The millet man: how a young man’s idli business became a global sensation

The queue will start in front of this idli shop before sunrise. Idli cooked at the roadside stand “Vasena Poly” in MVP Colony, Visakhapatnam is no ordinary idli but is made up of eight packets of nutritious cereal. Each idli is cooked wrapped in a special type of foil. Behind this taste hides the profession of a young man and a big dream he had.

Chittem Sudheer, a young man, started this new business for the welfare of farmers in Andhra Pradesh. The Sudhir stall was recently visited by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu after he tweeted about the taste of this idli made by roasting small beans. Venkaiah Naidu described Chittam Sudhir as an entrepreneur. Here is his story as a culinary expert and his delicious idlis that wowed even the Vice President of India.

Taste and treat farmers
Sudheer launched this rare restaurant in September 2018 with an investment of Rs 50,000. He named his store Vasena Poli ‘(which means’ alternative idlis’). Sudhir holds a master’s degree in economics. He is also learning about organic farming. For two years he interacted more with the farmers and tribes of northern Andhra Pradesh. It was from there that he understood the advantages and strengths of small grains.

Although nutritious, unfortunately, few people ignore the value of these grains. In fact, those who are aware of it do not use it in their everyday cooking. He was wondering how to get her to town. Sudheer had already decided that he didn’t need to watch YouTube videos to prepare various delicacies by adding these grains. He was more eager to experiment with his own recipes. And experts from Andhra Pradesh University and the Center for Small Grain Research have given “advice” on how to avoid losing its nutritional value.

How to prepare millet Idli
It serves idlis made from eight types of nutritious millets like jowar, bajra, aarika (mil kodo), korra (millet) and saama (small millet). The beans are soaked for 8 hours, finely ground and again fermented for 8 hours. You can make sweet and delicious Millet Idlies the next morning. You will be served three idlis on a plate. These idlies are made with three types of fine grain powder. A total of eight types of cereals are used in the store. The Chammanthi that comes with idli is also special. This chutney is made with the bottle gourd, the ginger and carrot are abundantly provided with the idlis. At the same time, you will be served a regular chutney made from Channa dal. The price is Rs 50 per plate.

Sudheer’s specialty is nothing like the idli found in Kerala and elsewhere. This idli is prepared by pouring the dough into a cone made from “adduck” leaves. This variety of leaves is found all over Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The medicinal value and aroma of the leaves double when steamed with millets. Small grains such as zucchini, sorghum, bajra, koto, chama, millet, varak and barley are rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium and copper. It is also rich in vitamins B6, C, E and K. They are readily available in the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh. They are also easy to grow.

Sudheer buys these small grains directly from farmers, which are more nutritious than rice. About 700 kg of small grains are purchased each month from farmers in the villages of Vijayanagar, Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam. Although the base price in the market is Rs 30 per kg, Sudheer buys from farmers at Rs 70 per kg. The benefit for farmers is not negligible.

Superhit after initial hiccups
Sudheer started his business near the beach at Lawsons Bay settlement in Visakhapatnam. Initially, the clients were elderly. But soon the young people began to arrive. On the way to the office, many people were waiting for food in this small store. It also created a minor traffic jam. After one of the residents filed another complaint, the authorities went to the municipality and asked them to move the store to another location. But by then, Sudhir had created a community of “idle fans” there.

The store was therefore transferred to MVP Colony.

He also started selling it online. It didn’t take long for these healthy idlis to be the toast of the city. When it became popular, Sudhir felt that moving to a permanent store was the next step. With the Vice President’s tweet, Millet Idli’s fame not only reached all over India, but became an international hit. Famous food vloggers have come looking for the store. Right now, it delivers around 200 plates an hour on a busy day, according to Sudhir. Sudheer is in the process of expanding its Millet Idle stores to other locations soon.

Small but mighty
Nutritionists say we need to eat a diet that fights diabetes, related diseases and cancer. Health experts say a diet low in fat, high in protein, high in fiber, and high in minerals is the key to overcoming lifestyle-related illnesses. The answer to the question of whether there is such a magical food is yes. Modern medicine refers to small grains as superfoods that combine all of the above benefits. There are many small grains (mils) such as kuvarak, sorghum, bajra, kodo, chama, millet, varak, and barley which are small in appearance but high in nutritional value.

Millet, compared to wheat and corn, is high in nutrients, gluten-free, and has a low glycemic index of 54-68. The presence of a large amount of dietary fiber, protein containing all essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals helps stabilize blood sugar. Millet can be part of a healthy diet for a diabetic patient that prevents spikes in blood sugar and promotes insulin sensitivity. They’re also loaded with an impressive antioxidant profile, including beta-glucans, flavonoids, anthocyanidins, tannins, lignans, and policosanols. These antioxidants play a crucial role in lowering LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and help maintain healthy blood vessels and clear blood clots, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Small grains and their nutritional benefits
It is the smallest grain which is also known as kuvarak, muttari, kanjipullu, and panjipullu (millet). This calcium-rich millet is often referred to as “poor man’s milk” and was included in baby foods by the older generation. It comes highly recommended for those battling anemia and also serves as a good galactagogue for new mothers by aiding lactation, revitalizing the skin while maintaining blood sugar levels.

In addition to calcium, ragi is a drought tolerant crop that is rich in iron, phosphorus, protein, and fiber. Ragi will therefore be an asset for our health care in the days to come. Every 100 grams of ragi gives you 344 mg of calcium, the most essential mineral for strengthening bones and teeth and preventing the risk of osteoporosis.

Bajra:Bajra is a small grain specialty known as kambam and pearl millet. Bajra is a pearl of small shaped and colored grains. Bajra is high in unsaturated fats. Since bajra is a good source of magnesium, it is good for heart patients to add bajra to their diet.

Magnesium is able to prevent risk factors for cardiovascular diseases like BP and diabetes. It is also rich in iron, zinc, dietary fiber and protein. Survives high temperatures and gives good yields. It consists of complex carbohydrates, is absorbed slowly by our digestive tract, leading to greater satiety while ensuring a continuous flow of energy.

Sorghum (Jowar): A grain known as corn and kaffirkon. It grows in clusters with white seeds and is high in protein and fiber. Sorghum, which is rich in iron, is good for preventing anemia. Several of the phenolic compounds in sorghum have been linked to anti-cancer effects. One serving of sorghum contains 48% of the recommended daily intake of fiber!

kodo millet: Kodo millet, also known as varak, is high in fiber. Kodo Millet, also known as Cow Grass, Rice Grass, Ditch Millet, Native Paspalum, or Indian Crown Grass, is native to tropical Africa and is believed to have been domesticated in India. 3000 years ago.

Kodo millet, rich in protein and antioxidants, is beneficial for diabetics. Regular consumption of Kodo Millet is beneficial for postmenopausal women suffering from metabolic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It helps hydrate your colon and prevent constipation. Controls your blood sugar.

Chama (Little Millet): Chama is a weed that grows with paddy. Rich in protein, dietary fiber and unsaturated fat, chama is very tasty and nutritious. Little millet contains magnesium which can help improve heart health. Vitamin B3 (niacin) contained in small millet helps lower cholesterol. Little millet is also a good source of phosphorus which helps with fat metabolism, body tissue repair and energy production.

Millet (Foxtail Millet): Although millet is used as a bird feeder, it is a small edible grain. Foxtail millet is high in calcium, which is very important for maintaining healthy bones. It also contains vitamin D. Eating foxtail millet in the form of sprouts helps fight diseases such as osteoporosis and may reduce the risk of fractures.

Small grains have a higher protein content than basic grains. The high mineral content and the number of vitamins make it a protective food that helps the body to stay healthy. (Protective food). Cereals are ideal for people with allergies to gluten because wheat does not contain gluten protein.

High in dietary fiber and lack of starch converts whole grains into a low glycemic index (low GI foods) diet for diabetics. This means that the blood sugar level reaches a very low level after digestion. Eating these will also reduce the need for insulin. For these reasons, it is time for the market for small grain food products. Initiatives such as Millet Idli, which prepares and markets such food products, have great potential.

Small grains can be used to prepare any food that can be cooked or eaten straight away, such as chapatis, healthy mixes, noodles, cookies, cakes, snacks and pastries. There is no doubt that these are the best healthy foods for people with and without lifestyle diseases. If the small grains are sprouted, dried and powdered, their benefits can be increased tenfold. It is also good for the body to grind the sprouted grains, add water, dilute and filter them. Eating small grains like ragi in this way is very beneficial for nursing mothers, the elderly and pregnant women.

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