Millet is available in pearled (unhulled) or hulled form. However, it is only prepared as food after being hulled since the grain has a naturally hard, indigestible covering that is removed before it can be considered ready for human consumption (much like Quinoa). As a result, Hulled Millet is the most commonly sold form. Once out of the hull, Millet seeds resemble tiny yellow beads with dark dots on the side where they are detached from the plant’s stem.
Millet has a mild, slightly sweet flavor when cooked and can be prepared in a short period of time. Nutritionally, Millet is an excellent source of dietary fiber. It is also a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorous and copper. Millet, like oat-bran and other grains, can also be a healthy gluten-free option as well. Additionally, it is considered to be one of the least allergenic of all grains. One of its significant benefits is that while many others grains are acidic, Millet is alkaline which makes it easily digestible, and helps maintain pH equilibrium in the body.
When preparing Millet for cooking, it is recommended to pre-soak the grains, as this makes them more digestible (especially the proteins), cuts down on anti-nutrients, unlocks certain key nutrients (such as enzymes, minerals and more) as well as reduces the cooking time. Once ready, Millet may then be prepared by boiling, pressure cooking or steaming. This means that cooking times and liquid quantities will vary based on how moist or dry you need the Millet to be.
Other preparations recommend slightly toasting the grains before cooking to give the Millet a nuttier flavor as well as a more texture. To toast it, Millet grains may be preheated in a skillet over medium heat and cooked until golden brown. Millet can also be used as a healthier alternative to rice in stir-fry, as well as in salad recipes or as a side dish. It can just as easily be used as a breakfast porridge / hot cereal or even added into baked goods for an additional crunchy texture. It can be used in casseroles, stews, stuffing and soufflés as well. Millet may be prepared sweet or savory which makes this grain versatile for use in a wide variety of recipes. Given its light flavor, Millet lends itself well to seasoning and effectively blends in with other ingredients in the recipe.