Millet is a popular grain that is often used for bird seed, but don’t buy any millet bird seed for human consumption! The word “millet” refers to at least five different grain species that vary in color and taste. This “ancient grain” (one of the first grains to ever be cultivated by man, dating back to 5,500 BC in China) is easy to prepare and generally quite healthy to eat with good plant fiber and being gluten-free.
One variety of millet is called “yellow proso” —
It’s hulled or pearled, but the bran remains intact. If you’ve never seen it before, it looks a lot like tiny yellow, round beads … it’s a staple for many people around the world including those in Africa, China and India. Small though it is, it’s packed with good nutrition.
Millet is almost as high in protein as wheat. It also delivers niacin, magnesium, copper, manganese and zinc … Its light, delicate flavor makes it perfect for just about anything. I love it hot as a breakfast cereal or served up pilaf-style as a side dish. Because it’s mild, it takes well to spices, herbs and seasonings.
Here’s a simple, basic recipe for cooking millet:
1 cup millet
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
(1) Combine millet, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
(2) Remove from heat, keep it covered and let it stand for another 20 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
Optional: If you prefer a toasty, nutty flavor and would like to keep the grains light and dry, then just toast the millet — before cooking — in a dry skillet over medium to medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
Read further on the next page for several recipe ideas for cooking with millet: