Much consumed in Africa and Asia, it is being rediscovered in Europe, associated above all with the new healthy cuisine. It is the richest cereal in iron and has a delicate flavor that offers a lot of play as an alternative to rice or pasta.
Millet is one of the oldest human foods. Coming from central Africa, its cultivation could spread 2,000 years ago to India and China in the east, and to Asia Minor and Europe in the north.
Today, of the 30 million tons of millet produced each year in the world, 90% is used by developing countries. Of this amount, approximately two-thirds are used for human consumption, and the rest for animal feed, the production of alcoholic beverages and agricultural uses.
Great source of health
As an exceptionally iron-rich cereal, millet is recommended in cases of physical weakness, fatigue, anemia, asthenia, lack of spirit and heavy menstruation. It is also very useful for pregnant or breastfeeding women. It favors cell regeneration and is therefore considered excellent for strengthening the health of the skin, hair, nails and teeth.
Due to its high magnesium content, millet is considered a very appropriate cereal for athletes, who lose many minerals with sweat. In addition to combating exhaustion and allowing recovery after physical exertion, it relieves muscle cramps and strengthens muscles.
Millet is equally effective in defending against stress and nervous irritability, in reducing the intensity and frequency of migraine attacks, and as a support in weight loss regimens. It is also among the few gluten-free cereals, which is interesting for people with celiac disease.
A flavor rich in nuances
Millet can be an interesting alternative to rice or wheat pasta. In Africa, different nutritious breads and cookies are made with it, as well as certain alcoholic beverages. It is a very energetic cereal, ideal for breakfast - in cereal muesli, for example, although it is unusual - or to integrate it into the diet prior to a sports day or an excursion.
In general, millet has a mild flavor, which there are those who relate to butter and who would define it as sweet, but in any case it gives good results together with other ingredients with a stronger or more intense flavor, to which it provides a fine nuance. special.
Millet can be included in a variety of salads, but it also combines well with legumes (millet with baked lentils or millet with chickpeas), with soybeans in its various forms (tofu, tempe, miso), and with vegetables, especially sweets (millet pudding with carrot and ginger; millet gnocchi with red cabbage; gratin millet and cauliflower ...). It is also a good ingredient in pizzas and vegetable burgers, and in vegetable creams and soups, among other options. Its crunchy texture captures well the aromas of the ingredients that accompany it and does not tire the palate, as its flavor does not dominate the dish.
Millet is a quick-cooking cereal, very easy to cook. As the grain is very small, before cooking it must be washed and drained well. Then it is lightly toasted in a pan, and immediately afterwards cooked in hot water, wait for it to boil, and leave it over low heat for about 20 minutes or until it acquires a spongy texture. Once cooked, the slight bitterness that it gives off completely disappears.
Millet is often cooked unevenly, so that some grains can be fully cooked and open while others remain firm and crisp. When it comes to preserving the millet optimally, it is advisable to store them in airtight containers, preferably glass, and keep them away from heat and humidity.