Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Spiced Millet & Stir Fried Broccoli

Those of you who know many things will know that millet is used as bird seed. And despite the fact that I am not a budgerigar millet is what I cooked last night for supper. The reason for this slip off the path of the already tried and tested is a plea for help from my friend David. He's a healthy type who teaches Pilates and generally looks pretty amazing despite a penchant for fabulous cake. But what with new year and resolutions and the usual desire to generally be better that strikes us all in January he decided to sort out his diet. He took himself off to see a man who gave him a plan and included in this plan was millet as the grain of choice. Clueless as to its uses he came to me, assuming that my vast repertoire would run to recipes for millet. Except that all I knew about was the bird seed.

Doing a little research turned up a lot of information - it is a grass seed grown in Europe, the States and Australia as a cover crop, for livestock feed as well as for the birds, whereas in Asia and the Middle East it has been cultivated and eaten since prehistoric times and, initially, was probably more important than rice as a crop. It is still used as a source of flour in India and, suited as it is to growing in hot dry climes, it is an important staple in some of the poorest areas of Africa where it is used to make bread and the whole grain is cooked to make porridges and stews. Millet is also the basis for the brewing of some African beers.

David told me that he had looked in the supermarket and in Holland & Barret without success for packs of millet so it seemed that even finding it could turn out to be tricky. As with all things food my first stop was Borough Market and there, on the shelves of Total Organics, I found not only tiny golden millet seed but also flour. This was progress. Most of the uses I could find for it involved either making muesli or simply boiling it to use instead of rice - nothing that sounded wildly interesting. In fact generally a fairly cheerless collection - healthy with an added dash of hair shirt. After my experience of playing around with quinoa I was hoping to do something of the same with millet. When I'm aiming to cook lightweight food I find find spicy is best and that fitted in to the whole healthy point of this exercise.

So I started with the notion of Chinese/Indian and found that toasting the grain in oil with lightly cooked spices before steaming it and then serving it with the simple clean flavours of stir fried broccoli produced a quite wonderful dinner. Simple, quick and it's good for you. Perfect January food.

Spiced Millet

1 cup millet
1 tbspn sesame oil
1 tspn cumin seeds
1 tspn brown mustard seeds
1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 3/4 cup water or stock
¼ tspn salt

Rinse the millet with water and set aside to drain. Very gently heat the sesame oil in a heavy based pan and add the cumin and mustard seeds. Sauté for 10 seconds, until the mixture is aromatic. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes then add the millet and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Bring the stock or water to a boil then add it with the salt to the sauteed millet mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat the let rest for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork and serve with the stir fried broccoli.

Stir Fried Broccoli

500g/1 lb broccoli cut into florets
A large knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 small red chilli, finely chopped , seeds discarded if you don't want it too hot
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbspn olive oil
2 tbspn water
1 tbspn fish sauce
1/2 tbspn oyster sauce

Heat the oil then fry the ginger, chilli and garlic till soft and fragrant. Add the broccoli and stir till coated then add the liquids and stir to incorporate. Bring to the boil then cover, reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes till the broccoli has softened but still retains a bit of crispy bite. Serve over spiced millet.

1 comment:

tricky said...

I came across you recipe as I was looking for a recipe with millet for my infuriating candida diet and this was deliCIos!!! Thank you x 1000!!!