Millet: A Mystery Ingredient?

Millet was my mystery ingredient of my last shopping trip.  What does this mean you are asking yourself right about now and I have an answer for you.  In order to stay inspired in the kitchen I always purchase an ingredient that I have never worked with before or is finally in season again.  By doing this I never get tired of cooking and my meals are always allowing me to experiment and figure out what I truly do and do not like.  This shopping trip it was millet and I have to say I am on cloud nine for picking up this grain.

Truth be told, millet found its way into my shopping cart because it was cheap and right next to the quinoa.  I still picked up the quinoa but remembered an article about the quinoa farmers in Peru that Kevin sent me.  Feeling a little guilty about the farmers I saw the millet and thought to myself:  what a perfect mystery ingredient.  For those of you that watch the Food Network and specifically Iron Chef or Iron Chef America you will understand what the term secret ingredient means.

If you are not familiar with either of these shows then allow me to explain for a moment.  When the two chefs enter Kitchen Stadium they do not know what the main ingredient is going to be, thus the secret ingredient.  The chairman does a wonderful dance and makes a large statement and the lid comes off of the secret ingredient.  I imagined this happening and looking at millet and wondering: what do I do with this.  I figured millet was in the grain section so it must be a grain and probably cooked just like rice or quinoa.  When I got home I did a quick search and sure enough millet is a grain and cooked just like rice.  I was in a comfort zone but wasn’t sure about the taste.  Millet looks just like a bigger quinoa, and similar in texture to couscous.  At that point I was in an Asian mood and so I decided to go with an Asian stir fry that included one of my top 5 favorite ingredients in eggs.

Some basic information on millet includes:

  • Mostly cultivated species are: pearl, foxtail, proso and finger
  • Top millet producers worldwide: India, Nigeria, Niger, Mali and China due to their semiarid and high temperatures.
  • Millet is starchy with a protein content similar to wheat and maize.
  • Rich in B Vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

I have found another item to keep in the menu when I tire of rice or quinoa.  This would make a great substitute for oats in a jar of overnight ‘oats’ or even baked ‘oats.’

IMG 0526 300x300 Millet: A Mystery Ingredient?

Millet Stir Fry With A Spicy Peanut Sauce Topped With Sesame Seeds

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  • Scott

    I will have to look for this

    So, what is happening with quinoa?

  • Brittany

    LOVE millet! I like to toast it with coconut oil then cook it with a 2:1 water ratio (too much water makes it mushy). I like the corn-like taste and usually eat it in big salads with black beans and balsamic & oil. I don’t think its nutrition profile is quite as good as quinoa though.
    Brittany recently posted..Crazy Sexy Diet Week Eats: Thai Veggies & TempehMy Profile

    • CTER

      I used a 3:1 ratio but I was only making 1/2c and it turned out great. Brought water to a boil and then added the millet and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes. It was fluffy like rice.

      The taste was great too. Very corn-like as you mentioned.

      I thought it wasn’t as good as quinoa either but I just found this and it is almost identical:

      • Brittany

        Cool – I thought I’d read that millet doesn’t have the same protein profile, but I’ll take it! Yeah, 3:1 works, I just like it more on the crunchy side. Millet is a great add to granola bars too, much like the crunch from chia seeds.
        Brittany recently posted..Crazy Sexy Diet Week Eats: Thai Veggies & TempehMy Profile

        • CTER

          I am thinking about making it into a pizza crust this weekend. I am making a cauliflower pizza crust tonight and this post got me thinking and the 2:1 crunch would work best for that.

          Great idea on granola bars too. Some dates, dried cranberries, raisin and dried figs with honey would be perfect. Ok, stomach just growled thinking of that.
          CTER recently posted..Millet: A Mystery Ingredient?My Profile

  • misszippy

    Funny–just a couple of weeks ago one of my running partners was talking about how she was going home to make a millet recipe for breakfast. Apparently her mom used to make it for her when she was growing up and she has always loved it. I’m seeing more ancient grains appear on the shelves of late (Trader Joe’s in particular) so I’m guessing all the GF people are helping push that along.
    misszippy recently posted..Miles of Shame–Super Bowl StyleMy Profile

    • CTER

      I love that the ancient grains are appearing more and more. Remember at the conference the Einhorn pasta. That is some good stuff too.

  • Carolina John

    that sounds fantastic! I’ll have to give millet a chance.
    Carolina John recently posted..So good I can’t come up with an effective TitleMy Profile

    • CTER

      Definitely give it a whirl. On the nutritional profile I posted above you should see that it is very close to quinoa.

      The taste is a nutty-corn and the texture seemed more course than quinoa and that was perfect for me.

      Let me know what you think.

  • Meg

    I love millet! I cook with with fresh curry leaves and poppy seeds and use it as a base for stews, braises and stir frys. It’s also great as a binder for burgers- raw beet ad millet patties with walnuts is a great creation of mine that we love to eat :)

    • CTER

      Meg – thank you for visiting my blog and for commenting. I truly appreciate it.

      I also appreciate you providing the idea of using it as a binder in veggie burgers. Great idea.

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