Chefs gear up to introduce millet-based dishes as it go global

Chef Sujan Mukerjee from Taj Coromandel is extremely happy about this move.
Chef Sujan Mukerjee & Chef Navin Prasad
Chef Sujan Mukerjee & Chef Navin Prasad

CHENNAI: The United Nations has designated 2023 as the International Year of Millets at India’s request. Soon, the superfood will be the talk of the world. Many hotels in the country have started planning their millet-based menus and are busy doing food trials. In Chennai too, hotels are finding out ways to introduce new millet-based dishes to their customers.

Chef Sujan Mukerjee from Taj Coromandel is extremely happy about this move. He says, “As a chef, I should be able to respect all food ingredients. Millets are plentily available in Tamil Nadu and have got high nutritional value. During the COVID, we noticed a huge shift in people’s eating habits. Many became conscious of what they are consuming and started eating healthy. We, at Taj Coromandel, have been using millet in different forms. But for 2023, we are preparing a special menu that will be showcased at Anise. Along with my team, we are doing research and finalising the dishes.”

In the coming year, diners at Taj Coromandel can expect millets in various forms and dishes. “There will be millet dosa, millet pongal, khichdi, uthappam and so on. These days, we are getting ready-made products that have replaced refined flour. For eg, earlier, we had only one type of noodles; but now atta noodles are available in the market. By 2023, millet noodles, millet idiyappam, etc will be there in the market. There are various ways in which millet can be used in South Indian cuisine. Instead of rice, one can start experimenting with different millets — millet khichdi, millet pulao, millet bisi bele bath are great options to start with. You can make a lot of recipes with millet as far as Indian food is concerned. European chefs have already started experimenting with various millets and have come up with millet crepes, millet pastas, millet pancakes, millet risotto and so on.”

Chef Navin Prasad from Purple Chameleon opines, “It is quite evident that there is a shift in eating habits from vegetarianism to vegan. Within this is the new and obvious choice of millets — the pearl millet or bajra is considered a superfood. We have seen an increase in demand for millet-based foods, cafes and concepts in the recent past. With the government promoting this superfood, we not only have an obligation to our health but to the farmers who produce millet. We will soon be shifting a lot of our regular dishes to millet-based dishes.”

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