Many of us have eaten oatmeal, cream of wheat or grits for breakfast at one time or another. So though the idea of a “porridge” may bring to mind orphan Annie, most of us have an idea of a warm grain or seed ground, cooked and sweetened to perfection. Well, let’s add millet to our breakfast’s menu!
Millet–Not Just For Birds Anymore
Millet is considered a grain and has it’s origins in Western Africa. Since then, millet has made it’s way all over the continent of Africa and into Asia. It has always been a human food, but in common times it is also seen as a main ingredient to bird feed.
Health Facts: Millet is a good source of Magnesium and Phosphorus, the latter a major component in repairing body tissue. Accordingly, the magnesium gives millet it’s “heart-healthy” quality.
Now let’s cook!
One thing that I do in my home, is grind the millet. My grind is usually in between the texture of cornmeal and a flour. This works for my family because I have young children who happen to not chew the best. Here’s a pic of my millet grind:
Now, I have a Vitamix dry blender so I use that to grind all my dry goods but I’ve also done this in a regular blender. I did not get a fine grind more like a grits texture. Remember, this is just the way my family likes it, if using millet in savory dishes you may not want to grind it at all because you would want for texture in your dish.
The Tricky part–I have to tell you that millet left to it’s own devices is bitter. The trick I’ve found is to salt the water before you cook the millet. In a small or medium pot– depending on how much you are cooking– put about an inch or 1 1/2 inch of water in the pot. Add 1 tsp of salt (we use sea salt) and add your millet to the pot now and stir. TRUST me, if you don’t do it this way, millet has a bad habit of clumping up on you. By making the mixture now, before you add the pot to the heat you’re distributing the millet all around so it won’t clump up.
We use local honey as a sweetener, our favorite is honey from Breaux Bridge, LA. Remember by adding the salt you have cut the bitterness, but you will want to add a generous amount of your favorite sweetener to fit your tastes. You can add raisins or blueberries. My favorite way to serve the millet right now is to add honey & cinnamon, yum!
I also will add cooked millet to a smoothie of ripe plantain and veggie milk, now that right there is the bomb dot com When my husband was in Ghana, he had a similar drink with akara on the side. I really would like to try that one day. So, get you some millet, and leave that other stuff for the birds 🙂