My kitchen staaaaiiiiinks again. But I’m okay with that because the aroma of onion, garlic, cinnamon and cumin merged into one good meal.
So, today I played with parakeet feed.
I caps locked that because now you imagine me sort of yelling out the word Millet, right?
Anyway, I’ve been meaning to mess around with this seed for awhile.
Did you know that millet is a staple for almost 1/3 of the world’s population? Particularly in Asia and Africa. Source: Food Lover’s Companion.
I recently had it at one of my favorite spots in NYC-Angelica’s kitchen and it reminded me how much I like the texture. You all get that I’m going to drill it into your heads to try new foods, right?
Anyhoo, I’m pretty sure I left home today smelling like all sorts of spices and when I hit the gym and started running….let’s just say a hint of curry might’ve come out of my pores. That’s kind of gross. Oh well, sorry to the poor souls next to me.
INGREDIENT HIGHLIGHT: MILLET
For starters, it’s gluten free. And while it’s referred to as “bird seed” in America there are actually many varieties of millet, most of which are rich in protein. The one we use in the U.S. is proso millet.
Medicinal Benefits/Nutritional woohoo: Food is medicine and millet has been used to treat blood sugar imbalances, and cooking it with winter squash (as I did today) increases it’s medicinal value to the earth element organs (little bit of ayurveda for you folks), it also reduces kapha (think lazy people treatment).
Nutritionally: it has one of the richest amino acid profiles (protein my people) and highest iron content (good for vegans: aka non-carnivores). Also rich in phosphorus, magnesium and B vitamins.
Use: The reason you might want to choose to use it is because it’s pretty bland all on it’s own, but once you dunk it into other flavors it makes a great “background” to other seasonings. Try using it in pilafs, hot cereal, millet pudding (coconut millet breakfast pudding?). Ground millet flour can be used in puddings, breads and cakes. 1 cup of millet: 2 1/4 cups of water = grainy, pilaf like. 3 cups of liquid: millet ration= creamy and smooth like polenta (Yes please!).
Storage/Buying: It’s got a fragile shelf life, so purchase it in small quantities if you can at a natural food store with a high turnover and store it in a cool pantry or refrigerate it for months.
Serves: Definitely 2, possibly 4.
Time: 30 minutes for each, so you’ll multitask here. (Roasting spuds & squash, millet, and stew).
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed (you can pre roast the squash and potato as I did)
- 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (the more the merrier-just make sure you all eat garlic tonight)
- 1 cup tomato sauce (I use POMI)
- 1-14 ounce can of chicpeas (or navy beans, really any bean)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon of garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (I was out of the fresh stuff, but grate fresh ginger-1 Tablespoon if you have it)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (click on link for another recipe)
- more cinnamon (why not?)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 heaping handfuls spinach (optional-but I wanted a color besides tan and red in my meal)
For the millet:
- 2 1/4 cups low sodium vegetable broth (chicken broth)
- 1 cup millet, uncooked
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (makes it sunset yellow)
- salt and pepper to taste
METHODS: (trust me, it’s a simple process, otherwise I would’ve tossed this idea out the door).
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Let heat for a minute. Add onions and garlic. Saute for about 5-6 minutes until onions are translucent.
- Add all other ingredients except for the spinach (add that towards the end) and stir to combine. Let simmer for approximately 30 minutes on low heat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss sweet potato and squash on a cookie tray and drizzle with some olive oil. Roast for approximately 30 minutes, or until a the fork you poke it with goes through easily (while the chicpea combo is cooking).
- Once the spuds and squash are done roasting, simply add them to the bean mixture and stir. Then add the spinach and stir until it wilts.
NOTE: the mixture will be thick, you can add more tomato sauce or water to thin it out.
While the spuds are roasting and the sauce is saucing:
- Bring 2 cups of broth to a boil.
- Take 1 cup of uncooked millet and toast in a fry pan until browned. Approximately 5-6 minutes. Do not burn this stuff. However, the pleasant aroma that’s somewhat cornbread like will fill your kitchen. Take a deep inhale….ahhhh.
- Place the toasty millet in the boiling water and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Toss a pat of butter in there for additional creaminess (why not?).
- Add spices and stir to combine.
Place a scoop of the millet on a cute dish, scoop the stewy spuds over the millet and serve.
- Flavorwise you’re going to have to play. Whether you like it spicier or more on the mild side is all up to your hands in the kitchen. I think I added more turmeric and cinnamon.
- Use just butternut squash or sweet potatoes, whatever you have really.
- Use another grain. Couscous would be nice, or some jasmine rice. (Oh that rhymes, hahaah).
Have you used moroccan spices or millet?