Food Of Month, “Marvelous Millet”

So many people ask me about millet. They want to start eating it but are unfamiliar with how to cook and use this nutritional, whole grain. I want to share with you one of my favorite ways to cook and prepare millet, in order to take the mystery out of this creamy and slightly sweet food.

Older than any other grain, millet has been eaten since at least 10,000 years ago. It is the main food source of the Hunza people, known for their longevity, and living in Asia. You have probably seen millet most often in bird seed. It is a small, round, yellow whole grain that is very high in fiber, making it a heart healthy food and can help lower cholesterol. It also has a good amount of iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium. Interesting to note, millet has the highest protein content of the whole grains, 15%. Energetically, millet feeds and nurtures your spleen, pancreas and stomach; the main organs that help you deal with stress, so millet is your anti-stress grain!

The best way to cook millet is to pot boil it. Put 1 cup millet, 2 cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to lowest possible temperature and simmer for 20 minutes. Water should have been absorbed at end of cooking time. It should be creamy and sweet, not crunchy. Once it is cooked, my favorite way to prepare it is to form it into cubes. While still hot, season with a little sea salt and press it into a casserole dish. Press it hard so it will be firm later. Put in refrigerator until cold. Cut into cubes and you can eat it just like that as a snack or add more ingredients and make a salad with the cubes, such as my recipe here. Try millet next time you are looking for a new food to try — I think you will really enjoy the taste and texture.

Cubed Millet and Tempeh Salad
1 cup millet
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 (8 oz.) tempeh (partially cooked and fermented soy)
Olive oil, tamari
2 celery stalks (diced)
1/2 cup peas
2 scallions (thin rounds)
1 1/4 cup Vegenaise (dairy free mayonnaise)
3 tsp. yellow mustard
1/4 cup peanuts (optional)

Pot boil millet and water for 20 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. Mix in the 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Press firmly into a casserole dish. Millet should be about 1/2 to 1 inch thick in dish. Put in refrigerator until cold. Cut millet into cubes. Put some olive oil and tamari in a sauté pan and place tempeh in pan. Brown the tempeh on each side, remove and cut into squares, the same size as the millet. While sauté pan is still hot, put the celery, scallions and peas in, for only about one minute. This imparts flavor into the vegetables. Put the millet, tempeh and vegetables in a large bowl. Add the Vegenaise and yellow mustard, (and peanuts) mix all together and serve cold.

Val Wilson

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About the writer: Valerie Wilson

Valerie Wilson is a chef, author, counselor, and host of "Healthy Cooking with Macro Val" on BMSRadio. She teaches macrobiotic, vegan cooking classes in Westland, Mi.

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