The Politics of Food

Whats wrong with your/our food system- an 11 year old tells it like it is.

It is still not too late for us in India. Lets do what we can right now to stop the hideous trends towards industrial farming, genetically modified foods,processed foods, pesticides and fertilizers in all agriculture that will  eventually kill us.

Millet Upma and A Cookbook for Timbaktu


I recently visited the Timbaktu Collective in Andhra Pradesh. It was a wonderful experience. There was a strong feeling of " A place for everything and everything in its place" with the word everything replaced by "everyone".

Among the many other obviously successful iniatitives of TC is Timbaktu Organic, a producer owned co-operative of 1200 small holder farmers who have come together to engage directly with the market. They are trying hard to break out of mono-culture ( in this case- peanuts) and to rotate crops to ensure that the soil on  their lands remains healthy and fertile.

They are organic. Pests are controlled by other methods than chemical. They have a processing unit to clean and pack their own produce and make value added products like peanut butter, ragi malt and ragi biscuits.

When Mr Sairam of Dharani, their processing and marketing unit, asked me to come up with more recipes for their products I was more than happy to do so. The millets( small seeded grasses grown as  a cereal crop) have always interested me as a source of nutrition in our country.They grow well on lands which are unsuitable for wheat, rice and barley, in arid and semi arid areas, using very little water, and contribute in a very real way to keeping the poor of our country fed.

Besides being gluten free and relatively non-allergenic, millets are a good source of calcium,manganese, iron and methionine. They are high in protein- almost 15% and are definitely more healthy than rice.

Millets have a wonderful nutty flavour and great texture so I have enjoyed testing and tasting the following productions . They will now be part of "The Timbaktu Cookbook". Look for links on the left.


1. Foxtail Millet Semolina Uppma


1 ½ cups Timbaktu Organic Foxtail Millet Semolina/ rawa

3 tsp Timbaktu Organic Peanut Oil

3 tsp ghee

1 tsp mustard seeds

A pinch of asafoetida/hing

2 dried red chillies

15 curry leaves

1“ piece ginger sliced fine

1 green chilli

1 onion sliced fine

2 cups finely cut vegetables (Carrots, beans, red or green pepper, spring onions)

500 ml water

Salt to taste.

1 handful chopped green coriander

1 lime quartered.

Dry roast the semolina for 8 minutes. Do not let it brown.

Heat the oil and ghee and pop mustard seeds. Add the asafoetida and red chillies, stir once and add the green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and onions. Fry for a few minutes. Add the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes more.

Add the water and salt and bring to the boil. Pour in the roasted semolina and stir continuously till the water has almost dried up and there are no lumps. Cover and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with a slice of lime.