My first taste with thinai arisi (foxtail millet) is when I was 11 years old. Yes, I remember it fondly till date. One of our family friends from the nearby village brought a bag of these. He also explained the process of cleaning it before we cook it. He said it has some 7 layers of thin skin that needs to be removed by hand pounding. Good God he bought the bag after all these processing and hence it made us feel that it s a precious grain.
Yes, by taste its real precious. Amma made a wonderful payasam using it. I still have that taste lingering in my mind. Last month Amma again bought a bag of this. I was so surprised and hence requested her to make the same payasam. But by the time I give her another reminder she had roasted it and ground it to a fine powder having something else in mind. But because of the 7 layered skin or whatever we need to sift it several times to have a smooth flour.
But the paniyarams she made did not disappoint us at all. They were melt in a mouth kind with a crusty outer layer and soft inside but it was very filling. If you could eat two and have a glass full of milk you will end up having a filling breakfast.
Altogether we loved it and stays well without refrigeration for 3 days. Will give the recipe here.
Foxtail millet flour (roasted and ground and sifted for a smooth texture) – 1 Cup
Yogurt / fresh curds – 1/2 cup (or more)
Jaggery – 1/2 cup
Salt – 1 pinch
Baking soda – 1 pinch
cardamom seeds powdered – 1/4 teaspoon
How to make it ?
In a vessel sift the foxtail millet flour, salt, baking soda. Add jaggery and mix well. Beat the curds to make it smooth and add it to the flour mix a tablespoon at a time and mix well. You might need just little more or less of the curd/yougurt specified here. Until you get a batter which is a bit heavy than a lava. It should not flow but should be in a dropping consistency.
Now you can go ahead and cook it like this or like Amma heat up the peanut oil in a thick kadai till smoking hot and drop this batter in spoonfuls and deep fry them to golden color. Once the batter is dropped in oil reduce the heat to low and cook till the fritters look like in the picture. Sorry about the very bad picture quality this is because I took it from my mobile phone. I did not even had the patience to wait till my camera arrived to me as I don’t know when we will make this again. Enjoy it with a cup of tea as an evening snack too!