Have you heard of little millet? This small but mighty grain should definitely be on your radar when it comes to healthy eating, as it packs a powerful punch of energy, protein, fiber and micronutrients like folate, magnesium, and potassium. They’re also easy to incorporate into your meals and add a delightful twist to your favourite dishes.

Millets, long overshadowed by rice and wheat, are making a comeback in the kitchens and hearts of health-conscious individuals. You might not have heard of ‘samai’ or little millet before, a type of millet that’s smaller than the others but has had quite the impact on the Indian diet. Despite its size, samai is packed with fiber and protein and boasts a low glycemic index, making it an excellent choice for diabetics as well. Additionally, these small millets are rich in iron and phosphorus, offering a number of unique benefits that we'll explore in-depth later in this article. So, stick around and learn more about this amazing superfood!

Per 100g of Little Millets Nutrition

If you’ve ever wondered what is little millet made up of, it has a splendid nutritional profile, which we’ve listed below:

Nutrient Quantity per serving of 100g
Protein 10.13g
Total 3.89g
Total dietary fiber 7.72g
Carbohydrates 65.55g
Energy 346 kcal
Niacin (B3) 1.29g
Iron 1.26mg
Phosphorus 220mg

In the next section, we cover little millet benefits and why they’re worth incorporating into our meals.

Health Benefits of Little Millets

Small in size, but big on nutrition, here are a few incredible little millet benefits you can derive:

1. Excellent antioxidant:

Little millets are amazing sources of antioxidants namely polyphenols, phenolic compounds, tannins, and flavonoids. These antioxidants act against harmful molecules called free radicals in our body and ensure they do not cause damage to our cells. Thus, they play an essential role in boosting health by combating diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cataract, cancers, inflammation, and gastrointestinal problems that are often associated with free radicals.

2. Diabetic friendly:

One of the main benefits of little millets is their impressively low glycemic index. In simple words, this means that when consumed, little millet slows down the digestion of carbohydrates due to its high fiber content. Glucose thus enters the blood more slowly and helps regulate blood sugar levels, preventing a sugar spike. Little millet is definitely a great option for diabetics who are looking for a healthy and delicious food option.

3. Helps maintain weight:

Thanks to the high levels of protein and fiber in these small millets, you will feel fuller for a longer time and be less likely to snack throughout the day. And that's not all - little millets are also a great source of niacin, which can help curb cholesterol levels. With its low calorie count and beneficial antioxidants, a samai-based diet is an excellent way to maintain a balanced diet and achieve your weight management goals.

4. Packed with other nutrients:

When it comes to little millet nutrition, it clearly packs a big punch! High in amino acids like cysteine and methionine, as well as lysine, little millet is packed with the building blocks of protein.

What's more, it boasts impressive levels of phosphorus, which can play a crucial role in how the body utilises carbohydrates and fats while also supporting the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues. With the added bonus of iron, little millets are particularly vital for processes like haemoglobin production, a key protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all corners of the body.

The countless little millet health benefits may just be the missing puzzle piece in your healthy eating routine. Now, let’s look at different ways we can cook these millets.

How to Cook and Eat Little Millets


Soaking grains is popular in many Indian households. This method may also help with reducing the cooking time and easy digestibility. Little millet may be soaked for dishes like idli, pongal, and porridge.


Germination of these small millets improves the nutrient profile, making several micronutrients like calcium and iron more bioavailable. Little millet may be germinated, dried, and ground into a fine powder to use as malted porridges.


Fermentation is a widely used technique in food preservation, and helps bring out the different flavours and textures of millet. Fermented little millet can be used to make porridge by soaking it with water and allowing it to ferment for 2-5 days.


Popping the little millet in a pan over medium heat can make it a ready-to-eat convenience snack full of flavour and aroma.

Delicious Little Millets Recipes

Ever wondered how to leverage little millet health benefits in your everyday meals? Here are a few recipes to incorporate the best of these small millets:

Little Millet Upma:

This delectable recipe is a wellspring of fiber and protein, boasting a low glycemic index. Hence, it emerges as an excellent choice for individuals managing diabetes. Follow these easy steps:

  • Soak the little millets for 15 minutes
  • Heat oil in a kadai and fry with mustard and cumin seeds, hing, green chilies, ginger and curry leaves
  • Saute and add chopped onion along with vegetables of choice
  • Add water and bring to a boil; add in soaked samba & salt
  • Cook the upma with a lid for 10 minutes and enjoy this delicious dish

Little Millet Pulao:

This delicious meal is packed with the goodness of little millet as well as the added benefits of veggies that are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can prepare this dish by following these steps:

  • Soak the samai overnight
  • Heat oil in a pan, add onions and sauté for a few mins
  • Stir in ginger-garlic paste, chopped vegetables and spices of choice
  • Add water and previously soaked and drained samai to the pan
  • Cook for 15 mins for a hot lunch ready to be served

You can also try delectable dishes beyond these little millet recipes with other amazing millets, like the mouth-watering buckwheat (kuttu) idli chaat, buckwheat paneer paratha, farali medu vada (using sanwa millet). All of these dishes are both delicious and effortless to prepare.


To sum up, the benefits of little millet are plenty, making it an incredible food that deserves a spot in your pantry. It’s also very easy to incorporate into your meals, and with its distinct nutty flavour, it can add that extra punch to any kind of cuisine you’re cooking. All in all, adding a bit of samai to your meals is an easy and effective way to increase the nutritional value of your diet without spending too much time in the kitchen. So give it a try and reap these little millet benefits by adding this powerhouse to your daily diet.