Effect of thermal pre-milling treatment on pearl millet and incorporation of psyllium husk in the formulation of vermicelli
I Cini Ezhilarasi, P Nazni
Pearl millet is gluten free and nutritious but under-utilized particularly in urban areas because of various factors including limited availability of convenient/ready-to-cook/ready-to-eat pearl millet based food products. In this study, pearl millet grains were subjected to thermal pre-milling treatments like dry-thermal (roasting) and hydro-thermal (boiling) methods. Significant improvement on the functional quality and reduction in anti-nutrients were observed. Psyllium husk is a natural plant based functional food rich in soluble fiber and its incorporation with thermal treated pearl millet flours in different proportions produced desirable characteristic change to the dough in the development of ready-to-cook extruded food product vermicelli. Textural analysis of cooked vermicelli revealed significant improvement in the textural attributes of both the thermal treated vermicelli variations when compared with untreated/raw pearl millet vermicelli. Sensory evaluation of all versions of freshly cooked vermicelli in comparison with standard vermicelli made from refined wheat flour found that, untreated/raw pearl millet vermicelli with lesser (10%) psyllium husk incorporation could only match up with the scores of standard vermicelli, but dry-thermal treated (roasted) vermicelli with the same level of incorporation received a good overall acceptability, scoring more than the standard vermicelli. Above all, a remarkable overall acceptability was observed in hydro-thermally treated (boiled) pearl millet vermicelli with higher level of psyllium husk incorporation (30%), which suggest increased health benefit in this combination. Thus, the findings of the study could be effective in finding a replacement for refined wheat flour and increase the use of pearl millets in every day diet, particularly in gluten free therapeutic diets.