Basics - Perfect Millet. Gluten-free, vegan.

Millet is a much underused grain. Often thought of as budgie food in the UK, it is the staple food of around half of the population of the world. Originating in Africa and China it is a small grain rich in B vitamins and manganese and very versatile. I love it because it is so easy to cook but it also puffs up like tiny, little, popcorn. This makes it a wonderful side to soak up rich sauces or as a salad to soak up dressings.

Millet is super quick and easy to cook.

Naturally gluten-free, millet is a wonderful grain that can be used as an accompaniment to almost any dish from curry e.g. Chick Peas and Kale in Tamarind Tomato Sauce to Chilli Sin Carne and in salads. This method produces a light and fluffly grain (a cross between cous-cous, popcorn and quinoa) but millet can also be cooked with more water to produce a wet-polenta or porridge like side.

The Millet is gluten-free, vegan as well as… celery free, coconut free, garlic free, lupin free, mustard free, nightshade free, onion free, peanut free, sesame free, soya free, tree nut free.

You can get millet from many supermarkets or local Asian or African stores.

This method to cook millet works every time! The key to this Perfect Millet method is toasting the millet before cooking. Super easy. I cook my Perfect Millet in a pan on the hob using one of the many absorption methods – where the grain is cooked with only the volume of water required to cook the grain. As the method suggests the water is absorbed by the millet. There are lots of other absorption methods – this is the tastiest and most consistent. Other methods include steaming, boiling in excess water, in the microwave, in a rice cooker and so on…

This is one of the rare occasions that ingredients are measured by volume rather than weight. I estimate as a guide that 200 millilitres of dry millet will serve approximately four to six people.

I do not add salt. I do not think millet needs salt. However for an extra dimension you can use gluten free, vegan stock instead of boiling water in the recipe below.

For any leftover millet cool quickly and refrigerate.
Difficulty easy
Serves 4-6
Preparation time 0 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes (including standing time)

Ingredients
1 measure of Millet (200 millilitres will serve approximately four people)
2 measures of boiling water

Method
1. Add the millet to a high sided, dry pan and put on a low to medium heat. Gently toast the millet until the grains have changed colour and there is a nutty smell coming from the pan
2. Add the boiling water to the pan and, quickly and carefully, place a lid on the pan. The pan will be very hot and so will spit and bubble like crazy. This is why it is best to use a high sided pan
3. Cook the millet on a low heat until all the water is absorbed. Once all the water is absorbed turn off the heat, fluff the Millet gently, replace the lid and leave to stand for at least 10 minutes
4. Ready to serve.