Millet is an ancient grain that was a staple through much of Europe before the use of rice spread in the 15th century. It is still a staple in much of the world particularly in Africa and India, where it has the reputation to be a warming food. Wholegrain millet is extremely nutritious, rich in minerals like selenium, phosphorous and magnesium and also in B complex vitamins. It makes a great substitute for couscous, bulgur or even quinoa. Steamed millet needs toasting before cooking to bring out its full flavor, so don’t skip this step. It’s best not to crowd the grains when you do this, so as here, use a bigger wider pan than the quantity might seem to need.
1. Heat a 5quart Dutch oven over a medium high flame. When it is hot, add the dry millet and toast, shaking the pan to keep the grains moving so that they toast evenly and don’t burn, about 5 minutes. You will smell a delicious nutty aroma as they toast. Don’t let the grains get too dark. The millet is ready when most of it has colored slightly to a warm gold.
2. Add the hot water. The pan is very hot so the water will foam and instantly boil. Add salt to taste, cover and turn the heat to medium low. Cook for 25 minutes. Turn the heat off and keeping the pan covered, let the millet steam for 10 -15 minutes. After this, all the water will be absorbed and the millet will be ready to use in pilafs, porridge, salads, or to eat on it’s own.
- 1½ cups of millet, rinsed and patted dry on paper towel ( see Ann’s Tips)
- 3 cups of hot to boiling water
- salt to taste
Ann's Tips and Tricks
I rarely bother to wash millet, but if you buy it loose, if it looks twiggy or dusty, take precaution. If you intend to use the cooked millet in other dishes, for example millet porridge, use 1½ cups of water to 1 cup of millet and cook it covered for just 15-20 minutes before shutting off the heat and letting it steam. This will leave the grain al dente plus.