Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Millet Vegetable Cakes

Millet Veggie Cakes (02) by MeetaK

Dishes like this really excite me. At first they look like any ordinary savory cakes, but a look closer and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the versatile revelation. These cakes are inspired by the famous potato latkes, which here in Germany are eaten as a side to several types of dishes. You'll often find them served with veal in a creamy sauce, with beef ragout and my favorite with a simple order of apple sauce.

I've taken the potato latkes and given it a whole new dimension. Instead of potatoes I've used millet, added a few Mediterranean vegetables and some aromatic rosemary. The result is an extremely flavorful and versatile side dish that can accompany fish, meat, poultry and vegetables. Not only that but I've also served them for breakfast with omelettes or scrambled eggs, for lunch with elegant smoked salmon and for dinner with a hearty ragout or just roasted vegetables. The possibilities with this are truly endless.

I started experimenting with millet a few years ago. Here in Germany babies are encouraged to eat grains and cereals. Often called "brei" (porridge), these are amongst the first types of solid foods a baby is introduced to in the form of porridge. Soeren grew up on millet, spelt and 7 grain cereals and porridge. Then after he began eating the same food we did, I stopped buying these cereals.

One day, a few years ago, I had time to spare and was not in a rush to go through the aisles at my organic store. I noticed packets of cereals and grains. Not in the baby food aisle but in the aisle where rice, couscous and co. were stored.

Were these always here? Or are they new? I put back the packet of couscous on the shelf and instead put a bag of millet in my shopping cart.

Back at home I was scratching my head at what to make with it. Besides baby porridge I was unsure of how to put the bag of millet to use. I was surprised that my mum came to help. Surprised because I did not even remember ever eating millet while growing up. But she assured me that millet was a staple in Indian cuisine, often grinded into flour.

"Use it like you would rice." she advised. So, began my experimenting phase with millet. I made several pilaf type of dishes. Rediscovering millet was something of a revolution in my kitchen, with both Tom and Soeren loving the mild nutty. Soeren's tastebuds must have been familiar with flavor as he had no trouble re-accepting it back in our diets.

I've come up with several great ideas using millet over the past few years. It is a wonderfully versatile grain and can be used in several ways. It can be creamy like mashed potatoes or puffy like rice. Besides cooking it as breakfast porridge it can be used alternatively to rice or potatoes. Grinding millet and adding the flour to bread, cake or muffin recipe will add a new texture and flavor to your baked goods.

It is important to thoroughly rinse the grains under cold running water before cooking them. To release the nutty flavor millet offers dry roast the grains in a skillet before boiling them. When the grains turn a golden color simply add them to the boiling water or stock.

For fluffy rice like millet cook one part millet grains to two and half parts boiling water. Once the liquid and returned to a boil, turn heat down and covered, simmer for 25 minutes. A more creamier texture can be achieved by cooking it like risotto - stir frequently and add the liquid every now and then.

Millet Veggie Cakes (01) by MeetaK

There is not much you can do wrong with this grain. My recommendation just let your imagination run wild. I did and came up with these savory millet vegetable cakes.  

 

Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

250g millet grains, rinsed and drained.
600 ml vegetable stock
3 eggs, separated
100g quark - substitute with sour cream or crème fraiche
1 red bell pepper, cut into juliennes
1 red carrot, cut into juliennes
50g olives, chopped
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil


Method

Dry roast the millet grains in a skillet until golden. In the meantime bring the stock to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add the roasted millet into the boiling liquid, turn heat down and simmer for approx. 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl stir together, egg yolks, quark, vegetables, olives and herbs. Incorporate the cooked millet into the mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks have formed, then fold into the millet mixture. Heat the olive oil in a skillet.

Form small flat pancake-like cakes with the millet mixture and on low heat fry the millet cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden.

Serving suggestions:

 

 


Verdict

Millet Veggie Cakes (03) by MeetaK

Maybe you can share my excitement for these. They are never really out of place and can be served with any meal. What I truly like about these is that you can create a new flavor combination every time, using other vegetables, spices or herbs. I have gone Indian, Italian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern with these cakes, by adding items like garam masla, pecorino cheese, sprouts and chickpeas to name a few. The ideas are plentiful - one thing remains delicious healthy millet cakes.

Grains are being featured for two events this month. My friend and Daily Tiffin colleague Suganya of Tasty Palettes is hosting this month's session of Jihva for Ingredients (JFI) and chose Whole Grains as her theme. Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was also craving grains. Being this month's hostess for Weekend Breakfast Blogging (WBB) she asked us to show us grains in our breakfasts. I'd like to send both of them these great savory millet and vegetable cakes.

You might like these ideas from WFLH:

Coucous Salad 03 framed Couscous Salad
AmaranthGranola 06 framed Amaranth Nut Granola
Bulgur Mixed Veg and Feta 04 framed Bulgur with Vegetables and Feta

From around the blogs:

 

Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

20 comments :

  1. I have never used millets but ur post and the picture has tempted me a lot.Herbs like sage and rosemary certainly impart a great flavor.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is wonderful, Meeta.
    I can even see this becoming a light meal if served with a raita.
    I use millet flour quite a bit to make rotis and in my breads, but have never cooked the grain.
    Thanks for participating in WBB.

    ReplyDelete
  3. These look very pretty... I agree with you... they're never out of place.

    ReplyDelete
  4. brilliant Meeta ...bajra !! I 'm sure this tastes killer ! its been ages since i had millet !

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have never had this, so this is something new for me. I do mak bread from spelt.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I definitely share the excitement - what a marvelous dish!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've never had millet grains before, but looking at these cakes make me wanna go out and buy some right now. :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just beautiful, Meeta! I haven't bought millet in years and years, since way back whenever when you could only find it in dusty, no-turnover 'natural' food stores. Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Meeta,
    I've been a lurker here for a long time. I drool over you gorgeous pictures and silently leave. But this recipe has made me de-lurk. A fabulous one, this - am bookmarking it. All the best to you and WFLH.

    Best,
    Mamatha

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the interesting info . I didn t even know millet existed. I ll search for it next time I go shopping :) The photos are great.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't think I've ever tried millet before, but now I want to go find some! These look and sound delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Meeta, what a great combination! It looks delicious. Also congrats on your wedding anniversary milestone. Wishing you many, many more!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Meeta

    Delurking to say this sounds wonderful! I can almost imagine a mixed-grain version :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. millet! I gotta go check it out (on the web)!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for the information on millet and the recipe (which sounds great).

    I rarely use millet, but this recipe would be a good place to start using it more.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Meeta, I grew up on millet, too :) The cakes look delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for the comments everyone. I know that millet is not common for some people or they are simply unfamiliar with it! Give it a try you really will be surprised at how easy it is and great it tastes!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I knew I'd bump into someone in comments who would spell out an Indian name for millet. Bajra? Thanks KK (Kate/Kajal). We get bajra to feed the pigeons at home. Home they won't mind me nicking some...LOL! I've got to try this; love alternative grains. Do you think this can be made into bread too?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta