Millet is another high-protein grain that will pressure cook in a flash to tender perfection. The mild, delicately nutty and lightly sweet-tasting millet can replace rice, couscous or quinoa in any recipe. I was inspired by Indian cumin spiced rice, Jeera, to make this recipe. Just like this recipe’s rice-based inspiration, this millet pilaf is a great companion to a rich veggie or meat dish.
I’ve also made millet plain with a roasted garlic clove with some veggie stock, and then served with a good dousing of fresh olive oil – the kids seriously thought it was couscous!
Millet vs. Quinoa
Millet and quinoa are both seeds that can be used as grains – and they have a very similar low-carb and high-protein profile. However, unlike quinoa, you don’t have to rinse the millet before cooking it but you might want to, anyway.
I stumbled across this millet promotional video during my research. Although it very directly critiques India’s distribution system to the poor it is full of information about millet’s cultural, culinary, and ecological role in Southern India. For the stat-o-philes there are also charts and graphs that compare millet’s nutrition (and cultivation) to rice and wheat. It’s worth a peek, if you have the time.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|3 L or larger||none||1 min.||High(2)||10-min Natural|
- Serves: 4 to 6
- Serving size: ⅙th (about ¾ cup)
- Calories: 100.8
- TOTAL Fat: 3.1g
- TOTAL Carbs: 16.3g
- Sugar Carbs: 0.1g
- Sodium: 390.1mg
- Fiber Carbs: 1.3g
- Protein: 2.4g
- Cholesterol: 0.0mg
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or ghee)
- 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon crushed cardamom (about ¼ teaspoon powder or 3 whole pods)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large white onion, halved and sliced into strips
- 2 cups decorticated organic millet
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In the pre-heated pressure cooker base on medium heat add the oil, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Saute' until the cumin begins to crackle (about 1 minute).
- And the add the onion and sauté the onion until it becomes soft (about 5 minutes).
- Add the millet, coating it well with the cooking oil, then the water and salt.
- Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
- For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 1 minute at high pressure.
For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and count 1 minute pressure cooking time.
- When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, when cooking time is up count 10 minutes of natural open time. Then, release the rest of the pressure slowly using the valve.
- Fluff millet with a fork and serve.
In moderation, millet might be a tasty grain alternative for many people, but some people with certain health conditions or risk profiles might want to exercise caution before adding millet to their meals, both with regard to the serving amount as well as serving frequency.
I don’t want to rain on the millet parade, but those with thyroid conditions or blood sugar regulation impairment/diabetes should exercise caution with millet.
Millet contains thyroid-inhibiting compounds and is well known to contribute to the formation of goiter (enlarged thyroid gland) in populations where millet as a staple food, especially when iodine status is low. Deciding to use millet as a “staple” grain should be considered only if there is no risk or history of goiter or thyroid disfunction.
Additionally, millet and quinoa might have a lower carbohydrate content than wheat, rice, and other commonly eaten grains, but they aren’t “low carb” in any sense. Those with Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), pre-diabetes, and diabetes may still find millet and quinoa will spike blood glucose too high or for too long after eating. Anyone with blood sugar regulation issues should test their response to millet or quinoa with a blood glucose meter on several occasions to make sure that there servings of these carbohydrate-rich pseudo-grains aren’t causing damaging post-meal blood glucose levels.
When preparing to test this grain and post this recipe, I found many reputable online sources that said millet is not only a slow-absorbing carb but that it can actually prevent Type2 Diabetes. I recommend you research this yourself to determine whether the information comes from reputable sources you can trust.
Millet is a nutritious addition to a healthy diet (especially when used to replace other highly refined less-nutritious grains) and, as any food, it should be eaten in moderation.
If you have any doubt whether millet is compatible with your particular health challenges consult your health practitioner before consuming it.
Againstthegrain is right, at 41 carbs per serving millet (nor any other grain) can be considered low carb. Not even if it is slow absorbing. Her (?) warnings for those avoiding carbs due to health issues are appropriate and may help someone who isn’t as informed. This recipe belongs in the gluten-free category, but not in the low carb one.
As a former R. N. nutrition instructor, I too would caution against much millet for diabetics and those with hypothyroidism. There is an excellent article regarding the grain at:
It is accurate. I cook daily for a diabetic and a hypothroid. While I frequently add a tablespoon or two of cooked quinoa to a low-carb salad, it is with the intention of increasing the carbs only slightly (in that small amount) for balance, and also bump the protein content. Diabetics should have some carbs in their diet, but must be careful to balance them with sufficient protein, fiber, and nutrients. Millet has a good amount of potassium, is high in fiber, but isn’t otherwise a very high nutrition food, but as I would use it the same way as I do quinoa, which is in very limited amounts, it can lend an interesting element to a dish.
No grain or any other food can prevent diabetes, either Type One or Type Two, and all carbs raise blood sugar, regardless of their source. Smart substitutions and controlling amounts of carbohydrates eaten can help to control diabetes. Weight control is more important.
Also, for those who take a statin for high cholesterol, be aware that they can also raise blood sugar, so adjust your carbohydrate intake downward accordingly, and watch blood sugar levels even if you are not diabetic.
Sweet, have you seen the dozens of nutrition studies that indicate that consuming MORE healthy (whole grain) carbohydrates can control and even prevent type-2 diabetes? Plainly put, type two diabetes is not a disease of carbohydrates. The drop in insulin sensitivity is caused by “intramyocellular lipid,” the buildup of fat inside our muscle cells. This is not my opinion…this is science.
Therefore the foods one would want to avoid are high fat and especially saturated fat foods, namely animal products. We now are seeing hundreds and thousands of patients able to reverse their type-2 diabetes by consuming a whole foods plant based diet. That is, they consume MORE carbohydrates in the form of whole foods and avoid animal products and their diabetic condition goes away.
I highly recommend all those claiming to know what is “good” for diabetics read the latest science. Be sure that your source is a vetted scientific journal, not some blog. See:
W J Evans. Oxygen-carrying proteins in meat and risk of diabetes mellitus. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Jul 22;173(14):1335-6. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.7399.
M Cnop. Fatty acids and glucolipotoxicity in the pathogenesis of Type 2 diabetes. Biochem Soc Trans. 2008 Jun;36(Pt 3):348-52. doi: 10.1042/BST0360348.
R Taylor. Banting Memorial lecture 2012: reversing the twin cycles of type 2 diabetes. Diabet Med. 2013 Mar;30(3):267-75. doi: 10.1111/dme.12039.
A K Leamy, R A Egnatchik, J D Young. Molecular mechanisms and the role of saturated fatty acids in the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Prog Lipid Res. 2013 Jan;52(1):165-74. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2012.10.004.
D Estadella, C M da Penha Oller do Nascimento, L M Oyama, E B Ribeiro, A R Dâmaso, A de Piano. Lipotoxicity: effects of dietary saturated and transfatty acids. Mediators Inflamm. 2013;2013:137579. doi: 10.1155/2013/137579.
When someone already HAS diabetes, talk of prevention is superfluous. The blood sugar meter tells the whole story when it comes to controlling it. If something makes it spike beyond acceptable limits, don’t eat that. Simple.
Ie. Yes prevention is better, but you can control and in many cases reverse type-2 diabetes. As I wrote above, diabetes can be reversed through a whole food plant based diet.
See full text here:
“Thankfully, not only can diabetes be reversed but so can some of its complications. See Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Reversed? and for diabetic neuropathy, my live annual review From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food.
Of course, preventing it is better:
How to Prevent Prediabetes in Children
Preventing Prediabetes By Eating More
Lifestyle Medicine Is the Standard of Care for Prediabetes
How to Prevent Prediabetes from Turning into Diabetes
There are some foods that may increase the risk:
Eggs and Diabetes
Fish and Diabetes
Diabetes and Dioxins
And others that may help:
Amla versus Diabetes
Flaxseed vs. Diabetes
Diabetics Should Take Their Pulses
Very interesting, thanks for sharing the references – lots of good reading there!
You are a troll. Why would someone with the handle “againstthegrain” be reading and commenting on a millet recipe page unless you were just wishing to bring hate. Go find your friends at paleohacks and save those comments for your own internet cult/community.
Exactly how this recipe is to be made in the instant pot? After browning the millet and spices… than what?
Hit the [manual] button and set the time to one minute – be sure to read the entire manual, especially the safety precautions and instructions, before using your pressure cooker. : )
Is this freezer friendly? It would be a great side dish to pull out on a busy weeknight.
I’m not sure if it’s freezer friendly, but it takes so little time to cook, that you can put it together when you walk in the door, supervise the time up to pressure (if you’re using a stove top cooker) and then just turn it off and get everything else ready for dinner as it does the majority of cooking during the natural release.
Thanks so much for this recipe — I can’t wait to try it! I would also love to know where I can find the lovely white bowl cradling the millet pilaf — beautiful!
Let us know how it turns out. The white bowl is part of an appetizer set I bought in Italy – but it’s made in China, so it might be available anywhere table-ware is sold.
Just cooked this and very disappointed – very bitter :( I will go back to cooking it plain as i just wasted 2 cups of expensive organic millet :/
I suspect your millet went rancid. I store most grains in the freezer in order to keep them fresh, and I avoid buying them from small stores or discount places because they often sell older grains that have gone rancid.
You might also want to rinse it well before cooking. Some grains like quinoa have a bitter taste that you need to rinse well to avoid. I wouldn’t blame the recipe.
Thanks for sharing this information, Magical Life and Welcome!
I’m sorry that you encountered problems with this recipe. it can be very disappointing to try out a new recipe and have it not meet your expectations.
Some things to consider:
* I think that here is nothing inherent in the pressure cooking process that can make a grain taste bitter. Laura can correct me if I’m wrong.
* Cumin has a slight bitterness to it and some folks don’t like it for that reason. If you don’t like so much cumin, then you could either decrease the amount of it or omit it altogether. I found the following article about ways to mitigate cumin’s bitterness after the fact:
You could also try substituting coriander seed or caraway seed for the cumin, but start with ½ the amount of cumin. You can always add more if it needs it.
* Rancid oil can taste bitter.
* Millet is a whole grain, which contains fats that can become rancid if stored improperly.
* I treat every new recipe as an experiment that can go wrong. After all, everyone’s tastes are different and there is always the possibility that I could make it incorrectly. While I do use good quality ingredients, for experiments I don’t use ones that are more expensive than what I wouldn’t feel comfortable tossing out altogether.
* Sometimes it just takes a minor adjustment to make a new recipe a great one for me.
Millet is one of my favorite grains and this recipe looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. Will probably serve it with a pile of cooked greens and soupy seasoned chickpeas.
Thankyou for putting up instructions for both the electric and the stove top pressure cooker!. This recipe looks great, I’ll make it soon!
I didn’t choose to use the flavorings in the recipe as I was just after a basic recipe (mostly a cooking time) for prepping millet in my IP. It was surprisingly hard to find, so thank you for providing. My plain millet cooked up just right.
Made this today, delicious, fast, easy! Followed the recipe without changing, except I also rinsed the millet first, soaking for a few seconds and dumping the water three times until it stopped being cloudy. (I bought it cheap from a bulk bin instead of a more expensive packaged organic millet). Still used three cups of water to two cups of (wet) millet. I might even increase that to 3.5 cups water next time, as it still clumped up a little bit. Smells and tastes delicious!