Corn dishes dominate the G20 Summit dinner menu, here are the benefits of the superfood

Indian President Draupadi Murmu hosted the official G20 gala dinner in Delhi on Saturday at the Bharat Mandapam where world leaders including US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the First -Japanese Minister Fumio Kishida and other delegates were served meals in silver and gold-plated utensils while the three-course menu of vegetarian food with different types of corn celebrated an autumn of abundance.

One of the corn-based dishes served at the international media center during the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, September 9, 2023. When the Group of 20 leaders dined for dinner, they were in for a cultural treat : elegant versions of a humble, earthy grain that is a staple for millions of Indians. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The drinks menu included Kashmiri kahwa, Darjeeling tea and the famous South Indian filter coffee, while sides included Mumbai’s famous “Pao” or soft rolls, as well as Bakarkhani from Mughlai cuisine, but the main course had corn kernels being the hero with corn oxtail leaf fries topped with yogurt and spicy chutney, Kerala red rice mixed with corn crunch and curry leaves, cardamom-scented corn pudding with fig and peach compote and jackfruit pastry served with glazed wild mushrooms.

With the UN declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millet, even remote millet farming communities across India have joined this Millet Movement, where farmers are now expanding from just Ragi (Millet), to Barnyard, Little Millet, Foxtail, Proso and Kodo.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Mini Sreenivasan, Founder and CEO of Annam Flour and Batter Solutions, shared that Ragi or millet is one of the most nutritious cereals and has the most calcium and potassium of all cereals and millets. The seeds are cheap, don’t require much fertilizer or water, and aren’t affected much by pests. This variety can be grown almost anywhere, even in mountainous areas, among other crops. The main benefit is that corn stores well, providing a long shelf life.

Mini Sreenivasan revealed that Barnyard millet is a resilient crop, not susceptible to climatic stresses or pests. It has greater nitrogen use efficiency compared to other cereal crops and can even be used to reverse soil contamination. This variety has a flavor similar to broken rice and has high levels of protein, calcium, iron, minerals and B vitamins. It is also low in carbohydrates and gluten-free, which makes it very beneficial for those with type II diabetes and heart problems. .

Pearl millet is a versatile millet that is used not only as a nutritious food, but also as animal feed and bioenergy. Mini Sreenivasan highlighted: It is a climate-resilient crop, adaptable to most environments, less susceptible to pests and diseases and less resource-intensive. It has an excellent nutritional profile, rich in magnesium for heart health and other micronutrients such as calcium, zinc and proteins.

Foxtail corn is one of the earliest cultivated crops in the world, dating back about 4,000 years. It is a dry season crop and is mainly grown in arid and semi-arid regions. Its short growing cycle and high nutritional profile make it a great crop for food security. It has lots of micronutrients and a remarkably high amount of vitamin B1, which can reduce the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, said Mini Sreenivasan.

Proso millet is a heat and drought resistant crop with a 60-100 day cycle and, according to Mini Sreenivasan, works very well for wheat-based rotation as it improves wheat productivity by controlling weeds and it is resistant to pests. Proso millet is rich in micronutrients and essential amino acids, which help with heart health and regulate insulin levels, among other health benefits. Proso is also grown as livestock feed due to its nutritional value and as a biofuel as it can be used to produce ethanol.

She said Kodo millet is a hardy crop with variations that are drought resistant for drier climates with rocky soil and that grows in wetter conditions, capable of growing in flood and marshy terrain. Kodo can also be grown in soils with few nutrients and without irrigation. Kodo is known as the best alternative to rice as it is rich in antioxidants, reduces blood sugar and cholesterol, and has anti-allergenic properties.

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