Millet Dosa - Vegan and gluten-free food for Diabetics

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Healthy and diabetic friendly Millet Dosa

Over the last few decades, higher consumption of white rice and other refined grains has led to a spike in the number of diabetic cases in India. Studies show that diabetes is a growing challenge with an estimated 8.7% diabetic population in the age group of 20 and 70 years*. The key to managing diabetes is to live a healthy lifestyle i.e. exercising and following a regimented diet. The diet typically includes food like whole grains, green leafy vegetables, lean protein and healthy fat like nuts. Food that is high in fibre is very integral to the diet because fibre helps to slow down digestion. And when the food is broken down and absorbed by the body slowly, the blood sugar levels tend to stabilise.  This is why millet based meals - being gluten-free, vegan and high in fibre – are a no-brainer to include into the diet.

There are a number of meals that can be made with millets. Since millets are much lower on the glycemic index compared to white rice and bread, they are a great substitute for the white carbs consumed daily. Millet dosas, in particular, are a great option to substitute in place of regular dosas for breakfast (or any other meal too)! These dosas are high in fibre and gluten-free and taste just as good (if not better) than regular dosas.

Here is a simple recipe to make the dosa batter at home -

Note : If this entire process seems cumbersome, there are some great options available for ready-made millet dosa mix available. You can buy these and just add yogurt/milk and water to the mix and have dosa batter ready in no time!

What you will need

  1. Foxtail millets (you can use kodo millets or little millets instead or a combination of 2 or 3 millets too) – 1 cup
  2. Urad dal - 1/3 cup
  3. Methi seeds – 1tsp
  4. Poha/flattened rice flakes – 2 tbps
  5. Oil
  6. Salt as required

Steps to make Millet Dosa

  1. Wash the millets, urad dal and methi seeds thoroughly
  2. Soak the 3 in water for a minimum of 6-8 hours.
  3. Soak poha in water for 20 mins.
  4. Drain out the water and grind the soaked millets, dal, methi and poha together to a fine paste. Add water little by little, to achieve the right consistency of dosa batter. 
  5. Add salt to taste while grinding.
  6. Move the mixture into another container and let it ferment for another 6 hours. Make sure to keep the mixture in a warm (not hot) place to aid in fermentation. If you live in a cooler place, fermentation could take a few hours longer too. (Make sure to place the mixture in a container that is large enough because the batter will rise as it ferments)
  7. After fermentation, your batter is ready to be made into a dosa. Add a little more water to the batter if required to make it into the right consistency to spread it easily on the pan.
  8. Heat the pan, and pour a ladle full of batter into the hot pan. Use the base of the ladle to spread out the batter on the pan.  (The use of rice flakes will help at this stage to ensure that the dosas are thin and crisp!)
  9. Add oil (if required) along the edges of the dosa, wait for one side to cook thoroughly to a golden brown colour, before flipping the dosa to let the other side cook.
  10. Serve hot with sambar or chutney.

Just remember that living with diabetes should not stop you from living your life and enjoying good food. There are a number of millet-based recipes you can try, that is not only tasty but will also help you manage your diabetes efficiently.

*based on WHO findings in 2019