Types of Millets – An Exhaustive Guide

Types of Millets – An Exhaustive Guide

Packed with protein, fibre, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, and manganese, millet is a powerhouse of nutrients! Millet is a gluten-free superfood that has been a part of the Indian diet for a long time. In fact, southern and central India consumed millet daily until the Green Revolution brought wheat and rice into the spotlight and made them more accessible.

Millet is divided into two broad categories: 

  1. Naked Grains
    The types of millet that do not hold the tough and indigestible exterior husk are included in the naked grains category. These grains don't require processing once harvested and can be consumed after cleaning them properly.

  2. Husked Grains
    These indigestible seed-coated grains need to undergo mechanical processing, which was once done manually before being consumed. They are less popular than the naked grains since they are required to go through all the tough labour before consumption.

Different Types of Millets

Based on the two broad categories, you can find ten different types of millet:

  • Foxtail Millet

    Foxtail millet has its root in India and Northern China, where it is cultivated in abundance. It is named after the tapered clustered flower look it has. This dry crop is planted around the last week of May and takes up to 70 days to harvest. In India, this crop is grown in some northeast states along with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka.

    It is widely known that the ancient Ayurvedic text Mahodadhi, written by Sushena, mentions foxtail millet as sweet and astringent grains helpful in increasing Vata Dosha and balancing Kapha, Pitta, and blood vessels.

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  • Finger Millet

    Finger millet, popularly known as ragi, is an annual crop grown abundantly in India, Sri Lanka, and Ethiopia. This superfood is packed with nutrients that enhance digestion, slow ageing, and reduce the risk of heart disease. As the popularity of wheat and rice increased over the years, ragi, which ruled the Indian kitchens for 2000 years, became less popular. However, after UN FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation) stressed millet consumption for tackling malnutrition and other illnesses, finger millet made a comeback!

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  • Little Millet

    Known as shavan, sama, kutki, or moraiyo, little millet is enriched with minerals like zinc, iron, potassium, and calcium. Often substituted for rice, it is heavily consumed in South India. This vitamin B3-filled grain reduces cholesterol, supports fast metabolism, repairs tissues, and produces energy to keep you going throughout the day!

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  • Kodo Millet

    Kodo millet strengthens the nervous system. It is high in lecithin and is easily digestible. In ancient Ayurveda, kodo millet was used for medicinal, culinary, and therapeutic practices to heal wounds faster and beat fatigue. It is cold in nature; hence, it increases your Vata Dosha and balances your Kapha and Pitta Doshas.

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  • Barnyard Millet

    Barnyard millet is a small, white-coloured seed considered more nutritious than any other cereal grain. In India, babies of six to eight months are fed barnyard millet as kheer, and kids are given dosas and idlis made of this grain. Produced naturally in Uttarakhand, barnyard millet is rich in fibre, carbs, and protein, so if you are thinking of losing weight, including this grain in your diet is a great head start. Moreover, it is also an excellent source of phosphorous and calcium, that is great for building bones.

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  • Sorghum Millet

    Popularly known as jowar in India, sorghum millet is used to make rotis. This type of millet is filled with fibre, protein, and iron and is usually recommended for people who are intolerant to wheat. It contains policosanols that are meant to reduce your cholesterol levels. Sorghum millet is also an excellent alternative to all-purpose flour.

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  • Amaranth Millet

    Amaranth millet, or rajgira (royal grain) or Ramdana (God's grain), is a popular aspect of the Hindu fasting rituals and a part of the religious ceremonies. People who fast during Navratri and Ganesh Chaturthi replace grains with this millet in their diet. The farmers of India consider this a holy gift from the Gods, and hence it is also labelled as Ramdana. From sweet dishes like laddoo, kheer, halwa, and chikki to savoury puris and parathas, rajgira can be converted into various dishes and is considered versatile!

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  • Pearl Millet

    Pearl millet, or bajra, is the most commonly used kind of millet. Prepared in the form of khichdi or used to make rotis, bajra has been the culinary staple of India for thousands of years. Rajasthan is India's top producer of this nutritious crop since it requires extreme heat to grow. This unique crop is grown during peak summers and can withstand the harsh climate, low soil fertility, higher pH, drought, and low salinity.

  • Buckwheat Millet

    Used as fasting food in India, buckwheat millet is among the most popular gluten-free grain options. It is an incredible protein-rich pseudocereal. Pseudocereals are plants with seeds or fruits that are consumed as grains. Although buckwheat is not a type of wheat, the word is attached to its name because it is used as an alternative to wheat flour which undergoes minimal processing. It is enriched in vitamins, potassium, and fibre and has less saturated fats than oatmeal.

  • Broomcorn Millet

    Proso or broomcorn millet is a seasonal grass that can be grown in drought and extreme heat. It contains a low glycaemic index and is perfect for balancing your blood sugar levels. In some parts, this crop is used as birdseed.

Names of Millet in Different Languages

Millet has been a part of Indian history for a relatively long time. And since we live in a multilingual country, every part of our nation refers to types of millet in different names. Let's explore what kinds of millet are called in different Indian languages:

English Pearl Millet Finger Millet Foxtail Millet Kodo Millet Little Millet Barnyard Millet Sorghum Buckwheat Millet Amarnath Millet Broomcorn Millet
Oriya Bajra Mandia Kanghu/ Kangam/ Kora Kodua Suan Gurji Khira Juara - Kosala sag manji China Bacari bangmu
Hindi Bajra Nachani/ Mundua/ Mandika/ Marwah Kangni/ Kakum/ Rala Koden/ Kodra Kutki/ Shavan Jhangora/ Sanwa Jowar Kuttu Ramadana, Rajgira Cena, Barri
Tamil Kambu Kezhvaragu/ Kelvaragu/ Keppai/ Ragi Thinai Varagu Saamai Kuthiravali (Kuthiraivolly) Cholam - Keerai vidai Pani varagu
Telugu Sajjalu Ragula/ Ragi Chodi Korra Arikelu/ Arika Sama/ Samalu Udalu, Kodisama Jonna Bukvit Thotakoora ginjalu Variga
Kannada Sajje Ragi Navane Harka Saame/ Save Oodalu Jola Huruli Danthu beeja Baragu
Malayalam Kambam Panji Pullu Thina Koovaragu Chama Kavadapullu Cholam - - -
Marathi Bajri Nagli/ Nachni Kang/ Rala Kodra Sava/ Halvi/ Vari - Jowari/ Jondhala Bataravhita Chaulai beej Vari
Punjabi Bajra Mandhuka/ Mandhal Kangni Kodra Swank Swank Jowar Ba’ikavata Cavali biya Cheena
Gujarati Bajri Nagli/ Bavto Kang Kodra Gajro/ Kuri - Jowari/ Juar Biyam satheno dano Rajgaro Cheno
Bengali Bajra Marwa Kaon Kodo Sama Shyama Jowar Ba’ikavata Amaratba bijja Cheena

What is the Nutritional Value of the Different Types of Millet?

Known as the superfood, this highly nutritious rich in protein grain consists of high levels of good nutrients that offer multiple health benefits like:

  • Battling cancer cells
  • Promoting digestion
  • Strengthening bones
  • Balancing your blood glucose levels
  • Being an aid in weight loss

If you want to know more about the health benefits of consuming millet in your daily diet, read our blog about why millet is a healthy millennial must-have! Now, let's further dive into the nutritional value each type of millet provides:

Food gain Carbohydrates (g) Protein (g) Fat (g) Energy (KCal) Crude fiber
Finger millet 72.0 7.3 1.3 328 3.6
Kodo millet 65.9 8.3 1.4 309 9.0
Broomcorn millet 70.4 12.5 1.1 341 2.2
Foxtail millet 60.9 12.3 4.3 331 8.0
Little millet 67.0 7.7 4.7 341 341
Barnyard millet 65.5 6.2 2.2 307 9.8
Sorghum 72.6 10.4 1.9 349 1.6
Pearl Millet 67.5 11.6 5.0 361 1.2
Buckwheat Millet 33.5 5.68 1.04 - 4.5
Amarnath Millet 30 8 1 178 -

Where Can You Buy Millet From?

At Two Brothers Organic Farms, our organic farming ecosystem is certified by ECOCERT, and we are 4th generation farmers practising regenerative natural farming. Our community also works with small holding farmers that grow native heirloom crop varieties inspired by India's rich food heritage, folk wisdom, and traditional recipes! We take pride in producing organic and healthy millet!

Our millet products stay true to our promise of reviving native food, soil, and farmers. We bring whole and sprouted millet that are perfect for your traditional and contemporary recipes. We also offer breakfast cereal mixes and nutri bars with millet for a healthy diet.

  • Gluten-free whole grain
  • No additives, binders, fillers, and preservatives