Vegetarian Pyramid Series - Millet

Friday, September 25, 2009

Posted by DK

Many of my Indian friends here bemoaned about lack of availability of Millet in the US of A, when I first moved here. I was surprised to hear that since I sort of remembered seeing lots of millet in the stores esp. in Health foods market. When I told them that, they informed me that they were talking about a different kind of millet altogether which was often confused with regular millet here in the stores. They told me they were talking about Indian Millet which is otherwise called as Finger Millet.


Well if you give a glance at what Wikipedia has to say, then you would know that Finger Millet is not a different Millet but is actually just a type of millet. Among the different available ones like

1. Pearl Millet
2. Foxtail millet
3. Proso millet
4. Finger millet

Indians are fans of finger millet which is otherwise and commonly knows as Finger Millet. It is treasured by the Indian population thanks to the unavailability.

Finger Millet

A recent statistics in some Food Magazine enlightened me with the fact that Millet ranks as the 6th most important grain in the world, sustaining about 1/3rd of the world's population!!!!! Quite a celebrity, Millet is!:)

Millet is Gluten Free
Hence can be consumed by the celiacs and by those with wheat allergy. You can make breads, flatbreads or just enjoy them as pilafs. Since it does not have enough gluten essential for bread making, you would have to use it in conjunction with other flours.

In India the finger millet is ground as flour and taken in the morning as porridge. They are also sprouted to make Malt, ground together with other ingredients to make Indian crepes and also made into numerous snacks and tiffin items like roti's, pakodas etc. Try it as a
1)cooked cereal,
5)souffles (yes, you heard right!),
6)pilaf or as
7)simple stuffing.

The versatility of this grain is boundless

How to cook Millet?
Millet is a bland grain having no distinct taste of its own. It adopts the flavors from the other ingredients cooked with it. Toasting it before cooking helps to enhance its taste.

For 1 cup of Millet, it takes about 2 cups of liquid and a cooking time of approximately 20-30minutes.

If you leave it along as it cooks, the texture would be similar to that of rice - fluffy! But stir constantly with some liquid added at regular intervals ( like that of Risotto), it could end up resembling mashed potatoes. A fellow blogger informed me that her Millet takes longer to cook and more water to get the fluffier texture. She uses

For 1 cup of Millet 3 cups of boiling water and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

I think the cooking time and liquid measurement depends on the variety or specific type available in that particular locality. You can also pre-soak the millet which will reduce the cooking time to 5-10 minutes. You can soak it overnight and steam the next day for about 30 minutes or until tender too.

Millet Sprouts and Flours.
I have never sprouted the pearl millet before although I have sprouted finger millet and made flour out of it to make my morning porridge.

The Millet flour produces dry, light and v delicate baked goods. It makes great crust which is thin and buttery smooth.

If using with yeast, you would have to use other glutinous flours to get the classic rise from yeast. You can also use it as a topping for your baked goods to get that crust. Try this Stuffed Millet Bread for starters. It makes a great accompaniment to soups and a wholesome lunch!

Its one of the major foods in India and for a good reasons. It is about as high in Protein as wheat and is a mineral powerhouse. It contains niacin,vitamin B6, folic acid and bits and pieces of calcium, iron, potassium,magnesium and zinc - well enough to make it nutritious.

How to Buy and Store
Buying organic Millet at your local health stores is the best. I haven't seen them in other stores. They keep well if stored in air tight containers and stored in dry cold shelves. It would be a great idea though to refrigerate them if you have a very hot and humid weather in the place where you live. Properly stored whole millet can lasts up to 2 years. The flour goes rancid very fast- hence use it fast and store it in freezer.

This post was written by Dhivya

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I use millet.. spread it out, ducks land, shoot the ducks- roast duck!

buffalodick said...
September 26, 2009 at 7:41:00 PM GMT+2  

Finger millet is probably the best source of calcium. I cook the Millet flour with date puree for my baby's breakfast - yummy and healthy.

Bharathy said...
September 27, 2009 at 8:42:00 PM GMT+2  

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