CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology(CSIR-NIIST), Thiruvananthapuram, a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has invited entries for a millet recipe cooking contest to be held on the sidelines of a Millet Food Festival 2023 from March 13 to 18 as part of the International Year of Millets. 

The CSIR-NIIST has planned the festival to promote cultivation, value-addition, and consumption of millets across the country, a spokesperson said here. The festival will feature millet food stalls, farmers and MSME meets, millet familiarisation sessions, a chef challenge, cultural programmes, and B2B counters, among others. The Food and Agricultural Organisation has already declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets as proposed by India. 

Also read: Food companies launch new millet products as part of the ‘International Year of Millet’

Limited to 50 entries 

The deadline for receiving the application for the competition is February 26 before 5.30 pm, the spokesperson said. Fifty applications will be selected on a first-come-first basis. Those selected should bring the dish for display before the jury on March 4, at 2 pm. Only one dish per person will be allowed. A team led by culinary experts and chefs will evaluate the dish and select the best six. The final event will be held on March 15 (2 to 5 pm) at the Millet Food Court set up at CSIR-NIIST (Industrial Estate, Pappanamcode). The selected six from the preliminary screening should cook their dishes live here and display them on stage during the Millet Food Festival. Millets should be the main ingredient of the dish, which should be easy to prepare at home. 

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Allowed millet combinations 

The following millets or their combination could be used for the contest: Pearl millet (kambam/bajra), foxtail millet (thina), proso millet (panivaraku), finger millet (panjapullu/ragi), kodo millet (varagu), barnyard millet (kuthiravaali), sorghum, and little millet (chaama). The best dishes will be awarded ₹10,000 (first prize) and ₹5,000 (second prize). Applications may be sent via WhatsApp to 8606135606 with the name, age, address, and WhatsApp number; or by e-mail to milletfestival2023@gmail.com.

New logo, revamped website

Earlier, N Kalaiselvi, Director-General, CSIR, and Secretary, Department of Science and Industrial Research (DSIR), unveiled the redesigned logo and website of CSIR-NIIST through videoconferencing. She said the support available for R&D activities at CSIR-NIIST will provide further impetus for developing linkages to other state-owned developmental sectors. She lauded the efforts of NIIST in securing the state’s support for its novel initiatives and activities, including coir and rubber research.

Revamped logo of CSIR-NIIST, Thiruvananthapuram

Revamped logo of CSIR-NIIST, Thiruvananthapuram

C Anandharamakrishnan, Director, NIIST, said the institute will hold a conclave with a focus on possibilities of incubating start-ups on its campus.  The Kerala Start-up Mission has indicated its interest in providing financial and infrastructural support for implementing new projects, he said at the function held on the NIIST campus. “The start-up conclave will be held as part of the ‘One Week One Lab’ (OWOL) programme, which will also feature the Millet Food Festival”, he added. NIIST is also planning to formulate and implement various innovative ideas and initiatives. P Nishy, Chief Scientist, CSIR, proposed a vote of thanks.

Also read: Why start-ups aren’t excited about millets

Erstwhile Regional Research Lab

Launched in 1975 as a CSIR complex, the institute was named the Regional Research Laboratory in 1978, before being rechristened NIIST in 2007. Since its inception, NIIST has been spearheading quality research in agro-processing, chemical sciences, material sciences, microbial processes, and environmental technology, the spokesperson said. It also trains post-graduate/doctoral students. Another focus area is to achieve excellence in chemical-bioscience interface and advanced materials through research, advanced technologies, and value-added research and development services. NIIST also plays a key role in connecting industry, society, and higher education to strengthen the country’s scientific capacity, the spokesperson added.