Spanish Style Fried Millet is a spicy, whole-grain take on fried rice. This side dish is quick and simple to prepare and will remind you of those boxes of pre-seasoned Spanish rice and pasta blends. This millet makes a great side dish or as a base to a whole grain buddha bowl for lunch.
How to cook millet
Millet is a nutty, small whole grain. Whole grain means it has not been pearled, polished or otherwise refined. But as a bonus, this little whole grain will cook in about 20-25 minutes, so it takes about the same amount of time as white rice.
Millet cooks similar to quinoa or rice. I like to toast millet first before cooking to add flavour and depth to the finished dish. Toasting is not necessary, but really improves the flavour so I recommend it.
To cook millet, for every 1 cup of millet you will need 2 cups of water or other liquid. I use salted water or vegetable stock for savoury dishes like this one, but just plain water for something on the sweeter side like a breakfast dish.
Where to buy millet
Most well-stocked grocery stores will have millet in the gluten-free or specialty foods section of the store. Bob's Red Mill is popular and found in most supermarkets. I often buy my whole grains from the bulk food store, the BulkBarn. You can also order online here.
Millet is a good source of protein and fibre. As well as vitamins and minerals you miss when choosing "white" refined grains like white rice. Millet is also gluten-free.
More millet recipes
I love to throw millet into baked goods. You don't have to cook it first -- just throw it into muffins or scones like you would poppy seeds or sunflower seeds. Check out a couple of my favourite millet recipes:
This Spanish style fried millet is on the savoury side of things. And I think you will like it as an easy whole grain alternative to white rice. It cooks quickly.
How to make Spanish style millet
Like any good fried rice recipe, this millet dish starts with cooked grains. But unlike fried rice where it's best to start with leftover rice, it's not necessary here. You can throw freshly cooked millet into this dish.
In the recipe below I have assumed you are starting with uncooked grains, so I've provided instructions that will have the whole dish ready in about 30 minutes, starting with dry millet.
If you are starting with cooked, leftover millet, you will need about 3 cups cooked millet and you can start at Step 3. And start to finish, if starting with pre-cooked grains, this dish will take about 15 minutes.
Serving and storage
I like to serve this as a side dish in place of rice. It's particularly good with beans or sweet corn and sauteed greens. If serving as a side dish you will get about 6 generous ½ cup servings.
As a main or as a lunch, I love this grain underneath beans and roasted sweet potatoes in a taco style grain bowl like this one. It is also good on its own served with a little bit of avocado and maybe some shredded and melted cheese (vegan or otherwise).
Spanish Style Fried Millet
- 2 cups salted water or low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup dry millet
- 1 white onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3-6 dashes tabacco sauce optional, or to taste depending on how spicy
- 2-3 Tbsp water, as needed
- Bring water or stock to a boil over high heat in a medium-sized saucepan, (you should have at least room for 4-5 cups in your pot).
- At the same time, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and toast the millet seeds for a few minutes. They will start to smell toasty, 2-3 minutes if the millet is dry when you start. Don't allow the kernels to darken. The stock should be starting to heat and boil at this point, transfer the toasted millet into the pot with stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes until millet is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, leave lid on, and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- While the millet is cooking, chop onion and green pepper and get out the rest of your ingredients.
- Return the non-stick skillet to medium heat and warm olive oil. Add onion and saute for 5-7 minutes or until onion is soft and tender. Add green peppers and saute for a couple more minutes. Add garlic and cumin. Simmer gently until the millet is ready.
- Once millet has finished cooking and has rested for a few minutes. Fluff with a fork and add to the saute pan along with tomato paste, soy sauce and tobacco. Work the paste into the grains. Add a tablespoon or 2 of water to loosen paste as necessary. This might take a couple of minutes. Be patient. Add another tablespoon of water if the millet starts to stick. Cover and allow to steeam on low heat for a couple of minutes. Once fully incorporated, serve.