Recipes for Change: Millet upma & jackfruit curry

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Recipes for Change: Millet upma & jackfruit curry

Millets – grain-producing grasses that can be found on farms all over the world – were at risk of being forgotten entirely amid the rise of industrial agriculture. They’ve made a comeback in recent years, thanks to a growing awareness of their nutritional and environmental benefits among farmers, chefs and consumers.

This dish features foxtail millet, a climate-change-resilient variety that’s been grown by humans for 8 millennia. Besides being relatively impervious to drought, foxtail millet uses less water than crops like wheat or rice, is more nutrient-dense, and is equally (if not more) delicious!

Similarly, jackfruit is gaining recognition for its versatility, nutritive value and resilience in the face of drought and high temperatures. Here, Chef Zacharias blends it with traditional Indian spices to create a rich, savory curry.

Millet upma


130 g foxtail millet

30 ml sesame oil

1.5 g black mustard seeds

3 g split white urad dal

2 dried Kashmiri red chillies, roughly chopped

65 g onion, finely chopped

7.5 g ginger, finely chopped

8–10 fresh curry leaves

to taste salt

600 ml water

2.5 ml lemon juice (about one squeezed lemon)

15 g coriander leaves


  1. Soak the millet in water for at least an hour.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot with a heavy base, over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and dal and allow them to crackle.
  3. Once the dal is golden brown, add the dried red chilli and sauté for a few seconds.
  4. Add the onion, ginger, and curry leaves and sauté until the onions soften.  Then add the millet, salt and water.
  5. Place a pressure cooker lid over the pot. Allow to cook until the steam releases 5–6 times, then let the mixture simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat. Once the pressure has released naturally, uncover and stir gently.
  7. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Add the chopped coriander leaves and stir through.

Andhra jackfruit curry


250 g raw jackfruit

30 ml vegetable oil

2.5 g black mustard seeds

1.25 g fenugreek seeds

65 g sliced onions

8–10 curry leaves

2 green chillies, slit

30 g garlic, finely chopped

30 g ginger, finely chopped

2.5 g turmeric powder

15 g coriander powder

15 g red chilli powder

480 ml coconut milk

2.5–5 g tamarind paste

2.5–5 g jaggery

to taste salt


  1. Clean the raw jackfruit and cut into pieces 5 cm (2 in) thick. Place them in a bowl and cover with water to prevent discoloration.
  2. Heat the oil in a pot on medium heat. Add in the mustard and fenugreek seeds and cook until they begin to splutter.
  3. Add the sliced onions and sauté for another few minutes. Add the curry leaves, green chillies, garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute or so, or until the raw aroma is gone.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add in the turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Sauté the mixture for a few minutes.
  5. Add the jackfruit, season with salt, and sauté again for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut milk, tamarind paste and jaggery. Mix together, bring to a boil and simmer for 15–20 minutes, or until the jackfruit is cooked through.
  7. Taste and balance out the flavors, adding salt, tamarind paste and jaggery as needed.