Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Grain of the Indus Valley.

Between 2200-2000 BC the Indus Valley civilization faced a crisis- It experienced a climate change and with deficient monsoons, the agrarian economy was faltering. When the civilization witnessed a water crisis, they did something smart- they changed their eating habits- wheat and paddy (which are water guzzlers) were dropped from the menu and millet production saw a sharp uptick. It might be quite possible, that for centuries many of the people of Indus valley were on a gluten-free diet!

Scientist, studying Anthropology are stunned at how smartly the Harappans dealt with climate change. Millets consume a fraction of water than wheat and provide a much better source of nutrition. One of the largest cultivated millet at Harappa was 'Little millet' and I added a bit of imagination to history and churned out a recipe that a Harappan resident would have consumed 4000 years ago.

I made a Kichdi (gruel) of 'little millet', lentils, green peas and carrots peppered with spices that were found at Harappa and used by the cooks there. I used the modern day orange version of the carrot, while a Harappan cook may have used a black or purple wild Mesopotamian carrot.

Today, when the world is facing a water crisis, quality of food is deteriorating and our well being gets compromised, can't we do what the Harappan's did- Change what we eat?

Ah, our lunch had a bit more than a standard Indus valley main course. A small serving of Saurkraut and a bowlful of a colourful salad- made of Red, yellow and green Capsicum, Pomegranate, grapes, raisins, various nuts, and garnished with lime juice and mint.

The vanishing millets of the Indus civilization

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