Dig into a fresh and light alternative to traditional risotto.
Warm rice dishes are the perfect go-to this time of year. They’re soothing and pair well with a number of sides, salads, and wines.
While you could use rice here, too, as is traditional for a risotto or pilaf, this simple tasty dish is a nice way to use up millet, a much underrated, nutritious and gluten-free whole grain.
Millet is a staple grain throughout the planet, especially in Asian and African cuisine. It’s nutty, like a good brown rice but cooks up in less time. Millet doesn’t have the “independence” of rice and can smoosh together quite a bit. But that’s exactly what you want in a dish like this, so let it do it’s thing.
Both millet and peas provide useful sources of protein and iron and the nuts add fat and more protein. Enjoy!
225 grams/8 ounces millet, preferably soaked overnight or for a few hours
1 tablespoon olive oil OR two squirts of oil spray
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
600 milliliters/21 fluid ounces vegetable stock
225 grams/8 ounces frozen peas
85 grams/3 ounces chopped hazelnuts or slivered almonds - or seeds if preferred
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
To serve: dairy-free plain yoghurt such as Alpro, Provamel or Tesco. For a soya-free alternative, use Co-yo or other vegan coconut yoghurt
Suggested additions: 1 tablespoon sultanas;1 tsp cinnamon; drizzle of agave syrup; 2 handfuls of baby spinach added 2 minutes before the end and cooked in.
1. Heat oil or spray in large, heavy based pan and sauté the onion and red pepper for 5 minutes over moderate heat (add a little water/stock if it starts to stick). Add spices and fry for 1 minute, stirring continually.
2. Add the soaked millet and vegetable stock.
3. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally - don't overdo it so that the millet turns fluffy rather than mushy.
4. Meanwhile, place nuts in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and toast till golden brown for 2 minutes or so – keep turning gently with a wooden spatula so they don’t stick or burn. Add peas during last 5 minutes of cooking time.
5. When all liquid has been absorbed and millet is light and fluffy, it’s cooked!
6. Stir in nuts, lemon juice and mint.
7. Serve on warm plates – place a dollop of yoghurt on top if using.