Foxtail Ganji Annam with Fish Pickle

Fermented rice porridge is a staple consumed across several states in India, including Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh. In the Andhra region, soft cooked rice is fermented overnight with additions like yoghurt, onions, green chillies, and carom seeds. This porridge was traditionally consumed by farmers who would leave for the fields early in the morning and work in harsh sunlight, because it kept them full for long, and was known to shield against excessive summer heat. In this recipe, the rice has been substituted with foxtail millet. Serve it with fish pickle for a hearty and nourishing breakfast.
Foxtail millet 1 cup
Water 8 cups
Carom seeds 1 teaspoon
Medium onions (cut in half) 4
Green chillies (slit in half) 12 (adjust according to heat tolerance)
Yoghurt (whisked) 1 cup
Salt To taste
Tilapia (or any firm fish) 400 grams
Turmeric 1 ½ teaspoon
Red chilli powder ½ teaspoon
Whole red chillies (of a spicy variety) 12
Whole red chillies (Kashmiri or Byadagi) 8
Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
Whole peppercorns 1 teaspoon
Cloves 7
Cinnamon stick 1 ¼ inch
Fenugreek seeds ⅛ teaspoon
White vinegar ½ cup
Curry leaves 2 sprigs
Coconut oil ¾ cup
Garlic (finely chopped) 2 tablespoons
Ginger (finely chopped) 1 tablespoon
Green chillies (finely chopped) 4
Salt To taste

A mixie, one pan, a pressure cooker or deep bottomed pot, a large sieve, an earthen or glass bowl, a sanitised pickle jar, a spatula, and a spoon.


For the Ganji Annam


Soak the foxtail millet in water for an hour before beginning to cook.


Remove the excess water from the soaked millet, and add it to the pressure cooker along with four cups of water and salt to taste.


Turn on the stove and place the pressure cooker on the burner on a low to medium flame. Let the millet cook until the cooker releases four to five whistles.


Turn off the burner and let the cooker sit until most of the steam settles, then open it.


Pour the remaining four cups of water into the cooker, turn the burner on again, and let the porridge boil for ten minutes.


Strain the liquid into a bowl. Set aside, and let the liquid and the cooked foxtail millet cool to room temperature.



Transfer the cooked millet to an earthen or glass vessel.


Hand crush the carom seeds until fragrant and add them to the millet.


Stir the yoghurt into the millet cooking liquid, then add this to the cooked millet.



Add the onions and green chillies to this mixture and cover. Set aside to ferment overnight.



The Ganji Annam will be ready to eat the morning after.



For the Fish Pickle:


Wash the cubed, boneless fish filets and marinate with salt, half a teaspoon of turmeric, and a quarter teaspoon of red chilli powder. Set aside for at least an hour.



Make a paste of all the whole spices, vinegar, and half a teaspoon of salt.


Turn on the stove. Pour three tablespoons of coconut oil into a pan and set it on the stovetop on a medium to high flame. Fry the fish, cooking the pieces on all sides till they turn a brownish colour. Since the fish is going into a pickle, it needs to be fried until no moisture is retained. This enhances the shelf life of the pickle. Keep aside in a clean, dry bowl.



Pour the remaining coconut oil in the pan. After the oil is heated through, add in the minced ginger, garlic, green chillies, and the curry leaves, and fry well for  three to four minutes on a low to medium heat.



Add the spice paste to the pan now, along with the remaining turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Cook the mixture on low heat till the spice paste is cooked well, and oil starts to separate from the mixture.



Add the fried fish to the pan at this stage, adjust for salt, and cook on a low flame for another five to six minutes.



Turn off the flame and cool the pickle down to room temperature.


Once cool, transfer the pickle to a clean, air-tight pickle jar.


Keep the jar at room temperature for 24 hours before consuming the pickle. After a day, store it in the refrigerator, and use a clean, dry spoon to remove it from the jar.


Serve the foxtail millet Ganji Annam with a side of fish pickle.



Cook and store the fish pickle in clean, dry vessels and jars. Even the spatula used to stir it should be dry.


Set the Ganji Annam in a clean, earthen or glass bowl for the fermentation process. Steel or aluminium vessels should be avoided.


This millet Ganji Annam can be eaten with any pickle or papadums of your choice.

Sayani Sengupta is the lab lead for the MRP cooking lab, and a home chef based out of Kolkata. Sayani runs her own food brand, Gooseberri, for which she often writes recipes. Her recipes have also featured in Bengali magazines, such as Sananda, as well as other publications like Times of India, Telegraph, and Indulge Express.

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