Varagu Rice (Kodo Millet): Benefits And Fasting Recipes



Published on: 04-Nov-2022


10 min read


Updated on : 02-Nov-2023




Amrita Sandhu


Varagu Rice (Kodo Millet): Benefits And Fasting Recipes

Varagu Rice (Kodo Millet): Benefits And Fasting Recipes

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Did you know that the production of Varagu rice in India started 3000 years ago? Read on to understand the benefits of Varagu rice and some recipes.

Varagu rice or Kodo millet is an excellent replacement for wheat and rice. People with diabetes can consume Varagu instead of rice as its carbohydrate content is lower than rice. Primarily grown in Nepal, Philippines, India, West Africa, Thailand and Vietnam, it is an excellent fibre source and contains many antioxidants and polyphenols. It is also popularly known as Kodri in Gujarati and Arka in Tamil.

Table Of Contents

1. Benefits Of Millet

2. How To Incorporate Varagu Rice Into Your Diet?

3. Varagu Rice Recipes For Fasting

4. Other Varagu Rice Recipes

5. Dietitian’s Recommendation

6. The Final Say

Benefits Of Millet 

Millets are popular all over the world for their excellent nutritional value. Adding millet to your diet means adding many nutrients like fibre, protein and iron, among others, to your diet! Besides its nutritional benefits, millets are a great option for people with diabetes. This versatile element is also suitable for people with gluten intolerance/celiac disease. Millet also promotes better digestion and helps you feel full for a lot longer, encouraging and aiding weight loss.

How To Incorporate Varagu Rice Into Your Diet?

You can make porridge, dosa, or idli out of Varagu rice. By adding vegetables and nuts, you can increase your nutritional value. According to the ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, one should consume about 270 gm of Cereals, including Nutri-Cereals (Millets). So, if you add millets, you can take 1/3rd (90-100gm of millets per day) of the recommended quantity. Varagu rice can be used in many lip-smacking recipes and is also popular in fasting recipes.

You may also read: Unpolished Millets: Types, Benefits And Nutritional Value

Varagu Rice Recipes For Fasting

1. Varagu Rice And Khajoor Pudding (Kheer) 

A delicacy made with natural sweeteners to cater to your sweet cravings during a fast with easy and natural ingredients.


  • Varagu rice - ¼ cup
  • Jaggery powder - ½ cup
  • Milk - 2 cups
  • Dates (chopped) - ¼ cup
  • Almond and pistachios chopped - 2 tbsp
  • Cardamom powder - 1/8 tsp

Preparation Method

1. Wash the varagu rice and set aside.

2. In a deep bowl, take the milk and let it boil once. Then add the jaggery powder and mix well. 

3. Add varagu rice and keep stirring it until the rice is cooked well.

4. Now add the chopped dates, cardamom powder and nuts and let it cook till the pudding gets thick and the varagu rice cooks properly.

5. Serve hot or cold.

2. Varagu Rice Appe

This varagu rice recipe is ideal for people who fast and want to eat healthily. This appe is cooked in very minimal oil and tastes delicious.


  • Varagu rice - ½ cup
  • Potatoes boiled - 1 big 
  • Sabudana (sago pearls) - ¼ cup
  • Chopped green chillies - 2-3 
  • Chopped coriander seeds - 2-3 tbsp
  • Yoghurt - 50gm
  • Jeera - ¼ tsp
  • Salt - for taste
  • Baking soda - ½ tsp

Preparation Method

1. Blend sago pearl and varagu rice together to make coarse sooji powder.

2. Take this powder in a deep bowl, add mashed potatoes, yoghurt, salt, green chillies, jeera, baking soda, and chopped coriander seeds, and mix well.

3. Add ½ of the water and mix well, then let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes.

4. After 15-20 minutes, check the batter and add water to make an idli-like batter.

5. Now heat the appe pan, brush all the compartments will oil and pour the batter in each of the compartments.

6. Let the appe cook from one side, then turn them upside down to cook until golden brown from both the sides 

7. Serve the appe with green coriander and mint chutney; it is a great fast recipe.

3. Varagu Rice Moong Dal Idli 

This protein and fibre-rich idli are easy, quick to make, and rich in vitamins that will keep you feeling full for longer.


  • Varagu rice - 2 cups
  • Moong dal (yellow) - ½ cup
  • Ghee - 1 tsp
  • Salt - for taste
  • Hing - ½ tsp
  • Veggies (bell peppers, broccoli, onion finely chopped) - ½ cup

Preparation Method

1. Soak varagu and moong dal in different vessels overnight.

2. In the morning, wash varagu rice and moong dal and blend them in a blender with hing, salt and other spices of your choice.

3. Add the veggies, mix well, and adjust the consistency by adding water to make idlis.

4. Now grease the idli maker with ghee, pour the batter in each compartment, and let the idli cook and serve with green chutney or sambar.

4. Vegetable Kodri With Cheese (Diabetes Friendly)

This is an easy and yummy diabetic-friendly recipe for adults and children that incorporates everyone’s favourite cheese.


  • Varagu rice - ½ cup
  • Chopped veggies (carrot, peas, spinach) - 1 cup
  • Oil - ½ tsp
  • Chopped garlic - 1 tsp
  • Chopped basil leaves - 4-5 
  • Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
  • Cornflour and milk mixture - ¼ cup
  • Mozzarella cheese - 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Cream - ½ tbsp
  • Hot water - 2.5 cups 

Preparation Method

1. Wash the varagu rice and set aside for 7-10 minutes. 

2. Take a pan, add oil, varagu rice and chopped vegetables (peas, carrot) and sauté for 3-4 minutes.

3. Now add garlic and sauté well for a few minutes.

4. Add hot water and salt, mix well and let the mixture boil until the varagu rice is cooked properly. You can also add water if required.

5. When the varagu rice is cooked, add basil leaves. Spinach chopped, green chillies, mozzarella cheese, cornflour, and milk mixture. Mix well, then add cream and mix well with sim flame. 

6. Adjust the salt if required and serve hot.

Dietitian’s Recommendation

They are prepared similarly to rice. They are a fantastic option when fasting. Millet is not a grain; it is a seed. Except for lysine, it is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus and amino acids. Millets should be a regular part of the diet for everyone concerned about their health and what they eat, as I constantly advise. Millets are relatively easier to digest. They are nutritive, non-glutinous (non-sticky) and do not produce any acids when consumed. It is a gluten-free quick breakfast dish available in various flavours for vrat or fast days.

The Final Say 

Varagu is the best replacement for rice as you can make tempting and delicious recipes, and a few of them are mentioned above. Apart from this, you will not find any difference in the texture between regular rice and Varagu rice. Therefore, it is excellent for people suffering from diabetes and can also be used in fasting recipes. Varagu also contains lower carbohydrate levels, making it a better choice when compared to regular rice.


1. Can pregnant women eat arka millet? 

As arka millet is heat-producing, it is advised to avoid it for pregnant women. 

2. Can kodo millet should be consumed during fasting? 

Yes, it can be consumed during fasting as it is not considered in grains. 

3. How does arka millet look like? 

Arka millet is a small round shape seed structure which is a little greyish to brown. 

4. Is quinoa and arka millet the same? 

No, they both are different. However, their nutritional content is almost the same, apart from the high protein content in quinoa compared to arka millet. 

5. Is kodo millet good for weight loss? 

Certainly, arka millet has a good amount of fibre, protein and significantly less fat content, making it a great option to eat during the weight loss journey. 

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