Indian Grains with Names: 15 Grains with Unique Flavors and Nutritional Benefits

Discover the diverse world of Indian grains with names, each offering unique flavors and nutritional benefits. From the versatile quinoa to the fiber-rich amaranth, these grains are not only delicious but also packed with goodness for your body. Get ready to explore lesser-known gems like foxtail millet and sorghum that can add a healthy twist to your meals. Embrace the richness of Indian heritage through these wholesome grains that have been nourishing generations for centuries.

Indian Grains with Names
Indian Grains with Names

Join us as we delve into the top picks and hidden treasures of Indian grains with names. Scroll down to uncover insightful reviews and recommendations that will inspire you to incorporate these nutritious grains into your daily diet.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore a variety of Indian grains like Amaranth, Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Quinoa, and Buckwheat for their unique flavors and health benefits.
  • Incorporate Sorghum, Foxtail Millet, and Pearl Millet into your diet as gluten-free alternatives rich in nutrients like iron and fiber.
  • Experiment with Finger Millet, Kodo Millet, and Little Millet to add diversity to your meals while enjoying their high protein content.
  • Consider including Barley in your diet for its versatility in dishes like soups, salads, and stews, offering a good source of dietary fiber.
  • Try using Barnyard Millet and Proso Millet in various recipes to benefit from their low glycemic index and high levels of antioxidants.
  • Embrace the nutritional richness and culinary possibilities of these Indian grains to enhance your diet with a range of essential nutrients and flavors.

1. Amaranth

Amaranth, known as “Rajgira” in Hindi, “Thotakoora” in Telugu, and “Arai Keerai” in Tamil, is a versatile grain that offers a plethora of nutritional benefits. It is a good source of magnesium and antioxidants, making it a valuable addition to your diet.

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Rich in magnesium, essential for muscle and nerve function.
  • Packed with antioxidants, protecting cells from damage.

Traditional Recipes:

  1. Amaranth Pancakes: A delightful twist to your breakfast routine.
  2. Amaranth Salad: A refreshing and nutritious meal option.

In Indian cuisine, Amaranth is often used in various dishes like porridge, ladoos (sweet balls), and curries. Its versatility allows you to incorporate it into different recipes, adding a nutty flavor and unique texture.

Including Amaranth in your diet can help boost your overall nutrient intake and contribute to a balanced diet. Whether you enjoy it in salads or use it for cooking delicious pancakes, this ancient grain brings both taste and health benefits to the table.

2. Jowar

Jowar, also known as sorghum, holds a significant place in Indian cuisine and diets. This gluten-free grain is a staple for many people across the world.

Indian Grains with Names Jowar
Indian Grains with Names Jowar

Benefits: Jowar is a rich source of iron and can be a crucial part of a balanced diet to help combat iron deficiency. It aids in weight loss due to its high fiber content, keeping you full for longer periods.

Health Benefits: Consuming Jowar can lower the risk of heart diseases as it helps regulate cholesterol levels. Its diverse composition offers a comprehensive view of essential nutrients that contribute to overall well-being.

Incorporating into Meals: There are various ways to include Jowar in your meals. You can use it to make rotis, bhakri (flatbread), porridge, or even in salads for added nutrition.

3. Bajra

Bajra, also known as pearl millet, is a staple Indian grain that offers nutritional richness and versatility in cooking.

  • Cultural Significance: In Hindi-speaking regions of India, Bajra holds a special place in traditional cuisine, being used to make rotis, which are a popular flatbread.
  • Nutritional Value: Compared to other grains like rice and wheat, Bajra is rich in iron, making it beneficial for individuals with anemia. It also has a low glycemic index, making it suitable for those managing blood sugar levels.

Not only a source of essential nutrients but also plays a crucial role in the agricultural landscape of India. Farmers across various states cultivate due to their ability to thrive in arid and semi-arid conditions. This resilience makes a valuable crop that contributes to food security.

In Indian households used it in various dishes beyond just rotis. It can be ground into flour to make dosa, a savory pancake enjoyed across the country. The grain’s adaptability and nutritional benefits have made it a popular choice for health-conscious individuals seeking diverse options in their diet.

Considering its cultural significance, nutritional value, and culinary versatility, incorporating it into your diet can offer a wholesome experience that celebrates tradition while supporting overall well-being.

4. Ragi

Ragi, also known as finger millet, is a nutrient-dense grain that has been a staple in Indian households for generations. This ancient grain is rich in manganese, an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in supporting overall health.

Health Benefits:

  • High in Calcium: Ragi is an excellent source of calcium, making it beneficial for bone health.
  • Rich in Fiber: Its high fiber content aids digestion and helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
  • Gluten-Free: Ideal for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
  • Low Glycemic Index: Suitable for diabetics as it helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Traditional Uses:

  • In Telugu cuisine, Ragi is often used to prepare traditional dishes like Ragi Sangati and Ragi Mudda.
  • It is commonly consumed as Ragi malt, a nutritious drink popular among all age groups.

Unique Recipes:

  1. Ragi Dosa: A crispy and savory pancake made from fermented ragi batter.
  2. Ragi Mudde: A wholesome dish where ragi flour is cooked with water to form soft balls, typically served with sambar or chutney.
  3. Ragi Kheer: A delicious dessert made by cooking ragi flour with milk and sweeteners like jaggery or sugar.

Including Ragi in your diet not only adds variety but also brings along a plethora of health benefits. Embrace this versatile grain to elevate your culinary experience while nourishing your body with essential nutrients.

5. Quinoa

Quinoa, a superfood gaining popularity in Indian cuisine, offers a unique blend of essential nutrients. This ancient grain is a great alternative for those seeking a nutritious addition to their diet.

Indian Grains with Names Quinoa
Indian Grains with Names Quinoa
  • Packed with healthy fats, phosphorus, and proteins, quinoa stands out as a versatile ingredient suitable for various culinary creations.
  • Its light, fluffy texture and mild flavor make it an excellent choice for fusion recipes that marry traditional Indian spices with modern health trends.
  • Quinoa’s high protein content makes it a preferred choice for vegetarians and vegans looking to meet their daily protein needs.

In Indian households, one can find innovative dishes like quinoa pulao, quinoa upma, or even quinoa biryani. These dishes not only cater to health-conscious individuals but also introduce a new dimension to classic Indian cuisines.

Quinoa’s adaptability allows it to blend seamlessly with Indian flavors, creating dishes that are both delicious and nutritious. Whether used in salads, soups, or main courses, quinoa adds a wholesome touch to every meal.

With its impressive nutritional profile and culinary flexibility, quinoa has carved out a special place in the hearts of those looking to embrace healthier eating habits without compromising on taste.

6. Buckwheat

Buckwheat, known as “Kuttu” in Hindi and “Kadambuttu” in Kannada, is a versatile grain with numerous health benefits.

Indian Grains with Names Buckwheat
Indian Grains with Names Buckwheat

Gluten-free: Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent choice for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Nutrient-rich: This whole wheat is packed with essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, contributing to a balanced diet.

Culinary diversity: Across different Indian states, Buckwheat is used in various traditional recipes. In Himachal Pradesh, “Kuttu ki Roti”, a flatbread made from Buckwheat flour, is a popular choice during fasting periods. In Sikkim, “Phapar ko Roti”, another Buckwheat-based dish, is enjoyed for its unique flavor and nutritional value.

Regional variations: The versatility of Buckwheat shines through in dishes like “Kuttu Ka Halwa” from North India and “Kuttu Dosa” from South India. These regional variations showcase the adaptability of Buckwheat in Indian cuisine.

Health benefits: Incorporating Buckwheat into your diet can aid in digestion, promote heart health, and provide sustained energy levels throughout the day.

Embrace the goodness of Buckwheat by exploring these diverse recipes from different Indian states and reaping its nutritional benefits!

7. Barley

Barley, a versatile whole grain, holds a significant place in Indian culinary traditions. Known for its nutty flavor and chewy texture, it offers a range of health benefits that make it a popular choice in various dishes.

Indian Grains with Names Barley
Indian Grains with Names Barley

Health Benefits:

  • Rich in fiber, barley aids in digestion and helps maintain gut health.
  • Contains essential carbohydrates and protein, making it a nutritious addition to meals.
  • High in copper, barley contributes to overall well-being and immune function.

Cultural Significance:

  • Widely used in Indian cuisine, barley is often incorporated into traditional recipes like soups, stews, and porridges.
  • Considered a staple food in many regions, barley provides an alternative to other grains due to its unique taste and texture.


  • Enjoy savory dishes like barley khichdi or sweet treats like barley kheer for a delightful culinary experience.
  • Experiment with barley flour in baking or use whole barley grains in salads for added texture and flavor.

Incorporating barley into your diet not only diversifies your meals but also offers a range of nutritional benefits essential for maintaining a balanced diet.

8. Sorghum

Rich source of nutrients, Sorghum holds significant historical importance in Indian agriculture. This drought-resistant grain has been a staple for centuries, thriving in arid regions and contributing to food security.

Health benefits of Sorghum consumption are vast. It is gluten-free, rich in antioxidants, high in fiber, and packed with essential minerals like iron and phosphorus. Sorghum consumption can aid in managing blood sugar levels and improving digestive health.

Traditional Sorghum-based dishes vary across different Indian states. In Maharashtra, Bhakri made from Sorghum flour is a popular choice. In Karnataka, Jolada Roti is a traditional flatbread prepared from Sorghum flour. These dishes not only showcase the versatility of Sorghum but also highlight its cultural significance in Indian cuisine.

In Rajasthan, Sorghum is used to make the famous Bajra Khichdi, a nutritious one-pot meal. Similarly, in Gujarat, Sorghum flour is used to prepare the delicious Thepla, a spiced flatbread perfect for breakfast or snacks.

Exploring the diverse culinary landscape of India reveals how Sorghum, as a rich source of nutrition, has seamlessly integrated into traditional recipes across the country.

9. Foxtail Millet

Foxtail Millet, also known as “Kangni” in Hindi, is a nutrient-dense ancient grain with numerous health benefits.

  • Rich in nutrients: Packed with fiber, protein, and essential minerals like iron and magnesium.
  • Gluten-free alternative: Ideal for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Sustainable farming practices associated with Foxtail Millet make it an environmentally friendly choice.

  • Water-efficient crop: Requires significantly less water compared to other grains like rice.
  • Drought-resistant: Thrives in semi-arid regions, contributing to sustainable agriculture practices.

Innovative ways to incorporate Foxtail Millet into your diet can add variety and nutrition to your meals.

  • Versatile ingredient: Use it in porridge, salads, stir-fries, or even as a rice substitute.
  • Nutritious snacks: Make crispy dosas or savory upmas for a healthy twist.

With its nutritional profile and eco-friendly cultivation methods, Foxtail Millet stands out as a wholesome grain option that promotes both personal health and environmental sustainability.

10. Pearl Millet

Pearl Millet, known as “Bajra” in India, holds a significant place in Indian households due to its versatile nature and numerous health benefits.

  • Rich in Nutrients: Pearl Millet is a powerhouse of essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, and fiber.
  • Gluten-Free Alternative: It serves as a great gluten-free alternative, making it suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities.
  • Traditional Uses: In Indian households, Pearl Millet is commonly used to make rotis, which are a staple food in many regions.

Consuming Pearl Millet offers various health benefits:

  • Heart Health: Its high magnesium content helps maintain a healthy heart by regulating blood pressure.
  • Digestive Health: The fiber in Pearl Millet aids digestion and prevents digestive issues.
  • Weight Management: Being low in calories and rich in fiber, it supports weight management efforts effectively.

Across different regions of India, Pearl Millet is used to prepare diverse dishes:

  1. In Rajasthan, Bajra Khichdi is a popular dish made with pearl millet and lentils.
  2. Maharashtra’s famous Bajra Bhakri is a flatbread made from pearl millet flour.
  3. Gujarat’s Bajra Rotla is another variation of flatbread enjoyed widely across the state.

Embracing Pearl Millet not only adds variety to your diet but also contributes significantly to your overall well-being.

11. Finger Millet

Finger Millet, also known as Ragi, stands out for its exceptional nutritional profile. This gluten-free grain is a powerhouse of calcium, essential for bone health, and iron, crucial for blood production. It is a rich source of fiber aiding in digestion and promoting satiety.

Indian Grains with Names Finger Millet
Indian Grains with Names Finger Millet

In Indian cuisine, Finger Millet holds significant cultural importance. It is a staple in many regional dishes across the country, especially in the southern states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The versatility of Ragi allows it to be used in various forms such as flour, whole grains, or even as a porridge.

Key Features:

  • High calcium and iron content
  • Gluten-free
  • Rich in fiber

Cultural Significance:

  • Integral part of traditional Indian cuisine
  • Widely used in regional dishes

Traditional Recipes:

  1. Ragi Mudde – A nutritious ball made from cooked Finger Millet flour.
  2. Ragi Dosa – A savory pancake made from fermented Ragi batter.
  3. Ragi Porridge – A wholesome breakfast option popular among all age groups.

Including Finger Millet in your diet not only adds variety but also provides essential nutrients beneficial for overall health and well-being.

12. Kodo Millet

Kodo Millet, also known as Varagu in Tamil, is a nutrient-dense ancient grain that offers various health benefits.

  • Gluten-Free Superfood: Kodo Millet is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent alternative for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
  • Rich in Nutrients: Packed with essential nutrients like fiber, iron, and antioxidants, Kodo Millet supports overall health and well-being.
  • Low Glycemic Index: With a low glycemic index, this grain helps regulate blood sugar levels, making it a suitable choice for diabetics.

Cultivating Kodo Millet brings about significant environmental advantages:

  • Water-Efficient Crop: Requiring minimal water compared to other grains like rice, Kodo Millet is a sustainable option in water-scarce regions.
  • Drought-Resistant: Its ability to thrive in semi-arid conditions makes it a resilient crop that can withstand droughts better than many other grains.

When incorporated into dishes, Kodo Millet adds a unique touch:

  • Distinct Nutty Flavor: Kodo Millet has a mild nutty flavor that enhances the taste of various recipes like pilafs, porridges, and baked goods.
  • Delicate Texture: The texture of dishes made with Kodo Millet is light and fluffy, offering a pleasant eating experience.

13. Little Millet

Little Millet, also known as Kutki or Samai, is a nutrient-dense grain that offers a plethora of health benefits. This tiny grain packs a powerful punch with its high fiber content, aiding in better digestion and weight management. Rich in iron and calcium, Little Millet is an excellent choice for those looking to boost their overall nutritional intake.

Diving into the culinary world, Little Millet shines brightly in various recipes. From savory upmas to fluffy idlis and crispy dosas, this versatile grain adds a unique texture and flavor to dishes. Its ability to absorb flavors makes it a favorite among chefs experimenting with different cuisines.

One of the most compelling aspects of Little Millet is its sustainability. Requiring minimal water and maintenance compared to other crops, cultivating Little Millet is environmentally friendly. This makes it a valuable option for sustainable agriculture practices, contributing positively to the ecosystem.

Incorporating Little Millet into your diet not only enhances your health but also supports sustainable farming methods. Whether you enjoy it as a breakfast cereal or use it in baking recipes, this tiny grain proves to be a versatile and eco-friendly addition to your pantry.

14. Barnyard Millet

Barnyard Millet, known for its gluten-free nature, is a versatile grain that offers numerous culinary possibilities. It stands out for its nutritional benefits, making it a popular choice in many Indian households.

Indian Grains with Names Barnyard Millet
Indian Grains with Names Barnyard Millet
  • Rich in fiber and essential nutrients, Barnyard Millet aids in digestion and provides sustained energy throughout the day.
  • With a low glycemic index, it helps regulate blood sugar levels, making it an excellent option for individuals managing diabetes.

In traditional Indian cuisine, Barnyard Millet features prominently in various regional dishes:

  • In South India, “Samai Sadam” or Barnyard Millet rice is a staple, often served with flavorful curries and chutneys.
  • In the North, “Sama Chawal” is a popular dish during fasting periods, offering a nutritious alternative to regular rice.

Adding to its appeal, Barnyard Millet can be used to create porridges, upmas, dosas, and even desserts like kheer. Its adaptability in both savory and sweet dishes makes it a versatile ingredient for culinary experimentation.

Whether you are looking to diversify your diet or reap the health benefits of this ancient grain, incorporating Barnyard Millet into your meals can be a delicious and nutritious choice.

15. Proso Millet

Proso Millet, also known as white millet, is a versatile and nutritious grain that offers a range of health benefits.

  • Gluten-Free Alternative: Proso Millet is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent choice for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
  • Rich in Nutrients: This grain is packed with essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, contributing to overall health and well-being.
  • Diverse Culinary Uses: From porridges to pilafs, Proso Millet can be used in various dishes to add a nutty flavor and unique texture.

Incorporating Proso Millet into your diet can lead to several health advantages:

  • Supports Digestive Health: The high fiber content in Proso Millet promotes healthy digestion and can help prevent digestive issues.
  • Boosts Heart Health: Studies suggest that regular consumption of millets like Proso Millet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Regulates Blood Sugar Levels: Due to its low glycemic index, Proso Millet helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels, making it suitable for diabetic individuals.

For those looking to experiment with new recipes, consider trying out these creative dishes using Proso Millet:

  1. Proso Millet Salad: Combine cooked millet with fresh vegetables, herbs, and a light vinaigrette for a refreshing and nutritious salad.
  2. Millet Porridge: Enjoy a warm bowl of creamy millet porridge topped with fruits and nuts for a wholesome breakfast option.

Adding Proso Millet to your meals not only introduces a unique flavor but also boosts the nutritional value of your diet. Incorporate this ancient grain into your cooking repertoire for a healthier lifestyle.

Final Remarks

I’ve covered a variety of Indian grains, each with its unique nutritional benefits. From amaranth to proso millet, these grains offer a diverse range of vitamins and minerals that can enhance your diet. Consider incorporating them into your meals for a healthy twist! Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements in your overall well-being. So, why not give these grains a try and see how they can positively impact your health? Eating nutritious foods doesn’t have to be boring; it can be delicious and exciting with the right ingredients. Take a step towards a healthier lifestyle today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common Indian grains with names?

Amaranth, Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Barley, Sorghum, Foxtail Millet, Pearl Millet, Finger Millet, Kodo Millet, Little Millet, Barnyard Millet, and Proso Millet are some common Indian grains.

Are these Indian grains gluten-free?

Yes, many of these Indian grains like Amaranth, Buckwheat, and Quinoa are naturally gluten-free options suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

How can I incorporate these Indian grains into my diet?

You can use them in various ways like making rotis (flatbreads), porridge, salads, soups or using them as a rice substitute to enjoy the nutritional benefits they offer.

Are these Indian grains nutritious?

Yes, these Indian grains are packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are beneficial for overall health and well-being when included in a balanced diet.

Where can I buy these Indian grains?

You can find these Indian grains in local grocery stores that specialize in ethnic foods or health food stores. They are also available online through various retailers for convenient purchase.

Cristina C. RD LDN

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