Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thinai Arisi Sambhar Saadham - Lentil Rice with Foxtail Millet

Millet grains were a staple for most people till about 50 years ago not only in the Kongu regions but else where in TamilNadu and I bet all over India as well before rice and wheat became popular. It is heartening that due to health reasons that these grains are making a come back. It is even more heartening that I can purchase Foxtail millet in most grocery stores in the US. Foxtail millet is gluten free and also has a low glycemic index. Read this article on the The Hindu on the Magic of millets.

We have a Siva Vishnu temple here that makes some pretty awesome Bisi Bela Bath. Staffed by volunteers and what started as a tiny kitchen has expanded to a commercial kitchen and an added attraction for the temple. Restaurant quality food at reasonable prices does not hurt either.

Anyway when I set out to reproduce Bisi Bela bath with millets, the temple Bisi Bela Bath was what I had in mind. I am happy to report that the end result of the rice dish made with the millet was not far behind in taste. Besides foxtail millet, pearl millet or sawa millet will also work equally good here.

Cook the lentils with turmeric powder and a tsp of oil and 1 1/2 time the required water. Also cook the millets with plenty of water.
In a big enough pot, heat oil add the seasonings, followed by the vegetables.
Add sambhar powder and tamarind pulp and let it come to a boil and let cook till the vegetables are almost cooked.
Add the cooked lentils and the millets along with 1 or 2 cups of water to the vegetable tamarind mixture along with the bisi bela bath powder and let simmer in medium heat for 10-15 minutes till fully cooked.

Thinai Arisi Sambhar Saadham - Lentil Rice with Foxtail millet
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Serves : 4-6
  1. 1 1/2 cups of foxtail millet
  2. 1 1/2 cups of lentils - toor dal (pigeon peas) (I used a combination of toor dal and split green moong dal)
  3. tamarind pulp from a small lime sized piece of tamarind (about a cup)
  4. 2-3 slit green chilies
  5. 1 tbsp sambhar powder
  6. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  7. 2 tbsp bisi bela bhath powder
  8. 2-4 cups of chopped vegetables (I used green beans, carrots, potatoes - chopped lengthwise about an inch or two long, peas)
  9. 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  10. 1/4 cup chopped onions
  11. seasonings : cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves
  12. salt to taste
  13. 2 tsp of oil + 1 tsp sesame oil for cooking the lentils
  14. 1 tbsp of broken cashews

  1. Pressure the cook the lentils with plenty of water, turmeric powder and 1 tsp of sesame oil till it is mushy. (About 3-4 whistles).
  2. Cook the millets in plenty of water till they are fully cooked. I cooked the millets on the stove top in the ratio of 1 : 3 millet to water.
  3. While the lentils and the millets are cook, heat oil in a fairly big sized cooking pot big enough to hold both the lentils and the millets, add the seasonings and when the mustard seeds start to pop add in the onions and saute till it is translucent. Add in the vegetables except the peas and saute for a couple of minutes, add in the sambhar powder and pour in the tamarind pulp. If using tamarind paste add about a cup of water and let it come to a boil and simmer till the vegetables are almost cooked (about 6-8 minutes). Add in the peas at this stage.
  4. Mix in the cooked lentils and the cooked millets with another 1 or 2 cups of water. The final texture of the rice dish should be watery and it thickens as it cools.
  5. Add in the bisi bela bath powder along with the roasted peanuts. Add required amount of salt and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes in a gentle simmer in medium low heat.
  6. Roast the cashews in ghee and add them just before serving.
  7. Make some pappad or appalam to go with the rice.

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  1. thanks for this recipe. I have some millet sitting in my pantry. I've bookmarked it Indo, will try it soon.

  2. Hi , i made this one pot method, where i added all d veggies,lintel millet tamarind juice spices cook 4 3 or 4 whistles. Then lastly add bisibela bath podi and seasoning. well for weekdays..


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