Not just the Parliament building, the canteen at India’s legislative house is getting a tasty and nutritious upgrade in tandem with the country’s push towards millet production and consumption.
While traditional favourites like Biryani and cutlets stay, additions include Jowar vegetable Upma, Bajra Khichdi, Ragi Ladoo, Bajre Ka Chroma and more.
The Prime Minister in his Mann Ki Baat address, reiterating his commitment towards the promotion of millet as a staple crop said that every G20 summit event in India would have millet dishes. Moreover, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will choose the dishes in the new menu, besides the old one for the Members of the Parliament.
The meal menu includes a variety of millet dishes such as Bajre Ki Raab (soup), Ragi Ghee Roast Dosa, Ragi Idli, Sarson Ka Saag with Makke/Bajra/Jowar ki roti, Raagi Poori, Bajra Chichdi with garlic Chutney. Dessert options like Bajre Ka Chorrma, Ragi Walnut Ladoo are also included.
The a la carte menu includes oats milk, Ragi Matar Ka Shorba, Soya milk, Bajra onion Ka Muthiya, Bajre Ki Tikki, Amarnath salad, Korra Millet salad and others. The dishes that have been chosen in a way reflects the country’s culinary diversity.
Montu Saini, the executive chef of the ITDC, prepared the menu. He worked for the Rashtrapati Bhavan for over five years, during the time of Ram Nath Kovind and Pranab Mukherjee. The ITDC has been managing Parliament’s canteens since 2020, the Indian Express reported.
All the Parliament canteens and the Central Hall’s food outlets will serve millet dishes. According to sources, the other outlets in the complex will also have at least one dish each of millet. Montu Saini said that the new menu features healthy options and that the addition of jaggery in the dessert dishes was a part of the initiative.
The government is trying to help small farmers by promoting millets in the country. The country’s production of millets has gone down to 15.92 million tonnes in 2021 from 21.32 million in 2003. It is one of the top five exporters of food grains in the world. In 2021, India exported over $64.5 million worth of millets, which is more than double the previous year’s total. The major millet-producing states include Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, and Maharashtra.
Small-seeded grasses known as millets are composed of jowar, ragi, kutki, kodo, sanwa, cheena, kuttu or buckwheat and amaranth. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)of the United Nations, organised an opening ceremony for the International Year of Millets – 2023 (IYM2023) in Rome, Italy.