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Written by Navneet Kaur, M.Sc. Nutrition & Dietetics


Jowar and Bajra: Know the Difference

Jowar (sorghum) and Bajra (pearl millet) are two popular grains that have been an integral part of Indian cuisine for centuries. These ancient grains have sustained generations with their nutritional richness and versatility. While they share some similarities, they also have distinct characteristics that set them apart.  


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Jowar (sorghum) belongs to the Sorghum genus, while Bajra (pearl millet) is from the Pennisetum genus. 

1. Botanical Origin  

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Jowar grains are usually round and smaller in size, while bajra grains are larger and more elongated. 

2. Appearance 

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Jowar is predominantly grown in drier regions of India, while bajra thrives in arid and semi-arid regions. 

3. Cultivation Areas  

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Jowar is higher in dietary fibre and contains essential nutrients like magnesium and phosphorus. Bajra, on the other hand, is rich in protein, iron, and calcium. 

4. Nutritional Content 

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Jowar is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. Bajra, however, contains some gluten and may not be suitable for individuals with celiac disease. 

5. Gluten Content 

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Jowar is commonly used to make roti (flatbread) and is also used in the preparation of porridge and alcoholic beverages. Bajra is primarily used to make bhakri (thicker, unleavened bread) and is often ground into flour for various dishes. 

6. Cooking Methods  

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Jowar has a milder, slightly sweet taste and a smoother texture when compared to the coarser and nuttier flavour of bajra. 

7. Taste and Texture 

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Bajra is known for its exceptional drought resistance and can thrive in harsh environmental conditions. Jowar is relatively less tolerant to extreme drought. 

8. Climate Tolerance 

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Jowar has a shorter growing season and matures more quickly compared to bajra, which has a longer growth period. 

9. Growing Season 

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Both grains are used in a variety of traditional Indian dishes. Jowar is a staple in regions like Maharashtra, where it's used to make bhakri, while bajra is commonly used in Rajasthan to prepare dishes like bajra roti and khichdi. 

10. Traditional Dishes 

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Incorporating both jowar and bajra into your diet can offer a diverse range of nutrients and health benefits. While jowar stands out for its gluten-free nature and rich fibre content, bajra shines with its high protein and iron content.  


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