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Health-conscious diners keep millet restaurants bustling
The indigenous crops of millets, which until a few years ago lost their popularity they once enjoyed among our ancestors, have been returning to the fore.
The rising demand for millet-based food in Chennai has given birth to many restaurants offering dishes out of the small seeded grains exclusively, which are becoming a hit among diners — both young and old. A few restaurants share with us their mantra of making millets appeal to the millennials.
Millet Maagic Meal, which started as a cloud kitchen four years ago, opened up two restaurant spaces in Alwarpet and Anna Nagar a few months ago to cater to the rising demand for millet foods. Started by husband and wife couple, Suresh Kumar and Adhieswari, the restaurants have been offering over 150 dishes out of millets — from soups, cutlets, cookies, brownies, to even pizzas. “Our aim was to make the dishes contemporary, while still using millets.
Traditional recipes alone will not find takers, as we aim to cater to youngsters and working population in the city who tend to eat out more often. As lifestyle-related diseases are on the rise, many doctors and gyms are advising people to include millets in their daily diet. So, we have been seeing an increasing demand for millet foods at our restaurants,” the couple says.
Adhieswari, who began cooking with millets about four years ago, started with offering workshops on using the grains. “Many people who took the workshops found it difficult to get the right taste and encouraged us to start the restaurant,” they add. The brand now aims to take these contemporary millet dishes to other cities too by expanding.
NS Krishnamoorthi, who runs Prems Graama Bhojanam restaurant in Adyar, says it is necessary to have an attractive menu when serving millets. His restaurant serves up combos like jowar idli, millet masala dosa, millet pongal, flax seeds vadai, and a jaggery sweet to get people to appreciate the grains more. Besides that, there are also bajjis, pongal, dosas and idlis out of millets.
“As healthcare is becoming more expensive, people are looking for natural remedies and are coming back to consuming ethnic foods, as they are healthier. Due to increasing number of diners and demand for millet foods, we have recently moved to a larger restaurant space within Adyar.
We have tried to keep a balance between millet-based dishes and other well-fortified foods so that people can have enough options,” he says. Krishnamoorthi points out that having a bunch of millet restaurants in the city will allow people to have more choice.