Before there was rice, there was only Yellow Millet making it a staple food in ancient China before rice was discovered. Bearing the status of ‘ancient grain’ because it dates back to the Neolithic Age and archaeologists have discovered millet existed 4000 years ago, it has more nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin Bs thus making it a healthier substitute for white rice which is seen as ’empty carbohydrate’ in comparison.
Today’s dish consists of yellow millet cooked the day before, cooled and stored in an airtight container, then taken out today and fried with a bit of olive oil and ghee made from cow’s milk. On the side, is a winter melon, carrot and egg tofu soup, garnished with coriander leaves and a dash of black pepper just before serving.
To cook the perfect, fluffy yellow millet on a stove is no big deal. I just followed what I’ve seen my mother do. Bring to boil and simmer, all of 5 minutes and then turn off fire but leave it on the stove top with lid untouched. The millet would continue to cook in its own steam and become really fluffy at the end of another 15 minutes after turning off the fire. It’s really interesting.
Let me know how it goes should you give this recipe a try. Enjoy!
Cooking time: 20 mins tops. Serves 2.
STEP 1: Measure out the yellow millet into a pot. In my case, 3 green scoops of raw yielded 2 regular Chinese rice bowls of cooked millet which means enough for 2 persons or 2 single meals.
Qn: Is there a need to rinse the yellow millet beforehand? No, they are not like rice where you need to rinse off excess starch. Plus, I’ve never seen grit or stuff like that in all the packets I’ve ever bought.
STEP 2: Now for the liquid. It’s 1:3 for this particular foxtail yellow millet. Elsewhere other folks have suggested 1:2.5 for other types of millet. I guess you can eyeball while it’s cooking to see if it’s too dry and add more liquid then.
Qn: Are you using water or broth? Do you want to add some salt? Herbs? Cumin seeds? Turmeric powder? Now is the time to decide. Bits of millet floating on the surface is okay. Skim only if it’s clearly dirt.
STEP 3: Cover the pot and cook on high till it reaches a vigorous boil. This allows the grains to open up. This is about the only time you need to watch the pot as the millet tends to foam and froth and boil over all too quickly.
Lower the heat slightly and let boil for another 2 mins before turning off the fire. Leave the pot on the stove top to stand for another 15 minutes.
The grains aren’t fully cooked yet but letting it stand like this ensures they continue to cook in the trapped steam and will become really fluffy. To me, it just isn’t the same when you continue to boil the grains till it’s done.
STEP 4: You’d know when it’s ready to serve when you peek and see those little black eyes staring back at you. The grains have fully opened up and it’s ready for you to fluff and add anything else you fancy – herbs, coriander leaves, butter or ghee.
I will use a spatula, or a chopstick, like this….
And I like cooking millet in a batch, cooled and stored in the fridge.
P.S. As for the soup, boil up the carrots and winter melon and add the egg tofu when almost done. Salt to taste. Coriander leaves and black pepper before serving.
Don’t have yellow millet where you are?
You can buy it here: https://amzn.to/2JTV7Y9
For ghee, this is a good choice: https://amzn.to/2MrUNyp