The millet (Poaceae) family is a group of ancient gluten-free cereal grains that has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years. Familiar in the U.S. as the small, light-colored spherical component of birdseed, millet is a staple food crop across India, Africa, and Asia. The nutritious, silica-rich grain grows quickly in hot, dry areas with relatively low soil fertility. In Nigera (and elsewhere), millet is fermented into a traditional porridge called ogi, which makes up a significant part of the diet.
Millet is an economical, delicious and flavorful grain that can stand alone as either a creamy porridge or fluffy side dish. It can also be added to stir fries, salads, soups and casseroles. Like most grains, millet should be soaked, fermented or sprouted to enhance its nutritional value. It can also be toasted prior to cooking for a warmer, nutty flavor.
This recipe is a great breakfast staple and can also substitute for polenta in recipes that call for it. Grains cooked softer (with more water and slower cooking times) are easier to digest.
Prep time:5 minutes hands on time
Soak time:Overnight (8-12 hours)
Cook time:Time to boil + 45 minutes (hands off simmering time)
- 2 cups organic millet
- 4 cups warm, filtered water
- 1 teaspoon unrefined, good quality salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, ghee, or oil, optional
- 8 additional cups filtered water
- Large ceramic bowl/Stovetop safe glass or earthenware cooking pot with lid
- Mesh strainer
- Four quart cooking pot with a tight fitting lid.
Step 1. Rinse
Place the millet in the bowl or non-reactive cooking pot. Sort through the millet, removing any foreign debris. Then, add enough water to cover the grain by about 1 inch. Agitate the millet with your hand for about 30 seconds. Drain. Add more water and repeat until the water runs clear, usually two-three times.
Step 2. Soak
To the rinsed and drained millet, add the 4 cups of warm filtered water.* Soak in a warm place overnight (7-12 hours).
Step 3. Cook
Drain and rinse the millet and place it in a cooking pot with a tight fitting lid (if it isn't already there). Add 8 cups filtered water. Bring to a boil uncovered. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface and discard.
Stir in the salt. Simmer covered stirring occassionally to redistribute the liquid for about 30 minutes until desired consistency is reached. Stir in the butter or oil. If the millet sticks at the bottom, remove from heat and replace the lid for about 5 minutes.
*You can also soak with an acidifying agent as described in Basic Millet II, retain the soaking water for cooking and add an additional 4 cups filtered water to make the porridge.
Complete millet breakfast:
1/2 cup millet porridge
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup steamed squash
Mix together ingredients in a bowl and enjoy hot.