Giving Compass' Take:

• Food Tank interviews Indian chef Anahita Dhondy who cooks with millets, providing people with an opportunity to discover how beneficial smart foods are for their health, farmers, and the planet.

• Smart foods are highly nutritious and climate-resilient, and these traits allow them to address issues related to poor diet, poverty, and climate change.

• Here's an article on empowering Kenyan women with nutrition and smart food education. 

Since the moment Anahita N. Dhondy—Chef Partner at SodaBottleOpenerWala, Cyber Hub Gurgaon in India—discovered the benefits of millets, she has been devoted to advocating for these traditional grains. “It is so important,” Dhondy says to Food Tank. “[Traditional grains] are good for yourself, good for farmers, and most importantly, good for the planet. You don’t want [agricultural] areas to be completely barren. And these crops actually put nutrition back into the soil.”

Traditionally, Indians have consumed millets as pilau, porridge, and bread. In recent years, though, millets have been considered “not cool enough as an ingredient,” according to Dhondy. Millets take longer to cook than other grains, and preparing a traditional dish can often be a long and tedious process. “Now the number of kilos of millets that are produced has gone down terribly because people are not cooking with it anymore,” Dhondy tells Food Tank. “We have kind of lost touch with these ingredients.”

“I try to make [cooking with traditional grains] a little simpler because I know people don’t have as much time than they did earlier,” Dhondy says. She tries to develop recipes that are relatable for young audiences and easy to prepare. She cooks a couscous-like millet salad as well as millet and okra salad: a few of her favorite recipes. Amaranth and mango halva, another one of her favorites, appears on her menu when mango is in season. “There is a lot you can play around with,” Dhondy says. “When [people] can taste and try it [in the restaurant], then they can go back and create those dishes at home or they can buy ingredients.”

Read the full article on smart recipes by Min Hyun Maeng at Food Tank.