How to cook millets - Millet Types - Varagu Saamai Thinai Kuthiraivali Kambu

Millet Varieties
I wanted to have a compiled millets post eversince I started trying millet recipes but I took some time to get used with all the millets. As for the past few months I had been buying one variety of millet each month and had been experimenting and this time I got all of them(as shown above) as now I am confident enough :) I learnt cooking millets from the cookbook my neighbour gave me, even the measures I got it from there.

And its time we take pride in cooking these ancient mostly forgotten miracle grains...Shall we?!

Now lets get on to the FAQ's first:

What are Millets?
Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains. Millets are known as "Small Grains" or "Siru Thaaniyangal" in Tamil.Millets are one of the oldest foods known to humans and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes.Millets are also unique due to their short growing season. They can develop from planted seeds to mature, ready to harvest plants in as little as 65 days. This is important in heavily populated areas. When properly stored, whole millets will keep for two or more years.

Why to eat Millets?

Where to buy Millets?
Try getting millets in organic stores or at any trusted supermarket so that its already cleaned else you will have to take the pain of cleaning to remove husk if any.

Millet Varieties:

English Tamil Hindi
Pearl millet  Kambu Bajra
Foxtail Millet  Thinai  Kangni
Kodo Millet  Varagu Kodra
Barnyard Millet Kuthiraivali Jhangora
Little Millet Saamai Kutki 
Finger Millet Kelveragu Mandua
Sorgum Cholam Jowar


Cooking Methods for Millets (2 methods)
1.Pan Method - Refer stepwise
2.Pressure Cooker Method : For 1 cup of millet add the same 3 cups and pressure cook for 3 whistles in medium flame.

I would prefer the pan method for making plain rice variety and pressure cooker method for making upma / pongal.


How to cook millets

Preparation Time:10 mins | Cooking Time : 20 mins | Serves:2
Recipe Category: Main | Recipe Cuisine: indian

Millet - 1 cup
Water - 3 cups*
* Water quantity slightly differs for thinai and kambu alone.Check my notes section.


Millet Recipes:
The millet varieties can easily be substituted for rice and wheat. The recipes I have tried so far are:
1.Thinai Upma, Thinai Payasam
2.Kambu Koozh, Kambu Thayir Sadam, Kambu Sadam, Kambu Dosai(recipe coming up soon)
3.Varagu Pongal (recipe coming up soon)
4.Kuthirai Vali Idiyappam
5.Saamai Upma
6.Ragi MaltRagi Kozhukattai

There are many recipes you can try with millets like adai, roti, idli, dosa etc will sure post them one by one.


  1. Clean the millet first and remove any grits if any.Take the millet(I used varagu here), rinse it in water and set aside.Boil water. Here I have used only 1/4 cup of millet so adjusted water quantity accordingly.How to make baby corn paneer jalfrezi - Step1
  2. Add the rinsed millet, and let it cook covered till all the moisture is absorbed and the grain is cooked till soft.
    How to cook millets - Step2
  3. Once all the water has been absorbed by the millet, switch off and keep aside for 10mins by that resting time it will cook further.Then fluff it up with a laddle.
    How to  cook millets - Step3
Serve hot with sambar and any veggie of your choice.

Millet Lunch

My Notes:


Source [Google & Millets Wordpress]