Forgotten Foods—Proso Millet Upma

Millets can make great recipes for a healthy breakfast. Senior nutritionist Shereen Begum at Urlife, Hyderabad, shares an appetising millet recipe to incorporate into your meal plan.

By URLife Team
18 Sep 2022

Millets are an indigenous crop that is a staple diet among many communities in China, India, Europe, and different parts of Africa. Millet is a round-shaped cereal grain that belongs to the grass family Poaceae and can grow efficiently with less water, even in hot temperatures. Unlike wheat, this ancient grain is gluten-free and rich in protein, fibre, and antioxidants.


There are many types of millets like ragi, foxtail millet, pearl millet finger millets, proso millets, little millets, Kodo millets, and barnyard millets. All these grains have one thing in common—enormous nutrition profile.


Most Indian kitchens are now going back to their roots to relish traditional ‘forgotten foods’ millets. Hyderabad-based senior nutritionist Shereen Begum at Urlife shares interesting proso millet recipes that can be used as healthy breakfast options.


Related story: The Viral Breakfasts You Need to Try


Proso Millet

Beneficial for glowing skin

Proso millet has high antioxidants. They remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are the reasons for wrinkles, uneven complexion and other signs of ageing.


Useful for strengthening bones

Proso millet contains high amounts of calcium which is essential for bone growth and maintenance. Add these grains to your kids diet to support their bone health.


Beneficial for the nervous system

Proso millet contains high lecithin which supports the neural health system. It is rich in vitamins (niacin, B-complex vitamins, folic acid), minerals (P, Ca, Zn, Fe), and essential amino acids (methionine and cysteine). It has a low glycemic index and reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes.


Related story: Dry Upma Mix


Recipe for Proso Millet Upma

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Easy Steps


Rinse proso millet or pani varagu two to three times well with clean water.


Soak for 20 minutes.


Heat oil in a pan, and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds.


Let them splutter and add gram dal and urad dal. Fry the lentils to golden brown colour. Add onion, curry leaves, and green chilies.

Ingredients List
  • 1 cup proso millet
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp mustard, cumin
  • 1 tsp gram dal, urad dal
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, coriander leaves
  • 3 green chillies
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 carrot
  • Pinch asafoetida
  • 1 tsp salt

Saute onions for a few minutes and add finely chopped carrots. Cook carrots for a few minutes by sauteing. Put a pinch of asafoetida.


Pour water and add salt. Mix and let the water come to full boiling. You can cover and boil the water; when water is boiling, add soaked millets and mix well.


Cover with a lid and cook for ten minutes in low heat; After ten minutes, water is fully absorbed and the millet becomes soft.


If there is more moisture in the upma still, wait for a few more minutes to get it absorbed; Finally, add a few drops of lemon juice, mix and switch off.

Nutritive Value
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 19.5g
  • Fibre: 13g



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