5 Top Health Benefits & Nutrition Of Varagu Rice | Kodo Millet For Weight Loss, Diabetes & Wound Healing

Millets have been used in Tamil Nadu from ancient times and varagu called kodo millet in English is one the of the most common millets used. It’s usage dates back more than 3000 years and has been recorded in ancient texts and poems. Kodo millet like other millets have wonderful uses and it will do us plenty of good if we include it our diet regularly.
Varagu is rich in phenolic and flavonoid content which suggest the presence of bioactive compounds. Bioactive compounds are powerful antioxidants that protect our body from cancer, premature ageing 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 and Arka in Kannada.

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 mgs of calcium, 188 mgs of phosphorus, 1.7 mgs of iron and .15 mgs of thiamin and 2 mgs of niacin.

Kodo Millet | Varagu Rice Health Benefits:

1. High Protein Content:

Than relying on protein powders which 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 of our blood sugar levels making it 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 make it an ideal weight loss food.

4. Gluten Free:

Kodo millet is gluten free and it is a great substitute for people who are on gluten free diet. Kodo millet cooks faster, takes 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.

How To Make Varagu Rice 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 and also 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. Take all the required ingredients.

2. Wash varagu twice and soak for 10 minutes.

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

4. Once the mustard splutters, add in the onions, veggies and green chillies. Once fried, finally add in the mint leaves.

5. Add in water it the ratio of 1: 2 and let it come to boil. Add in the required amount of salt.

6. Once it comes to boil, drain the water and add in the soaked varagu rice and 1 tsp ghee. I usually take the mixture in a pressure cooker, keep it in full flame for 1 whistle and in lowest flame for 5 minutes and switch off.

7. Your delicious varagu rice is ready!


  • 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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