I love trying healthy grains (or seeds) in different ways. Especially those I can substitute for rice.Millet is a relatively unknown small, round, yellow (or white, gray or red) seed. Although the term millet refers to grains, it is not really a grain, but a seed. Millet is widely grown in India, Asia, and parts of Africa. Certain forms of millet have high protein, minerals, iron and calcium compared to common grains such as rice and wheat. It is gluten free, and a good substitute for other grains such as rice, oats or couscous.It is a source of high energy,
This is my second time cooking it and I can tell you it is not the easiest to cook. It definitely takes longer and needs more preparation than other grains such as Amaranth and Quinoa. For details on preparation and how to cook millet, I found this site with good information.
Upma is a very traditional and popular south Indian breakfast item that I cook for brunch, quite often. I have a traditional recipe that we used at home and adapt it each time I alter the ingredients. Following my Upma series, here is another almost similar, but slightly different millet-based Upma.
1 cup organic, hulled millet, rinsed (soaked overnight if possible)
1 small onion or scallion, chopped
1/2 red beet, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
a small piece of ginger chopped
a handful of cashews ( you can also use peanuts)
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ghee (optional)
a few curry leaves
In a pan, add oil, channa dal, urad dal, mustard seeds and cashews (or peanuts) and fry lightly till golden. Add chopped ginger, curry leaves and jalapeno and fry for a minute. Add onion and continue frying for 2-3 minutes. Add beets and tomatoes and fry for 1-2 minutes.
Add 2-3 cups water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and let simmer for 5-6 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse millet seeds and add. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes or until cooked, stirring often, and adding water as needed. Add 1tsp of ghee if desired and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove from flame and serve warm with a cup of tea or coffee.
In addition you can also make upma with bulghur wheat, Sooji (cream of rice) or Vermicelli.