sadly towards refined wheat flour and white polished rice which strips them of their nutrition.
Now, specially with gluten sensitivity being on the rise, awareness about local Indian millets as a healthier alternative is increasing. Nowadays not just speciality health food stores but even regular food stores have started keeping at least the major millets such as bajra, jowar and ragi. But a wide variety of millets is grown in different regions and with such wide variety, it is difficult to get bored of them!
It has only been a year since I started cooking with millets and it took some unlearning and learning to dig up traditional millet recipes and also adapt common wheat and rice recipes to millet. As I experiment more, I will share more of those recipes on the blog.
Here is a list of different types of millets and other gluten-free and gluten containing grains found in India and their names in Hindi and English. This is an ongoing list and suggestions for changes and additions are more than welcome!
Glossary of millets and grains in English and Hindi
Millet names in English and Hindi
|Finger millet||Ragi/ Nachni|
|Foxtail millet||Kangni / Kakum|
|Little millet||Moraiyo/ Kutki/ Shavan/ Sama|
|Proso millet (broomcorn millet)||chena|
Other Gluten-free Grains
|Corn, Maize||Makkai, Makki, Bhutta|
|Polenta||Makkai ka Daliya|
|Tapioca Pearls, Sago||Sabudana|
|Water chestnut four||Singhare ka aata|
Gluten containing grains
|All-purpose white flour||Maida|
|Barley||Jau / Jav|
|Broken wheat||Daliya (These days there is also gluten free jowar daliya)|
|Couscous||No exact hindi word but it is like thick sooji.|
|Semolina||Sooji / Rava|
|Whole Wheat Flour||Gehoon aata|
Do you have a healthy millet recipe to share? I would love to learn and know more! You can share your recipe link in the comments or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Would love to start a conversation, share recipes, cooking experiences and food stories from India and around the world.