5 Top Benefits Of Kodo Millet (Varagu Rice)

kodo millet benefits

Millets have been used in Tamil Nadu since ancient times and Varagu called Kodo millet in English is one of the most common millets used. Its usage dates back more than 3000 years and has been recorded in ancient texts and poems. Kodo millet like other millets has wonderful uses and it will do us plenty of good if we include it in our diet regularly.

Varagu is rich in phenolic and flavonoid content which suggests the presence of bioactive compounds. Bioactive compounds are powerful antioxidants that protect our body from cancer, premature aging, and oxidative stress. Since Kodo millet is rich in fiber, it will greatly help prevent constipation too.

Kodo Millet Common Names:

The botanical name of kodo millet is called Paspalum Scrobiculatom and it is called Koden in Hindi, Varagu in Tamil, Arikelu in Telugu, Koovaragu in Malayalam, Arka in Kannada, and Kodra in Marathi, Gujarati and Punjabi.

Kodo Millet | Varagu Rice Nutrition:

100 grams of dry grain has around 353 calories. It is a nutrient-rich grain and 100 grams of dry grain has around 8.3 grams of protein, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 1.4 grams of fat, 5.2 grams of fiber, 35 mg of calcium, 188 mg of phosphorus, 1.7 mg of iron, .15 mg of thiamin and 2 mg of niacin.

varagu rice benefitsKodo Millet | Varagu Rice Health Benefits:

1. High Protein Content:

Than relying on protein powders that are filled with color and preservatives, it is good to get our protein requirements naturally. If you are a vegetarian, millets are a great way to get your proteins, 100 grams of varagu has around 8.3 grams of protein.

2. Good For Diabetics:

Varagu is rich in fiber and therefore it does not cause drastic spikes in our blood sugar levels making it a very good food for diabetic patients. You can read the study that supports this claim here. 

3. For Weight Loss:

Kodo millet is low in fat, high in fiber, and keeps us satiated for a very long time which makes it an ideal weight-loss food.

4. Gluten-Free:

Kodo millet is gluten-free and is a great substitute for people who are on a gluten-free diet. Kodo millet cooks faster, take on flavors well, and tastes wonderful if prepared properly.

5. For Wound Healing:

The paste got by mixing Kodo millet and water when applied as a poultice on the wounds accelerates wound healing, you can read the study that supports this claim here. Varagu also has a soothing effect on both the stomach and mind.
kodo millet nutrition

How To Cook Kodo Millet At Home?

At home, we use millets regularly and I make a simple veg pulao (recipe below) with Varagu that everyone in my family likes. It is so easy and quick to make and very filling and nutritious. Even my son who is a bit fussy enjoys it, I would kindly suggest including Varagu in the diet of children as early as possible. Regular use will keep them healthy and strong………

1. Cut a few beans, 1 carrot, 1 onion, and 2 green chillies.

varagu arisi recipe

2. Wash 1/2 cup Varagu twice and soak for 10 minutes.

kodo millet benefits

3. Heat a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan. Add in mustard seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, and 2 cloves.

Paspalum Scrobiculatom uses

4. Once the mustard splutters, add in the onions, veggies, and green chillies and fry well.

kodo rice benefits

5. Once fried, add cut mint leaves and water in the ratio of 1: 2 and let it come to a boil. Add in the required amount of salt.

kodo millet recipe

6. Once the water comes to boil, add in the soaked Varagu rice and 1 tsp ghee. Let it cook covered in a low flame till the water is fully absorbed.


7. Your delicious Varagu rice is ready!

kodo millet benefits


  • Serve this rice hot with cool curd pachadi
  • For me 1: 2 ratio of rice to water is perfect, you can decrease or increase it according to your preference.
  • You can also make Pongal and Dosai with Varagu rice.


  1. Anonymous
    June 25, 2017 / 9:37 pm

    throw away the soaking water varagu soaked in?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 26, 2017 / 4:42 pm

      We usually discard it but you can use it for skin or hair care….

  2. Sridhar Raju
    December 25, 2017 / 8:18 am

    Good info Ramya. Thanks lot for sharing wonderful health tips.

  3. Ramesh gundmi
    January 12, 2018 / 2:15 pm

    Does kodo millet gives red colour to soaked water?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      January 13, 2018 / 4:40 pm

      No, it does not give red color…

  4. Anonymous
    March 19, 2019 / 10:16 pm

    it would help if you wrote for each sirudaniyam which went with which dal (each went with certain dals and are meant for certain preparations only)….
    and how to soak it and cook it prior to eating to deal with nutritional inhibitors that block the iron etc…..varagu is a very fiberous grain and produces heat (pitham) so we need to be careful…the one above is polished without thavidu, with thavidu it will be different which is why the commentor wrote will it color the soaking water. i think with thavidu yes it will color the water…

  5. anonymous
    May 15, 2019 / 6:19 pm

    Which dals go well with varagu that are unpolished or minimally polished?

  6. Anonymous
    May 28, 2020 / 3:02 am

    whoever eats siru dhaniyam they need to be careful especially when feeding to children as there
    are the following problems in it…children just simply swallow food without sensing anything wrong it it sometimes like stones…..or sand…..Ramya please teach us how to deal with these issue as it is in most products sold it is not brand specific:

    சிறு தானியம் பிரச்சனை

    உமி, கல், குருணை

    -lots of unhusked grain in the UMI உமி
    -lots of very tiny black stones KALS கல்
    -lots of broken grains KURUNAI குருணை


    சிறுதானியத்திலிருந்து கற்களை நீக்குவது எப்படி?

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