Thinai with sundried tomato ,swiss chard and country corn

Warm little millet ( Saamai) salad

We are all aware of the advantages of millets. Not just eating it but the benefits of growing it as well. I believe it makes more sense to eat our local grains than say adding quinoa to our diet. The texture is so similar and these are more suited to our Indian lifestyle and cellular health.

Millets have long since been on my mind,to be included in our family diet.While we did eat the occassional thayir kambu , sola saadham and ragi dosai , it wasn’t an important part of our daily meals as much I wanted it to be. For some reason , I did not apply myself to trying to cook it in a manner outside of our traditional recipes.

Very recently ,thanks to a visit from my friend Kavita, my larder  is now filled with millets of various kinds. I started slowly by replacing my brown rice with millets for lunch. Having always loved textures ,preferring this over white rice was a give in. But ,the question remained as how to get my ‘white rice loving’ spouse to add it to his diet. As I got used to the quantity of water to use while cooking ,it dawned that the textures can vary from sticky to light and airy just by varying the liquid infusion. When the liquid was just right ,when cooked, this little millet or saamai as it’s known in tamil ,very closely resembled the mediterranean cous cous….which the husband loves. Eureka !!! ( Also happy ,coz I don’t have to make two different things at every millet meal !) That’s just how this recipe came about. It was a cool evening , was looking forward to having my siblings over for dinner . We lot tend to loose track of time over bouts of laughter and some great conversation…and we’re all foodies ,so of course the food has to be delicious. Not fancy but definitely delicious !

The menu comprised of  the favoured nurnburger bratwurst , roasted bell peppers , cold potato salad… swaped the pasta in favour of the millet. Waited to see how that would go. Made an onion less version for the younger sibling,who looked at it suspiciously 😀  … I called it thinai at first (just learning my millets here ) and was promptly asked if I was serving him bird feed …hahaha… indulged them by serving a molten dark chocolate mini cake with vanilla icecream for dessert    😉  !

Agreed they did eat it ,not as much as the potato salad but enough to make me happy. My husband on the other hand took several helpings ,he’s the one that loves his carbs the most…looking at him ,no one would believe me ! Sigh…some folks just have a great metabolism. My kids loved it ,as did I ,so the recipe is yours to try. There was no real plan in choosing the ingredients , I just went with what I had at home. The concentrated sweet tang of the sundried tomatoes ,go so well with the wholesomeness of the country corn. With the invasion of sweet corn ,most folks seem to have forgotten the actual taste of natural corn. You could just as easily substitute the swiss chard for pak choy or palak and add in some roasted chicken or paneer. The saamai soaks up flavours very well and it’s a great main dish for a meal at home.

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  • 1. Wash the millet and cook it the same way as you cook rice.
  • 2. Set aside to cool completely and gently fork through to separate the grains
  • 3. Wash and cut the swiss chard into thin strips. This is best done by rolling up the leaves and slicing
  • 4. Rehydrate the sundried tomatoes by soaking in water for 5 mts. If using pickled sundried tomatoes ,just use as is. Cut them into strips.
  • 5. Separate the boiled corn kernels from the cob and set aside.
  • 6. In a wide pan ,add 1 Tbsp of oil and place on low heat.
  • 7. Add the onions ,garlic,oregano and a pinch of salt.
  • 8. Once the onions soften and turn translucent ,add the chopped greens and toss gently.
  • 9. As they start to wilt ,add in the corn ,some more salt and the paprika. Mix well until the corn takes on the garlicky spinach juices and takes on a slightly burnished colour. Taste and adjust at this stage.
  • 10. Add the sundried tomato strips ,mix and take off fire.
  • 11. Let this mixture cool slightly.
  • 12. Using a long prong toss this mixture into the cooled millet. Do it gently with a forking action ,so as to not damage the grains or make them sticky.
  • 13. Once well mixed in and fluffy , drizzle the remaining olive oil bit by bit ,slowly and mix in . This keeps it from drying out and also gives the benefit of the cold pressed olive oil.
  • 14. Finally just sprinkle the white wine vinegar and give a final fluff. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • 15. It goes very well with a grilled protein ,like a slice of tofu or fish.

About Chef

Shanthini Rajkumar

Hello ☺ ! Welcome to Pink lemon tree. A suggestion that has turned into an immensely satisfying connect with foodies from near and far. Best described as a foodie mom ...