Getting To Know Your Millet – Try It Plain First

Now that you have the right kind of Millet as described in the previous post, you can feel confident that if you follow the directions in this blog you’re going to end up with a delicious and wholesome dish that just about anyone would enjoy.

Pearl Millet in the FieldMost Westerners, unfortunately,  still associate millet with bird seed and it might take a little while to adjust to the idea of using it. The use of this gluten free grain, however, goes back thousands of years in Asia, Eastern Europe and parts of the African continent.

We were first attracted to using it ourselves years ago because we were looking for ways of including more alkalizing foods in our diet, while at the same time getting a bit more variety and excitement into our meals. We were surprised to find millet to be a versatile and “friendly” grain suitable for many types of occasions.

Millet has an Alkalizing Effect on the Body:
As you probably know, the Western diet tends to be more acid forming and an overly acid system means “trouble”, stressing the body’s reserves of alkaline minerals and resulting in many and varied states of dis-ease. The good news is that millet plays its part in helping to restore balance in this regard (along with most land vegetables, sea vegetables, good quality sea salt, and a list of other special foods).
As one of the few alkalizing grains, millet provides support in other important ways as well. To name just a few, it does not feed yeast or parasites and helps to build the immune system. For those who are gluten sensitive this is especially important, as these usually are directly related to the overall health of the  digestive system. 

One other point that is important to mention, is that the hull or bran of millet does contain certain goitrogenic substances, so if you have thyroid issues I’d suggest that you follow this information up with your health practitioner as to the appropriateness of your including this grain in your diet. The millet we are using here has been hulled, yes, but how much of an influence any remaining goitrogenic substances would have on the system, is unclear.

Preparing Basic Millet:

As with any grains and seeds, it is important to thoroughly wash the millet under running water, while being on the lookout for any foreign substances, twigs, grit, etc. (if you find anything larger, write and tell us about it )

Washing Grains: Our preferred way of washing any grain is to wash and rinse the grain several times with clean water in an appropriately sized pot.

 1. place grains in the pot and cover with about finger length of water.
 2. Agitate the mixture to dislodge chaff, dust etc.
 3. Carefully pour off the cloudy water and any other debris.
 4. Repeat the above procedure with fresh water 2 or 3 more times.
 5. Pour grains into a sieve and set aside to drain.

Roasting MilletGrit In Your Grain ?
If you have had an issue with grit in your grain then using this method provides an easy solution. During the last rinse, as you gently pour the water out of the pot, be conscious that the grit is heavier and will tend to stay at the bottom. You can carefully scoop off the top layers of grain, leaving the grit concentrated in the bottom edge of the tilted pot (just as if you’re panning for gold).

Washing Grains – A Quicker Method:
Alternatively, If you are in a hurry, or you know the grain to be relatively clean to  start with, then just use a suitably large sieve to hold the grain while you rinse directly under a fast stream of water from the tap. Let it drain and your done.

Cooking Plain Millet
(Light and Fluffy Method)

Ingredients:                           1 Cup of Hulled Millet
                                                 3 Cups of good water
                                 1 tsp good quality Sea Salt (eg Celtic)


Step 1: Wash, rise and drain the millet as described above
Step 2: Measure water and salt into a pot and turn to medium heat
Step 3: Place a dry, cast iron skillet (or heavy pot) on another medium flame
Step 4: Empty the washed millet into the heating dry skillet (or pot)
Step 5: Gently stir the millet with wooden spoon (see photo above) to roast till it starts to get a little tan in color and has a wonderful, nutty aroma (Usually by the time the water is boiling)
Step 6: Slowly and carefully empty the roasted millet into the boiling water (if you do it too fast the pan will boil over)
Step 7: Put the lid on and turn flame to low (using a “flame tamer” is helpful)
Step 8: Simmer for 30 min then turn off heat and let sit covered for 5 min or so.
Step 9: It’s DONE:  Now just dress it up a little with some simple color (garlic chives, chopped parsley etc.) and, of course, a nice pat of butter smack in the middle goes really well.

First Get To Know Your Grain: 
We can cover more elaborate dishes at a later stage, but for now, when you’re just starting out, it is good to get a feel for working with the basic ingredients first. Another good reason is that it helps to get over the mind-set that cooking needs to be complicated and that we have to serve complicated, elaborate dishes every time in order to enjoy our foods. Plain and simple is great too.

Plain Millet PresentationOf course, if you have followed these directions, you would have ended up with a light and fluffy, tasty grain dish. Now you can dress it up as you wish. As you can see in the photo, we’ve just added chopped garlic chives and a nice chunk of real butter.

This is a great accompaniment to your favorite protein, along with some steamed vegetables and maybe even with your favorite sauce on hand too. 

There is so much more you can do with this wonderful grain to expand your gluten free experience. We’ll cover more next time. Enjoy.

To Your Health and Gluten Freedom,
Warmly, Sven

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One Response to “Getting To Know Your Millet – Try It Plain First”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Pearl millet is the type most commonly eaten by people throughout the world. The “birdseed” proso millet is commonly used as a livestock feed. Difficult to specifically find “pearl millet”. Also look for bajra or bajri in Indian grocers.

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