This dish made its debut at a picnic at the Arboretum a few weeks ago and I have been politely but persistently asked to post the recipe ever since. This is a millet-based version of my basic fried rice recipe, and is similarly flexible.
The one thing you may be wondering is: what, exactly, is millet? So glad you asked! It’s a golden-colored, protein-rich grain that you can boil just like rice. When dry, the kernels are tiny spheres.
I think Epicurious describes millet well, though I disagree on the bland taste. It has a nutty, corn-like flavor that gives it more character than other grains you may be used to.
The flavor is strong enough to bring millet from the stuff you put stir fried veggies over to an integral part of the dish. You can use it for pilaf or hot cereal, or even try it in pasta dishes (e.g. toss with extra virgin olive oil, fresh mozz, tomato, and basil). I also like throwing a few tablespoons of uncooked millet into bread dough.
Well, enough intro from me. Here’s the recipe (after you jump the jump!)
Serves 6-10, depending on whether it’s a main dish or side dish
Vegan if you omit the egg
1 cup millet
2 1/4 cups water
2-4 Tbs. cooking oil
2-3 cups vegetables, cut small enough to cook in about 5 minutes (for example, if you’re using baby bok choi, carrots, and onions, keep the bok choi in large pieces, shred the carrots, and dice the onions)
2 med cloves garlic, minced (or you can use garlic scapes as a vegetable above and omit this)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 eggs, beaten, if you want
2 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
A few pinches cayenne pepper or a few squirts of Sriracha, if you want
Sesame seeds, chive blossoms, and/or carrot curls for garnish, if you want
In a medium saucepan set on medium heat, dry roast the millet for a few minutes. Stir or agitate often, and stop when most of the kernels are golden brown. Some will pop, which is just fine and also kinda cool to see.
Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer, without uncovering, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your veggies. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan on med-high heat. Add the 2-3 cups veggies and stir fry for a few minutes, until the veggies are tender-crisp. Now add a little more oil if necessary and then throw in the garlic and ginger. Cook that all together for about 30 seconds, then scoot the veggie-garlic-ginger mixture to one side of the pan. Add oil once again, if necessary, and pour in the beaten egg. Scramble the egg, then turn off the heat and set the pan aside.
Check the millet. If it’s still crunchy, cook for a little longer and add more water if needed. If it’s mushy and still hasn’t absorbed all the water, cook uncovered for a few minutes to allow the excess water to boil off. I’m telling you all this not because I am misguiding you with my instructions but because depending on factors like the age of the millet and how hot your stove is, the cooking time and results will vary. When the millet is ready, turn off the heat and get ready for the finale.
Add the millet, soy sauce or tamari, sesame oil, and optional cayenne or Sriracha to the pan. Combine thoroughly with the veggies and adjust the seasonings to taste. Reheat in the pan if necessary.
Garnish as desired and serve hot.