Millet is one of those polarising foods that are the topic of hot debate. The argument is that Millet has been shown to cause hypothyroidism and goitre, based on a study looking at a Sudanese group where goitre is prevalent. The argument is typical of a lot of ‘nutrition science’ at the moment that loves to make great causal assumptions ie ‘these people eat X and suffer with Y, therefore X must be bad.’ What these studies fail to take into account is that grains like Millet have been a staple in various cultures dating back 7000 years. If the grain was responsible for some kind of metabolic derangement, it would surely have taken less time than that to figure this out, or would at least be historically documented. The fact is that Millet is an ancient staple grain – many cultures have eaten it regularly and not only survived, but thrived.
Millet is extremely versatile and can be cooked up much like oats into porridge, or used in a similar way to couscous. Here it is combined with herbed (and deliciously garlicky) Mushrooms before being rolled in Sesame Seeds and baked. They definitely benefit from being topped with a relish or tomato sauce, as pictured here. A salad on the side and you are ready to go.
1 Cup Millet
2 Cups Water
1 TBSP Olive Oil
½ tsp Salt
1 sprig Thyme
1 clove Garlic
1 Onion, finely chopped
250g Button Mushrooms, wiped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 sprigs Thyme
½ Cup Parsley, finely chopped
¼ Cup Chickpea (Gram) Flour
¼ Cup Sesame Seeds (Black/White)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Heat a medium (dry) saucepan and add the millet. Stir for 2-3 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant. Add the water, olive oil, salt, thyme, and garlic. Bring to the boil and then simmer very gently for 10 minutes until all water is absorbed. Do not stir! Remove from heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes – in the meantime, prepare the mushroom mixture.
2. Heat enough oil to just cover the base of a medium pan. Add the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes until tender.
3. Halve the mushrooms and slice. Add to the onions with garlic, thyme and half the parsley. Season well with salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes until mushrooms are tender and just beginning to colour.
4. Fluff the millet with a fork and tip into a mixing bowl. Add the mushroom mixture and remaining parsley, and combine adjusting seasoning as needed. Add chickpea flour and combine. Pre-heat oven to 200 C and grease a baking sheet.
5. Take approximately ¼ cup of mixture at a time and press firmly with hands to shape into a ball. Place sesame seeds in a saucer and roll each ball in sesame seeds before placing on baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Serve topped with a basic tomato sauce, or relish.