Farmed thousands of years ago & revered in ancient texts, Millet is an ancient grain tracing it’s roots to the Far East. According to Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, ‘Unlike most other grains, this versatile, gluten free grain is alkaline, which makes it easy to digest and helps balance the body’s natural tendency towards acidity.’
- Millet is also gluten free, protein rich & is an excellent source of dietary fiber.
- It is anti-oxidant rich & provides a significant source of necessary minerals:
- magnesium which reduce effects of migraines & heart attacks
- Niacin (vit B3) which helps lower cholesterol & triglycerides
- While comparable to semolina in calories & carb count, millet has a lower glycemic load meaning that its high fiber & low simple sugar composition produces lower blood sugar levels than rice.
- Millet helps foster healthy gut bacteria, and the serotonin is calming to the mood. (all info from www.Care2.com).
Millet looks like large quinoa, and is sometimes mistaken for it. This whole grain can be used as a healthier alternative to rice and can be cooked both savory or sweet. My friend Uma gave me this idea and given the health benefits and easy of preparation, it will definitely be a staple in my pantry.
Gluten-Free & High-Fiber Millet Upma
(Makes about 6 cups; serves 4-5)
- 2 cups hulled millet (not pearled)*****
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 big onion (chopped fine)
- 8-10 green chillies
- 1 inch ginger (grated) [or] 1 1/2 Tbsp ginger paste
- 1 medium tomato (chopped fine)
- 1 medium potato (diced into small pieces)
- 1 large carrot (diced)
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 Tbsp lemon / lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 1/2 cups water
- Heat a large heavy bottom pan on medium flame, and add oil.
- When oil heats up, add the onions, chillies and the ginger and fry till the onions start to slightly brown, stirring frequently.
- Add tomatoes and saute till they are soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, peas, salt & turmeric and stir fry for 3-5 minutes on medium-high flame.
- Add the water and bring to a boil.
- Immediately add the millet, stir everything well and return to boil.
- Reduce flame, cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes on low flame. Do not lift lid midway to check.
- Remove from heat, stir and recover; allow the millet to sit for about 10 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice & cilantro and stir before serving.
EASY method: Season directly in a pressure cooker pan, roast the vegetables for only 2 minutes, add water and millet, and cover. Cook on medium flame for 2 whistles. Allow to rest for about 15 minutes before opening and adding cilantro & lime juice.
***** Hulled millet is still a whole grain which is ‘shelled’ / just the bran removed – a realistic way of humans being able to consume it. Pearled millet is more processed and polished to make cooking times lower.