To bring out the nutty flavor in millet, first rinse and drain it in a fine mesh strainer, then place damp seeds in a dry sauté pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the water has evaporated and the grains have separated, turned lightly brown and smell nutty (about four minutes).
Then cook as directed below.
- For a classic, ricelike texture, use 1 cup millet to 21/2 cups water or broth. Bring to boil, then reduce to a low flame, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
- For a lighter, fluffier effect, cook with a little less water (1 cup millet to 2 cups liquid).
- For a dense, creamy texture (good for cereal or polenta), use more water (1 cup millet to 3 cups liquid).
Shopping and Storage Tips
- Millet seeds can go rancid quite quickly (a bitter flavor and aftertaste is your clue). Ground millet flour spoils even faster, so store it in the refrigerator. If you use only small quantities of millet flour at a time, you can buy the whole seeds and grind them into a coarse flour in a clean coffee grinder or spice mill.
- Prepackaged millet seeds are available in many grocery stores (often in the natural foods section), but you may opt for a bulk bin at a natural foods market where the inventory moves quickly, and where you can buy only as much as you need.
- Store millet in a covered container in a cool, dark place for up to two months. Large quantities can be frozen in a freezer bag for up to six months.
- Toss leftover cooked millet with chopped vegetables and your favorite vinaigrette for a quick and easy salad.
- For a tasty vegetarian entrée, combine warm millet with finely chopped vegetables and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Form into cakes or croquettes, then refrigerate on a baking sheet for 30 minutes. Bake in a 350-degree F oven for 20 minutes until golden brown, or cook in a sauté pan in a small amount of olive oil to brown on both sides.
- Millet makes fabulous polenta. Cook with sautéed onions and vegetable stock until thick and creamy, then finish with a strong cheese such as Roquefort or Parmesan to make it extra creamy. Millet polenta can be served hot, or pressed into a pan, cut when cool, then grilled or sautéed.
- Keep cooked millet in your refrigerator so you can add it to dishes on the fly. Try it instead of breadcrumbs when making burgers, meatloaf or meatballs.
- Try substituting ¼ cup millet flour for 1/4 cup wheat flour in your favorite banana-bread recipe. Millet flour can also be mixed into pancake or waffle batter, adding a rich, nutty flavor.
- Homemade whole-grain bread can be made even better with a ¼ cup of washed and toasted millet added into the flour mixture, providing fiber, texture and flavor.
Next: Coconut Millet Salad