Foxtail Millets (Thina) Superfood: Nutrition, Benefits, Recipe & More

Millets have always been part of our millennial’s diet and nutrition for more than 8000 years until new varieties of cuisines were born on our land. Indian kitchens have evolved so much but are finally finding their way back to their roots. Foxtail millets are the second most widely grown varieties of millets in India, and this widely accessible, gluten-free, and highly nutritious food deserves its place on our shelf. This article will explain everything you need to know about the foxtail millet, also known as thinai (Hindi: Kangni / Kakum), its benefits, recipe, and more.   

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What are millets?

Millets are small round-shaped grains found mostly in India, Nigeria, and other Asian and African countries. It is mostly found to be used as bird food but is finding its way back into human recipes due to its health benefits. Millets differ in size and color and are mainly found in 6 varieties among others, namely Varagu, Saamai, Kambu, Ragi, Kuthiravali, and Ragi.   

What are millets? different types

What is a foxtail millet?

The foxtail millet or Kangni / Kakum (Hindi) is a type of small-sized millet that is found in light yellow-brown color. It is found in different names in different areas of India, Kangni in Hindi, Korralu in Telugu, Thinai in Tamil, Thina in Malayalam, and Priyangu in Sanskrit. Foxtail millets are a superfood, found to be highly nutritious and rich in vitamin B12. They are also found to be a good source of protein, carbs, dietary fiber, good fats, calcium, lysine, thiamine, iron, and niacin. 

What is a foxtail millet?

What are the health benefits of the foxtail millet?

Having explained the nutritious contents of the foxtail millet, let’s look at some of the top health benefits this nutrition would give us. 

  • Aids in weight loss
  • Improves digestion 
  • Strengthens bones
  • Improves nervous system 
  • Boosts cardiac health 
  • Increases immunity 
  • Reduces bad cholesterol 

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Can we eat foxtail millets every day?

Millets are highly recommended to be part of our daily nutrition. An article in The Hindu shows that millets should be part of our daily diet structure due to their high nutrition, non-glutinous (non-sticky), and are not acid-forming properties. 

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Are quinoa and foxtail millet the same?

Quinoa is much different than foxtail millets, even though they both provide similar levels of nutrition. They both belong to the family of grains but quinoa is harvested from a plant called Goosefoot and belongs to the family of spinach and beetroots. That being said, Quinoa deserves its own complete article explaining its health benefits, which I shall share in another article shortly. 

Are quinoa and foxtail millet the same?

Is foxtail millet better than rice?

Rice is one of the most widely used food choices in India and is consumed in many varieties including Dosas and Idilies. Rice is definitely a quick source of energy and carbs, but research shows that it is also high in glycemic index (GI), thereby contributing to high levels of diabetes and weight gain. Foxtail millets, alternatively are gluten-free and uphold a huge variety of health benefits along with it. I personally suggest replacing rice with either millets or other food sources if you are looking for weight loss.   

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How To Soak And Cook Foxtail Millet?

Foxtail millets are stubborn small grains and it can get tricky to make them consumable if you haven’t before. Here is an easy way to soak and cook the foxtail millet you can try out at home. 

Ingredients used : 

  1. 150gm of foxtail millet (1cup)
  2. 250ml water
  3. ½ tbsp salt

Steps to cook :

Step 1: wash the millets in a bowl and sieve it 

Step 2: Soak the millets in water for 30minutes

Step 3: Boil the soaked millets with salt 

Step 4: Sieve the millets (add ghee to taste if needed)

Step 5: Cook it in a frying pan for about 12minutes, stirring occasionally

Easy meal recipe with foxtail millet

Simple Foxtail Millet Pulao recipe 

Easy meal recipe with foxtail millet

Ingredients used : 

  1. 150gm of foxtail millet (1cup)
  2. 1 carrot
  3. 1 potato 
  4. 4 beans
  5. 1 small cup peas
  6. Salt 
  7. 2 tablespoon olive oil
  8. ½ tablespoon garam masala
  9. ½ tablespoon ginger garlic paste

 Steps to cook :

Step 1: Cook the foxtail millets using the previous steps

Step 2: Take a frying pan, add the oil, chopped vegetables, and ginger garlic paste

Step 3: Add a little water and cook it slowly, add salt to taste

Step 4: Add the cooked millets and mix 

Step 5: Serve hot

It is as easy as that, the carrot provides beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K, antioxidants, and potassium. The potato provides good carbs and fiber. The beans provide calcium and iron. The ginger-garlic paste helps with digestion and enhances the taste. Added with the benefits of the foxtail millets, this meal is a perfect addition to your everyday nutrition.  


Who should not eat millets?

Millets are found to have high contents of amino acids, therefore if you are facing intestinal disorders, then foxtail millets or any sort of millet form are not recommended for you. It is highly recommended that you consult a dietician or nutritionist or doctor if you are facing such an issue. 

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A grainy conclusion 

Foxtail millets are loaded with protein, fiber, and a whole range of vitamins and nutrients. They help control blood sugar, boost immunity, and control weight. They are the perfect addition to your daily meal structure and will be a wonderful replacement for any meals you wish to avoid