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all this "Thunder Millet" because it's thunderously awesome. And spicy. It's one of my go-to dishes for when I just want to get thunderclapped in the face by some spectacularly flavorful food without too much effort. (If I want to make something that requires more effort, I'll make my "Beef"abulous Stew.) It's loosely inspired by the Ethiopian Millet recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbook Appetite for Reduction, which I highly recommend (and it's usually pretty hard to sell me on anything with a name like "appetite for reduction", so trust me, this is a REALLY good cookbook.)
This is a dish with a lot of flexibility for creativity and personal preference. At the bottom, I've got some notes about proteiny things I've added to the dish. Also, realistically if I'm making this just for myself, I'm going to make it WAY hotter than I would make it for anyone unless I knew for sure they would appreciate my preferred level of face-melt. I've tried to modulate the recipe for "this is how I'd make it if I were serving it to a friend who has said that they like spicy food, but I haven't yet calibrated their definition of 'spicy food' to mine, so I'm playing it a little on the safe side here". You can always make it hotter, but you can't really undo it once you've done it. ;-)
1 ½ cups millet
3 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced or mashed (or 1-2 tsp powder if you don’t have fresh)
a handful of cilantro, chopped (unless you hate cilantro)
1 tsp fennel seed
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked hot paprika and/or 1 tsp chipotle
4 medium tomatoes, diced with juice included (or use 2 cups of canned diced tomato)
several handfuls of spinach leaves
soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos to taste
½ cup lemon juice
several handfuls of peanuts
hot sauce as desired
Put the millet and water in a pot. Bring it to a boil, stir well, then turn the heat all the way down and cover the pot. Cook for about 15 minutes, till it’s nice and fluffy. Give it a good few stirs to keep it from getting soggy-bottomed, then set it aside.
Heat the olive oil in a pot (probably one that’s a bit larger than the one you just used to cook the millet). Saute the onion till translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, cilantro, and fennel seed (in that order), give it a minute, then add the rest of the spices. Stir everything a few times, then add the tomatoes. You’ll be glad you included the juice, because that will now zap up everything that was sticking to the bottom! Cook this all together, stirring frequently, while the tomatos cook down. Stir in the spinach and the rest of the liquids (soy sauce or Braggs, and the lemon juice). When the spinach has wilted, stir in the millet. You may have to break it up a bit if it’s all chunky-like, but once the sauce starts mixing in with it, it’ll do its happy saucy millet thing. Add the peanuts and taste to see if you want to add more hot sauce.
I usually add something proteiny to this to pump it up a notch and give it more textures (I love textures). When I made it this afternoon, I sliced up 2 Field Roast chipotle sausages (they’re vegan, and they’re AWESOME), sauteed them in a little oil, then added them to the pot. I’ve done it before with tempeh and other kinds of seitan (prepared the same way, sauteed in a little oil first), and I’ve done it with red beans and with sprouted black lentils* (added at the same time as the tomatoes).
*OHMYGOD THOSE ARE GREAT, I’ll make something with them later this month and you will see.