Recently, the world might be raving about millet, particularly finger millet, but these grains have been a staple food of many Indian regions. Having a dedicated day, i.e., Mandia Divas, for finger millet or mandia, Odisha boasts its acquaintance with this ancient grain for time immemorial. Among its plethora of culinary fares, mandia jau is a topical name one can't ignore, as this time-honoured humble dish is a solution to summer wrath
For aeons of time, humans have been resorting to several grains and crops to protect against unbearable climatic heat. In this list, mandia has been a go-to food in the eastern region of India, particularly, Odisha. It is difficult to tell how old this traditional practice is. Mandia is the local name of finger millet in Odisha. The way this grain is intertwined with this Indian state's food habits indicates that the natives have followed a healthy lifestyle since time immemorial. Even today, in several tribal belts in Odisha, mandia, ragi, or finger millet, is the main food. Among an array of Odia culinary preparations around ragi, mandia jau needs a special mention. The recipe calls for minimal ingredients yet offers health in abundance.
The popularity of ragi or finger millet is so prevalent in Odisha that the state government has announced a dedicated day called Mandia Divas. It is celebrated annually on the first Thursday of the Hindu month of Margasira. It is the first state to honour millet with an earmarked date. The health benefits of mandia or finger millet have long been acknowledged in Odisha. As the summer sets in, locals highly depend on Mandia Jau to beat the heat.
Ingredients to make mandia jau, Image Source: me_and_rosei@Instagram
Mandia jau is famed for its ability to cool the body. Ideally, the locals of Odisha cook it at night and let it sit for 12 hours. The following day it is consumed as a cooling dish in the morning. Apart from its many health perks, mandia jau has been a proven solution to ward off the extreme climatic heat of summer.
Mandia Jau Recipe
Odia healthy finger millet porridge, Image Source: YouTube
Let it cool down. Eat it cold. Cook mandia jau in the night and allow it to sit overnight. Add a glass of homemade buttermilk to it the following day and devour it.