How to prepare the perfect bowl of Millet

Millet is one of the lesser known grains, yet it is extremely nutritious and easy to make. It can be boiled or steamed. If you enjoy a nutty flavour some people recommend dry roasting the millet before cooking it. Getting the water ratios and cooking time right are important otherwise the millet can turn out either too stodgy or too dry. Following these tried and tested methods can help you prepare the perfect bowl of millet from your very first attempt.

Step 1 – Soaking the Millet

Though it is not essential to soak the millet it is highly recommended. Soaking has a number of benefits. Firstly it helps to clean the grains from any dust or contaminants that may have been picked up during packaging, transportation and storage. Secondly, soaking helps activate the nutrients in the millet and makes them more digestible. It is recommended to soak the millet for between 3-6 hours, rinsing once or twice during that time. If you are short on time and have to forego soaking, then be sure to rinse the millet at least two to three times before cooking.

Step 2 – Considerations for cooking Millet

When cooking soaked millet the amount of liquid needed is less than cooking un-soaked millet. The amount of liquid you use will also depend if you want a dry fluffy texture similar to couscous or if you want a moist sticky texture similar to white rice. For a plain flavour you can simply use water. However, if you prefer a richer flavour you can cook the millet in stock similar to how you would prepare a risotto.

If you desire a light fluffy texture then the ratio of millet to liquid is 1:2 if un-soaked. In other words use one cup of un-soaked millet to two cups of boiling water or stock. For soaked millet you will need just half a cup of boiling liquid to one cup of soaked millet (expanded from one cup of dry millet). For a moist sticky texture the ratio of millet to liquid is 1:1 for soaked millet and 3:1 for un-soaked millet.


Step 3 – Cooking times for Millet

If boiling the millet, cooking times will vary between 10 and 30 minutes depending of if the millet is soaked beforehand. Soaked millet takes just 10-15 minutes to cook when using boiling liquid. Dry un-soaked millet will take 25-30 minutes to cook.

If preferred, you can steam the millet. While this is a lot less hassle if using an electric steamer or rice cooker, the cooking time will be longer. For un-soaked millet it takes 45-60 minutes to steam. For soaked millet expect it to take between 25 and 30 minutes to cook.

Step 4 – Serving the Millet

Once it is cooked, fluff the millet with a fork before serving. One cup of dry millet serves four medium sized portions. Millet can be served as an accompaniment to stews or curries or served as a dish on its own. As it has a fairly neutral flavour it can be easily combined with a number of ingredients for a variety of flavours.


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