How to cook millet

How to cook millet - step by step instructions and tips.

Millet is commonly used in India and is a traditionally used ingredient in many dishes. There are quite a few types of millet and these are used locally.

Now a days, all types of millet are available online. As people are becoming aware of the nutritional qualities of millets, they are used more often.

Even those who were using rice, are now shifting to using millets. Diabetics can use millets instead of rice. Cooking millet is similar to cooking rice.

How to cook millet in a pot on the stove top 

Washing and Soaking millet before cooking

Before you cook millet, you need to wash it. Though soaking is not a must, soaking millet helps in cooking it fast. The soaking time would depend on how soft you want your millet when it is cooked. Minimum 15 to 30 minutes soaking is necessary. You may also soak for 2-3 hours if you wish.

If you do not have time for soaking, you will need longer time for cooking. Soaking millet reduces cooking time.

I like millet to be soft, so I usually soak for more than one hour whenever there is time.

Amount of water to add for cooking millet

Generally the ratio for millet and water is 1:2, this is same as rice. For one cup millet, you need 2 cups of water.

The amount of water to add to cook millet will depend on the time you soak millet as well as how soft you want your millet.

You need to add some extra water when you want softer millet. The quantity of water will depend on the variety of millet.

Adding too little will not cook the millet properly. The millet is perfectly cooked when millet is cooked soft but each grain is separate.

Ingredients for cooking millet on the stove top in a pot for 2-3 servings

  • Millet - 1 cup
  • Water - 2 to 2 1/2 cups

Optional ingredients

  • Salt -1/4tsp

Step by step instructions for plain steamed millet

  • Take millet in a plate and remove any impurities visible. Now a days you get cleaned millet so this step may not be necessary.
  • Take 1 cup millet in a bowl. Add water and wash millet 2-3 times till water runs clear.
  • Keep aside for 15 - 30 minutes. Soak longer, up to 3 hours if you want softer millet.

Cooking millet after soaking

  • Keep a big pot(about 2 litre size) with 2 cups of water to boil.
  • When water starts boiling, add soaked millet.
  • Stir, reduce flame to medium low. Stir once in a while till millet cooks to your liking.
  • Add salt. If you cover the pot, it may boil over so watch it. Or cover the pot in such a way that the steam can escape a little.
  • It will take about 15-20 minutes to cook millet. Add more water if necessary.
  • When the millet is almost done, Cover it and switch the flame off.
  • The millet will continue cooking in it's steam for some time even after you switch off the flame.
  • Leave the millet covered for 10-15 minutes or till serving time.

Serve plain millet hot with rasam, sambar, lentil curry, dal, vegetable curry. Same as you serve plain rice.

How to cook Millet in pressure cooker directly

  • Clean, wash and soak millet as per the instructions above.
  • Add millet to a pressure cooker along with water. The quantity of water will depend on the consistency you want. For porridge like consistency, add 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water for 1 cup of millet.
  • Keep pressure cooker on the stove with medium high flame.
  • Place weight and let pressure build up.
  • Cook for 3-4 whistles minimum. Longer if you want the porridge like consistency.
  • Switch off after that and let cooker cool naturally so that you can remove weight without the hissing sound. This may take 10-15 minutes after you switch off the flame.

Millet will be ready by this time.

How to cook Millet in pressure cooker separator

You can use this separator option if you are cooking other items, such as dals/lentils, vegetables along with millet in the pressure cooker. You can place each item in a separator and cook them at the same time in the pressure cooker.

  • Place the cleaned, washed, soaked millet along with water in a separator/container.
  • Add other items to other containers.
  • Place pressure cooker on the stove on medium high flame.
  • Add 1 1/2 cup water to the bottom of pressure cooker.
  • Place a trivet and place the separator containers on the trivet.
  • Close cooker with a lid.
  • Place weight and let pressure build up.
  • Cook for 3-4 whistles.
  • Switch off after that and let cooker cool naturally so that you can remove weight without the hissing sound. This may take 10-15 minutes after you switch off the flame.
  • Millet will be ready by this time.

Tips and variations

Remember to add the water according to the type of millet.

Add water depending on what you are planning to make after making plain millet.

I usually cook millet in the pressure cooker. That saves time and fuel as I can cook the lentils and the vegetables too using separators.

In what forms millet is available?

Millet forms available:

  • whole grain millet
  • grits/ broken/cracked millet. You may also make this form in your blender.
  • Puffed millet
  • Millet flour

How to store millet?

Store millet in airtight container.

How long millet keeps good? What is the shelf life of whole millet, broken millet and millet flour?

Whole Millet keeps good in a cool and dry place for a year.

Grits or broken millet also keeps good for a year as long as it is dried well and is stored in an airtight container.

Use Millet flour within a fortnight or maximum a month or store it in the fridge if you are planning to keep it longer.

Do we have to wash millet before cooking?

As I do with rice, I do wash millet before cooking till water runs clear.

Do you need to soak millet before cooking?

Soaking millet before cooking is not necessary. But soaking reduces cooking time so it is better to soak if you have time. I soak millet whenever possible before cooking.

Do we need to roast/toast millet before cooking?

Roasting millet before cooking is generally not necessary. It depends on what you are making with millet?

How much water is needed to cook millet? What is the ratio?

Millet to water is almost same as rice. 1:2. This gives just cooked millet. If you want softer cooked millet, you may make the ratio 1:2.5 or 3. This will give you a very soft millet.

What are the methods we can use to cook millet?

We can cook millet in different ways and the time will differ according to the method you choose to cook.

  • in a pot on the stove top.
  • In pressure cooker.
  • In instant pot.
  • In microwave

How long does millet take to cook?

Millet takes about 20 to 30 minutes to cook, depending on the method you use and the final consistency you want.

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