Millet is the ur-porridge. According to an excellent article in Wikipedia, it is not one seed at all, but the seeds of various plants around the world that are all raised and cooked the same way. It was cultivated 10,000 years ago, and it’s one of the seeds they found in the stomach of the Iron Age (about 500 BCE) bog bodies in Jutland, Seamus Heaney mentions the seeds in stomach in his poem on Tollund Man. it was the staple of many cultures before maize was imported from the Western Hemisphere, and it is still a staple of millions of people today in Africa and Asia, and the porridge is a common food for weaning. Clare across the street told me that when she was in Senegal, she ate a porridge made from green millet (rather than the yellow kind we get in the UK) every day. Recently Carolyn Phillips reported on a simple Chinese version that is a lot like congee.
I based my rather more fancy porridge on a recipe based on that from Lizzie’s Kitchen at WholeFoodMatters. The principle of this and related seed porridges seems to be cooking the grains first, and then adding more liquid.
¼ cup millet grain
½ cup water
¼ cup chopped apricots
¼ cup chopped dates
toasted sunflower seeds
toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup soy milk
[Lizzie’s Kitchen also added some maple syrup]
I rinsed the millet in a sieve, and cooked it in the water for fifteen minutes until the water was absorbed, and then fluffed it with a fork. Then I added the other ingredients and cooked it for fifteen minutes more, in the double boiler. It turned into a rather thick but tasty mound.
It doesn’t seem to me to be as pleasantly filling as oatmeal. Tess showed an interest, because she had liked millet porridge in Finland, but this wasn’t at all what she had in mind, since it looks more like a dinner side dish than a breakfast porridge. I’ll look for some millet meal and see if that reproduces better what she remembers.
Feasts and Fotos has a very similar recipe for quinoa, cooking it first (or using leftover cooked quinoa). There is a nice touch of a teaspoon of yoghurt at the end, which does make it smoother and more porridge-like.