CHENNAI, INDIA – At a recent millet-inspired pop-up held at The Raintree Hotel, Chennai, diners were treated to a wide array of dishes that put the spotlight on the nutritious grain – millet. Organized in collaboration with the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, this three-day gastronomic event highlighted millet’s versatility in contemporary dishes.
The pop-up event that spanned from August 4 to 6, was orchestrated by Executive Chef Neeraj B. Among the culinary surprises were momos made of ragi flour and minced meat. This ingenious fusion not only appealed to the taste buds but also emphasized the grain’s adaptability in modern dishes.
Chef Neeraj’s innovative culinary skills shone through the menu. Some of the dishes that stood out were the laksa with a slight twist, barnyard millet biryani, and a caprese tart made with foxtail millet. Explaining his approach, Chef Neeraj mentioned, “Millets adapt to the flavors infused during cooking. This property has allowed us to experiment with unique combinations.” His mutton nalli nihari featured millet-based flour as the thickening agent, while dishes like okra with sorghum, kodo millet bisi bele bath, millet pasta, and pizza using multi-millet flour showcased the grain’s versatility.
However, it wasn’t just the main courses that celebrated millet; desserts also found a new twist. Sweet lovers indulged in treats like millet white chocolate truffle laddu, Jowar apple crumble, and a barnyard millet rabadi.
The M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, renowned for its emphasis on agricultural research and sustainable development, particularly in the spheres of food security and rural livelihood improvement, found a creative and delicious platform to emphasize the importance and versatility of millets in contemporary cuisine.
In all, the millet pop-up was not just a culinary delight but also a refreshing showcase of the potential that millets hold in the future of gastronomy.