Gluten Free

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.

Rice and Khus /Poppy seed cake

As promised another rice flour recipe. This one is simple and delicious.


1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup mawa

1/2 cup grated coconut

1/2 cup khus-khus / poppy seed

1/2 cup ghee
2 cups sugar
Saffron / cardomom/ nuts (optional)

Roast the flour in a tablespoon of  ghee. Mix in the mawa and set aside. Heat the sugar and cook till it becomes a syrup  and gets a string like consistency.
Grind the coconut and poppy seed into a fine paste in a blender or a coffee grinder. Add the rice flour mixture and the coconut and khus paste to the sugar syrup. Add the rest of the ghee.  Keep cooking on a low flame till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
Spread on a greased plate or cake tin and garnish with nuts.
When cool cut and serve.

Almost Instant Savoury Rice pudding - Gluten Free



1 cup rice flour
1 cup sour yogurt/ curds/ dahi
1 1/2- 2 cups water
3/4  tsp salt

1 tbsp sesame / til oil
1 tsp split black lentils / urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds / rai
20 curry leaves / kari patta

2 green chillies, chopped fine
1 cup green coriander/ hara dhaniya chopped
1 " piece of ginger, grated
1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut
1 tablespoon grated carrot

Mix the water and dahi. Add salt. Soak the rice flour in the mixture.
Heat a kadhai and add the oil.  When hot add the mustard seeds and urad dal. Let the seeds sputter and the urad dal become sligthly yellow in colour before adding the green chillies, the curry leaves and grated ginger. Stir well and then pour in the rice mixture. Keep stirring vigorously so that the flour does not stick to the sides of the kadhai. Add  a tablepoon of the green coriander
Keep stirring and cook for 8- 10 minutes till most of the liquid has evaporated..
Decorate with the grated coconut,carrot and green coriander.
Serve hot.