Millet Recipes – A collection of flavorful dishes with an important nutritious ancient grain. I believe the world should take a look at this grain, known as Millet!
That’s why I have put together some knowledge about what millet is, why you need to try this ancient grain, the types of millets, why Millet is important and how to cook with millet. You will also find a rich diverse source of various millet recipes for breakfast, to prepare homemade bread, appetizers, dinner, and even desserts.
This should get you going to explore the many faces of millet grains!
What is millet?
Millets are a group of ancient small roundish grains, grown of a species of hot weather resistant cereal grasses.
These different millet varieties are indigenous and mostly grow in arid to semi-arid areas in the world, as on the African continent, the Indian subcontinent, China and in South East Asia.
Millet is an ancient grain because millet crops have been cultivated for more than 10.000 years in some parts of the world.
What type of millets exist?
Millet varieties are usually split into two, with the major millet varieties (Pearl, Proso, Foxtail, Finger Millet) dominating the world and the so-called minor varieties, which are usually not produced en masse.
Sorghum is sometimes called Great Millet but it’s actually not a millet variety so I don’t count sorghum here.
Sometimes when you go to your ethnic neighborhood grocery store, you will see packets of millet grains with foreign names (usually Indian). Those foreign names stand for various millet varieties in Hindi. I have added in brackets the Hindi names next to the English name.
I don’t have any millet pictures but you can see here, uploaded by the croptrust.org.
- Pearl Millet/Cattail Millet/Green Millet (Bajra)
- Proso Millet
- Foxtail Millet (Thinai)
- Finger Millet (Ragi)
- Little Millet
- Barnyard Millet
- Kodo Millet (Varagu)
- Job’s Tears/Adlay Millet
- Browntop Millet (Korle in Kannada lan.)
Many of the minor millet grains are close to extinction. This is an alarming trend and a blow to grain diversity!
The Genecrop bank in Svalbard is currently working on conserving only Finger and Pearl Millet.
If you have some info regarding millet varieties and names, please share with us in the comment section below!
Why is millet such an important crop?
What makes all the millet varieties so interesting is the fact that these crops are high drought and heat resistance and have a short growing time in the aridest places in the world.
That means food security in the world would not be such a big issue right now if millets were growing the way they did 60 years ago.
See, I need to explain in short what I mean with that so that you get the whole picture why we need to promote and use millet more again.
The global ecosystem problem and the millet solution
The current millet and food security situation in the world goes like this (and everything is connected in this world so that means you sitting in the US or Europe will be affected by that eventually if nothing changes!):
Millet is mostly cultivated in arid places in Africa and India, yet it has been replaced by western crops such as the common GMO wheat crop and the corn crops over the past decades.
This was done because multinational companies got into the game in these countries with non-local crops such as wheat, corn, and some rice varieties. These crops are not meant for these type of areas, they require a lot of water.
So in the case of India, you have poor farmers who buy these subsidized crops because the governments (who is promoting the multinational interests due to their corrupt ways) literally put out signboards in small villages in India to convince farmers to buy these crops and when you buy these crops for your fields, you need to buy expensive fertilizes and pesticides as well. At the same time tractors are needed and all this amounts to a lot of money that a poor Indian farmer needs. The farmers are bound to take a bank loan.
And what follows has turned into a gruesome tragedy!
The farmers plant crops which are not meant for the environment and they need more water. Water shortage is a common problem, short and late rainy seasons, or sometimes the opposite floodings, are a yearly occurrence these days. The crops die, the farmers are in a huge loss. The farmers can’t pay back the banks, the banks send out their thugs to harass the farmers, the farmers either take another loan or the bank takes in some of their lands. The farmers loose it all and suicide in masses. This is just one disgusting problem.
The second problem is unhealthier, nutritious poor crops with a layer of pesticides are now the norm and those have been making people anything but healthy. A one-sided diet has become commonplace in most households in India.
The third problem is that the Indian countryside looks like a mars landscape and it’s just been getting worse. You will be able to see this in a video which I will post in the next months. I had filmed all the way driving from Goa-Himachal Pradesh and along the way you can see that all the rivers are completely dry and that the land looks fruitless and poor.
This could result in something a many call a “climate change” migration. When people can not live in one place anymore, they will have to move on and guess where they will go?
But there is a solution!
Indigenous crops such as Millet have to be exchanged with these natural and human harming crops. Millet crops can take high temperatures, poor soil, don’t need much water and if there are floodings, they will still make it.
They also don’t need the amount of protection from local insects so fewer pesticides in our food and reduced cost for the farmers.
Also, Millet can grow up to an altitude of 2500 m. That is quite impressive if you ask me.
Most probably millet crops could bring back nutrients into the soil and make the land healthy again which in turn will increase the likelihood of other plant species growth and that will reduce temperatures, floodings, and eventually drought.
Millet grains bring a lot of benefits to the people and nature. It’s an inexpensive grain and would, therefore, be a major food security player.
One more millet benefit – the Nutritious value of the grains
Besides those millets contain a balanced amount of nutrients including essential fats, carbs to keep you going and full for a longer period of time, fibers for your digestion, a good dose of a natural b-vitamin complex as well a sufficient amount of plant proteins.
Of course each millet variety will have a different natural dosage of nutrients but still, this mostly surpasses common wheat grain varieties and rice varieties.
I think all these points make sense in the big picture, don’t you agree?
How to cook millet?
There is a normal way and enhanced way to cook whole millet grains.
The enhanced way: You dry toast the millet grains in a pan so that the nutty flavors of the grains are released. This enhances the dish flavor greatly because otherwise, millets can be rather bland. Then you just boil the millet.
The normal way: Well, you just boil the millet without the extra step but the millet dish will be less flavorful.
Otherwise, cooking whole millet grains is like cooking any other grain such as rice. You can boil/steam millet in water or milk, depending on the recipe.
For millet flour, just use it as you would use any other flour in your cooking/baking to prepare flatbreads, yeast bread, bars, cookies, and cakes. You can also use millet flour in stove top porridge!
1 cup raw millet grains = to about 3 1/2 cups cooked millet
Other millet questions:
Is Millet Gluten-free/Paleo/Keto friendly?
Yes, Millet is Gluten-free!
No, Millet is not Paleo and Keto diet friendly.
What can you use in place of millet?
If you must, you can substitute Millet with quinoa in some recipes. But only if you really have to!
Can I eat Millets raw?
No, millet needs to be cooked to be digested.
+20 Millet Recipes
I have put together a collection of +21 various millet recipe ideas. This includes mostly breakfast millet recipes, bread millet recipes and some millet appetizer, whole meals, and dessert.
The recipes are made from scratch and call for several different millet varieties.
If you read only millet without an explanation for which millet variety has been used in the recipe, you can assume most of the time Pearl Millet, as it is the most commonly used Millet.
The 20+ Millet Recipes have been carefully picked from various popular food blogs on the web and included only trustworthy recipes.
To get to the full recipe to print and save, you can click on the title or the picture.
Millet Recipes for Breakfast:
Millet Bread Recipes:
Millet Recipes Appetizer, Dinner, and Dessert:
by Masala Herb
Dear Reader, Which millet recipe are you planning to try first?
Please feel free to let us know in the comment section further below!