Honey and millet cooked in a skillet,
Those tiny round beads are not grains but seeds!
Is millet a seed or a grain?
Millet is a seed. There goes my lifelong knowledge of millet as a grain. What’s more, it’s the main component of birdseed mix. Hello, Mr Sparrow – mind if I join you on the bird table?
But if you think that will put you off millet, remember birds also eat breadcrumbs. And I promise to stop before we get to worms.
Seriously though, millet might technically be a seed but so, actually, is rice. And quinoa. And sunflower – well, you knew this one. So hopefully we have resolved the seed-grain contest now and can rule a draw.
What use is millet?
Any foodstuffs that come in the shape of tiny pearls are a source of joy to me – I love adding mustard seeds to sauces and stews, and I love the crunch of millet in bread. But it can actually be used to make bread from, as it has been done for centuries in Africa and Asia. It is not the choicest grain – oops, seed! – obviously, and only unleavened or flat breads can be successfully fashioned of ground millet. Plus, it smells a little off-putting when ground: a bit dusty, a bit quinoa-ish.
But it’s healthy!
Well, of course it is: it’s a plant, a source of fibre, calcium, magnesium and it also is comparatively protein-rich. So what’s a little whiff between friends? Anyway, in the millet porridge we’re using whole grains. Seeds. Whatever!
The best porridge has a bite
I am a dedicated enemy of pulps and purees where chunky and bity would serve as well. Blended soups, pureed vegetables – the only exception there are mashed potatoes. Thus I like my porridge chunky and with a bite. If that’s not you, soak the millet overnight before cooking it and skip the toasting in butter. You’ll miss out, but that’s your choice. Plus, starting on your breakfast the night before is a bit obsessive (overnight oats excluded).
How to cook millet porridge?
Okay, it is a bit of hassle compared to oats porridge but not more overall than with cooking rice. If you have a rice cooker you might give it a go, but I have not tried so can’t give a verdict. The old-fashioned method on the hob is my way of cooking it.
It is worth toasting the grains – SEEDS! – with cinnamon for starters to merge and intensify the flavour. If you’re vegan, replace butter with coconut oil.
I then add honey, just for the amusement of seeing how it spits and sputters, pour in water and cook, covered, over low heat, like rice. Both seeds, remember?
It needs to rest for a few minutes, like rice again, before it’s consumed with great pleasure and a dollop of yoghurt.