Are you vegan? Do you eat dairy? Or eggs? Are you following a Paleo diet? What do you think about eating grains?
It’s not surprising that I’ve been getting these questions from readers lately. A cursory glance at my posting history may lead to the conclusion that I am serial flip-flopper; at least as far as recipe development is concerned. One day it’s a vegan recipe, and the following day eggs take center stage; then it’s a Paleo recipe (like yesterday’s grain-free Holiday cut-out cookies), and today it’s about an ancient grain.
My explanation is simple: I love to play in the kitchen. I also relish a culinary challenge. For example is it possible to make cut-out “sugar” cookies free of grains and, well, sugar? Can vegan muffins taste as good (or better?) as traditional egg and dairy muffins? Or, can I convince my husband that tempeh is both edible and tasty? Sometimes the answer is a resounding “no,” but more often than not, it’s a bold “yes!” I can be quixotic in my recipe aims, but it’s so satisfying when an experiment works (especially when the experiment is something I can serve for dinner).
Moving on, let’s talk ancient grains. Namely, millet. With Christmas fast approaching, I’m trying my best to tighten my grocery shopping belt and cook from my pantry as much as possible. I’ve had a bag of Bob’s Red Mill millet sitting on my shelf for more than a month; today’s the day to open it!
Have you tried millet? It does not have the popularity of grains like quinoa or farro, but it should: it’s naturally gluten-free, high in protein, incredibly versatile, delicious, quick-to-prepare, and inexpensive (about 1/4 the price of quinoa). The cooked texture will remind you of couscous (the small round seeds are about the same size as couscous), but you can also toast it and use it in place of nuts in baked goods like cookies and muffins (like my Vegan Toasted Millet Banana Muffins).
In this recipe I treat millet much like rice or quinoa, adding a double punch of flavor fresh ginger and curry. Be sure to warm up the curry powder in oil before adding to the millet–it takes away the “raw” flavor of the spices and increases the depth of flavor. The crunchy apple and walnut relish on top is fresh and easy counterpoint to the boldly flavored millet–a perfect lunch or dinner. To millet!
- 1-1/4 cups water
- ¾ cup millet
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 2-1/2 tsp curry powder (any heat level you like)
- 1 medium tart-sweet apple, chopped
- 1 tsp agave nectar (or honey if you are not vegan)
- juice and grated zest of 1 small lime
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 3 tbsp chopped raw walnuts
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Millet: In a medium saucepan set over high heat, bring the water, millet, and salt to a boil. Decrease the heat to low; cover and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until the water is just absorbed. Remove from the heat; let sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes.
- In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion; cook and stir for 7 to 8 minutes until softened. Add the ginger and curry powder; cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer until softened. Stir in the millet; cook and stir for 2 minutes longer to blend flavors.
- Relish: Combine all of the relish ingredients in a small bowl.
- Divide millet among 4 bowls and top with equal amounts of the relish.
(2) You can use your favorite oil in place of the coconut oil.