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Millet

Millet is highly nutritious, non-glutinous and like buckwheat and quinoa, is not an acid forming food so is soothing and easy to digest. In fact, it is considered to be one of the least allergenic and most digestible grains available and it is a warming grain so will help to heat the body in cold or rainy seasons and climates. The protein content in millet is very close to that of wheat; both provide about 11% protein by weight.

Millet is tasty, with a mildly sweet, nut-like flavor and contains a myriad of beneficial nutrients. Millet is rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B17 (see nitrilosides), B6 and folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. It is glutenfree and due to its high alkaline ash content, the easiest grain to digest.  As none of the millets are closely related to wheat, they are appropriate foods for those with coeliac disease or other forms of allergies or intolerances of wheat. However, millets are also a mild thyroid peroxidase inhibitor and probably should not be consumed in great quantities by those with thyroid disease.

Furthermore, millet is a cooling grain good for the stomach and spleen-pancreas and for healing gastrointestinal irregularities.  Cooking it with winter squash increases its medicinal value to the stomach and spleen-pancreas.  Millet is the preferred grain in the treatment of blood sugar imbalances and one of the best grains for those suffering from thrush.  However, check with your health care provider or further research before using millet for medicinal purposes.
 
Soaking Millet:
from How to Prepare Grains: Amaranth, Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Millet & Quinoa by Healing Naturally By Bee

These are the easiest grains to digest because they contain less phytates than other grains. Actually buckwheat, millet and quinoa are more seed-like than they are a grain.

Several hours of soaking softens the grain which results in baked goods that are lighter in texture. The longer they are soaked the less baking powder they require. In fact baking soda alone is enough to make them rise. Soaking first also splits cooking into two time periods, which can be convenient when you feel rushed to get food on the table.

These grains are soaked for 7 hours (a longer time is okay too), with enough warm non-chlorinated water to cover, to which 1 tablespoon of acidic medium has been added for every cup of grains, i.e. for every 1 cup of grains add 1 tablespoon of acidic medium.

Quinoa needs to be rinsed well before soaking. After soaking the water is drained off and then it is rinsed again. Fresh water is then added for cooking.

When soaking flour for a recipe, use only the amount of liquid and flour in the recipe, and no other ingredients. Also adjust the amount of acidic medium accordingly, i.e. 1/2 cup of flour requires 1/2 tablespoon, whereas 2 cups of flour requires 2 tablespoons.

Simple from Scratch:
The basic preparation consists in washing the millet and toasting it while moving until one notes a characteristic scent. Then five measures of boiling water for each two measures of millet are added with some sugar or salt. The mixture is cooked covered using low flame for 30-35 minutes.

There are many cooking variations to be found for millet. A good general guideline is to use 3 parts water or stock and 1 part grain, add grain to boiling water, and simmer covered for approximately 30 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. Remove from heat and let steam, covered for ten minutes more.

The grain has a fluffier texture when less water is used and is very moist and dense when cooked with extra water.

The flavor of millet is enhanced by lightly roasting the grains in a dry pan before cooking; stir constantly for approximately three minutes or until a mild, nutty aroma is detected.

If millet is presoaked the cooking time is shortened by 5 to 10 minutes.

An intriguing suggestion for cooking millet is found in the book Hunza Health Secrets: Soak the grain overnight, heat water or other liquid in top of a double boiler, add millet and steam over boiling water for thirty minutes or until the millet is tender.  Individual preferences can be addressed by experimenting with cooking times, methods, and liquid amounts.

For more information on soaking grains see Food and Nutritional Information

Other Recipes:

Sprouted Millet Soup- CSA Member Meaghan

Sprout millet in a container covered with water and two big tablespoons of yogurt.  Cook with rice with some broth and cream instead of water.  Add a bit of cheese, salt, and pepper.
 
Gracie's Yellow Birthday Cake- CSA Member Karine
from "Feeding the Whole Family"
 
I wanted to share this recipe with the group since it uses millet and other natural ingredients and has been very popular when I've made it for birthday parties either as a cake or cupcakes.

1.5 c unbleached white flour (remember to use flour made out of soaked grains when possible)
1/2c whole wheat pastry flour (remember to use flour made out of soaked grains when possible)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1.5 cooked millet (1 c millet to 3 cups water pinch sea salt, bring to boil, lower heat and cover and simmer for 30-40 min; can toast millet first if you choose)
1 c orange juice
1/2 c water
1/3 c oil (I use coconut oil or room temp butter)
1/2 c maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs separated

Preheat oven 350, oil/flour two 8 inch cake pans. Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt together in large mixing bowl; set aside. Put millet (cooked) and oj in blender; blend until smooth. Add water, oil and syrup to millet puree in the blender; pulse briefly. Separate eggs, placing egg whites in a glass or metal bowl. Add yolks to millet puree and pulse again. Add wet ingredients to dry mixture and mix well (I do this right in the blender because I have a large blender). Whip egg whites until peaks form (with mixer) then fold egg whites into millet mixture in a bowl (not in blender). Pour into cake pans. Bake 30-40 minutes, until cake begins to pull away from edge of pan. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing. Wait until completely cool before icing.

Suggested icings: whipped cream with maple syrup as sweetener or strawberry sauce or slices.
Curried Millet, Shiitake, and Corn Salad
4 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
1 cup millet
2 cups water
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups fresh or frozen corn (about 4 ears)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon seasoned rice-wine vinegar
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves chopped fine
Preparation:
In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat and cook millet, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes, or until it makes popping sounds and begins to turn golden. Remove skillet from heat.
In a small saucepan bring water to a boil and stir in millet. Cook millet, covered, over low heat 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Transfer millet to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
 
In cleaned skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil and sauté onion, stirring, until softened. Add shiitake and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add corn and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Still in curry powder, soy sauce, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste and add to millet.
Serve alongside a salad (mustard greens, spinach, etc.) dressed with a simple balsamic vinegar/olive oil dressing.

There are two other simple recipes in "The Ayurvedic Cookbook" by A. Morningstar with U. Desai below

Herbed Millet

Preparation time: 35 minutes
+ Vata, + Pitta, -- Kapha*

1 cup dry millet, 2 and 1/2 - 3 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 small onion, finely chopped, 3 small cloves of garlic, unpeeled (or 1 peeled and minced), 1 teaspoon sage

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 30 minutes or until millet has absorbed all the moisture of the water. It is a good idea to check it at 20 minutes, as sometimes the millet cooks faster.

Comments: This goes well with AJWAN TEA or OSHA TEA, especially on those bloggy mornings when a cold might be upon you. A good breakfast or dinner dish. Add the greater amount of water if you like a creamy consistency or are working to calm Vata, the lesser if you prefer it like a dinner grain. Good in rainy weather.

* Fine for occasional use for Vata and Pitta: use the larger amount of water for Vata, and skip the garlic for Pitta.

Spicy Millet and Potato

Preparation time: with pre-cooked grain, 10-15 minutes
with fresh grain, 40-50 minutes
+ Vata, 0 Pitta, - Kapha

1 and 1/2 cup cooked millet, 1 medium potato, well-scrubbed, 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, 1/8 teaspoon hing, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger chopped or 1/8 teaspoon dry ginger powder, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Garnish: fresh chopped coriander leaves, if available

Wash and dice potato. Heat oil in medium frying pan and add hing and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add potatoes and curry powder. Stir and cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes. Add cooked millet and all other ingredients. Mix well and remove from heat.

Comment: This goes well with goat yogurt and vegetable curries.
 
 
Millet with Brown Rice Syrup
1/2 C millet--soaked overnite and drained
3/4 C. quinoa (or you could do all millet) --soaked overnite and drained
turmeric-- 1/2 tsp
black pepper-- 6 grinds
salt-- 1 tsp
1/2 lemon rind, coarsely grated
1 clove garlic
Sage-- 1 tsp
Stevia, 6 drops of the dark kind or could use brown rice syrup, 1-2 tsp
olive oil--1/8 C.
 
Saute the garlic in the olive oil. Add grains and rest of ingredients, stir fry a few minutes, then add water (about 2 cups), bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cook about 12 mins, remove from heat, let sit covered with a towel for 15 minutes.
 
 
Food Fun Facts:
Millet is delicious as a cooked cereal and in casseroles, breads, soups, stews, soufflés, pilaf, and stuffing. It can be used as a side dish or served under sautéed vegetables or with beans and can be popped like corn for use as a snack or breakfast cereal. The grain mixes well with any seasoning or herbs that are commonly used in rice dishes and for interesting taste and texture variations it may be combined with quinoa and brown or basmati rice.

Millet may also be sprouted for use in salads and sandwiches.

Millet is one of the oldest foods known to humans and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes. It is mentioned in the Bible, and was used during those times to make bread. Millet has been used in Africa and India as a staple food for thousands of years and it was grown as early as 2700 BC in China where it was the prevalent grain before rice became the dominant staple. It is documented that the plant was also grown by the lake dwellers of Switzerland during the Stone Age.
from:
http://chetday.com/millet.html

Current uses of millet:
Millet beer in Cameroon
Millets are major food sources in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. In Western India, millet flour (called "Bajari" in Gujarati and marathi) has been commonly used with "Jowar" (Sorghum called "Jwari" in Marathi) flour for hundreds of years to make the local staple flat bread (called "Rotla").
Millets are traditionally important grains used in brewing millet beer in some cultures, for instance by the Tao people of Orchid Island and, along with sorghum, by various peoples in East Africa.
Millet is used to prepare boza fermented drink in Balkan peninsula countries.
Millet is the base ingredient for the distilled liquor rakshi in Nepal.
Millet porridge is a traditional Russian food, eaten sweet (with milk and sugar added at the end of cooking process) or savory with meat or vegetable stews.
Millet porridge is a traditional Chinese food, eaten without milk or sugar. Frequently beans, sweet potato, and / or various types of squash will be added.
Coeliac patients can replace certain cereal grains in their diets by consuming millets in various forms including breakfast cereals.
Millet can often be used in recipes instead of buckwheat, rice, or quinoa.
Millet sprays are often recommended as healthy treats to finicky pet birds, as they are easily eaten and (in the case of destruction-prone hookbills) easily broken.
Millet, along with birdseed, is commonly used as fillings for juggling beanbags.

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