Saturday, 27 November 2010

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The Magnificent Millet/Hirse/小米 [xiǎo mǐ]


Can be eaten from 4 months, though I prefer to start baby on solid food at 6 months.

Directions:
1. Place 1 1/2 cup of water on the stove to boil.

2. While water is heating, grind 3 tablespoons of millet into powder for 2 minutes or less.

3. Whisk the millet powder into the boiling water and let it sit over low heat for 10 minutes. (Whisk frequently to prevent burning and lumps).

4. Add 3 teaspoons of olive oil and 3 teaspoons of formula milk powder (optional).

OR for older babies:

Add 1 cup of millet to 2.5 cups of water and cook in an automatic rice cooker. Serve or freeze (make 1-2 ice cube trays)

(If you do not have an automatic rice cooker. Cook it in a pot in the same proportion of millet and water. After the water comes to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes. The texture of millet cooked this way will be fluffy like rice. If you want the millet to have a more creamy consistency, stir it frequently adding a little water every now and then. You can also cook it this way with milk instead of water.)

Storage:
1. Cool down, pour into ice cube tray and freeze.

2. Once frozen, knock the cubes out and store them in freezer bags (makes 2 ice cube trays, can store up to 8 weeks)

Tip:
Mixed with 1/2 mashed banana, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon flaxseed or brewer's yeast and serve it as breakfast for baby :-)

Tips for Adults:
1. Cooked millet can be served as a breakfast porridge to which you can add your favorite nuts and fruits.

2. Ground millet can be added to bread and muffin recipes.

3. Toss cooked and chilled millet with your favorite chopped vegetables, chicken or baked tofu cubes. Add dressing and voilà ..... an easy to prepare, delicious meal.

4. You can also serve millet as an alternative to rice or potatoes.

Nutritional Value:
Millet is tasty, with a mildly sweet, nut-like flavor and contains a myriad of beneficial nutrients. It is nearly 15% protein, contains high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins including niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, the essential amino acid methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E. It has the highest protein level of any cereal and is also excellent for potassium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium.

The seeds are also rich in phytochemicals, including Phytic acid, which is believed to lower cholesterol, and Phytate, which is associated with reduced cancer risk.

Millet is gluten-free and is not an acid forming food so is soothing and easy to digest. In fact, it is considered to be one of the least allergenic and most digestible grains available and it is a warming grain so will help to heat the body in cold or rainy seasons and climates.

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Additional Information:
Millet is one of the oldest foods known to humans and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes. It is mentioned in the Bible, and was used during those times to make bread. Millet has been used in Africa and India as a staple food for thousands of years and it was grown as early as 2700 BC in China where it was the prevalent grain before rice became the dominant staple. It is documented that the plant was also grown by the lake dwellers of Switzerland during the Stone Age.

For those who insist on starting solids with baby at 4 months instead of 6 months, millet is a super healthy whole grain cereal for baby, and like rice, it is not likely to cause allergy and is easily digested. Thus, it can be used instead of those commercial processed cereal rice as baby first food (for those who is not keen on using avocado as first food, which is my choice).

Also, for older babies, when baby gets tired of brown rice, and potatoes, why not give baby millet for a change. It is actually more nutritious than brown rice.

References:
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron

http://chetday.com/millet.html

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/4/T042700.asp

http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=53#descr

You can buy millet flour, but I only use whole millet. I prefer to grind it myself. Millet flour is still a processed food.

Take 1 teaspoon of millet

Grind it with a baby blender. I love this Korean baby blender. It is cheap, simple, small and manageable, easy to wash and long lasting (although I have worn down 2 for the last 7 years, this is my third one. This is because I use it so often for so many things)

Here is how it looks like after grinding

Transfer to a pot

Add 80 ml of breast milk

Turn on heat

Bring to boil

Cover and simmer under low heat for 10 minutes or until cooked


Adjust with breast milk for desired consistency 

Transfer to a saucer and serve :-)

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