Millet Surprise

May 21, 2009

Okay, I’ve been talking a lot about our relationship with food, and every now and then I like to bring it back to the actual food.  So what am I eating these days.  A few months back I fell in love with a little grain called millet.  And since making it a weekly staple of my diet, there has been no turning back.  I love millet!

Millet is a great food source in arid areas of the world, and predominantly produced in India.  Some cultures use millet to make millet flour or millet porridge.  It can be eaten sweet (with milk and sugar added at the end of cooking process) or savory with a variety of vegetables to create stews or stir-fry (or with meat, if preferred).  It is basically just a simple food to add some density to a meal.  It’s also a good source of iron and protein.  It’s protein content is similar to that of wheat, while millet contains no gluten.

Cooking millet is fun.  You take a cup of the tiny little modular grains and place them in a pan.  Under a light flame you toast them as you boil a pot of water (2 or 2 1/2 cups to every cup of millet).  Once the water boils and the millet is toasted to your liking (producing a lovely popcorn aroma), you pour the millet into the pot.  Then you turn the flame to simmer, and for about 20 minutes you let the millet cook.  As you occasionally stir, you will see the water disappear and the millet expand.

The beauty is, millet yields a lot of food.  And you can add more water and cook for longer to make it creamier like a porridge.  I tend to like my millet more lumpy, almost like the consistency of sticky rice.  So, when the first run of water is gone, I spoon all my millet out on to a plate and let it cool.

While the millet is cooking I chop up a bunch of veggies – that’s the surprise – and saute them in the pan.  I usually add eggplant (1/2), lightly boiled broccoli, a red pepper, a green pepper, a tomato.   Then I can add a sauce or broth, and any additional flavors and spices.  As the veggies are soaking it all up I add the millet (that has been sitting on the side like adobe)  I stir it all together for a few minutes, and then, just like that I got a Millet Surprise.

It’s a very easy meal to cook.  And just one cup of millet, plus the vegetables mentioned, will easily serve 4 people.  And if you’re eating it alone, there’s room for seconds plus leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  It’s filling and hearthy, with lots of nutrients and it won’t put you in a coma afterward.  Try it, you’ll see 🙂

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