When Chef Remi said she had revamped this dish with some millet, I first wondered if she meant she had given it a questionable 80s hair do. Upon further investigation, I discovered that she had in fact substituted the more summery polenta for an earthy autumnal grain once reserved for the enjoyment of the bird community.
History: Tracing its lineage to Neolithic Africa and even referenced in the Old Testament, millet is a seasoned contender in the whole grain arena. It is used in abundance throughout Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe; lending millety goodness to everything from flatbread to beer. While Western Europe’s interest in millet had previously been limited to bird feed, the rise in gluten-free diets has piqued interest in this lesser known foodstuff.
Properties: Millet is a tiny, round seed with a delicate sweet texture. It is available in varying hues of white to red. We used suma millet in our recipe, while other varieties include finger millet, proso millet and foxtail millet. It is a wonderful staple that’s rich in nutritional goodness; including fibre, iron, B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Cooking with millet: Millet is a versatile all-rounder. Its consistency can be easily altered dependent on the cooking method used, making it ideal to accompany and encompass both mains and desserts. Millet can be boiled into a creamy consistency like mashed potato or simmered into a fluffy rice-like texture. It can be tossed into salads and stir fries or ground and baked into bread or cakes. What an accommodating grain! Due to its high alkaline content, millet also has a soothing quality that makes it a great choice for seasonal comfort food.
Give it a try, it’ll only take a millet!