During a little spring cleaning in the kitchen last weekend, I came across a bag of millet with less than a cup left. We don’t seem to care much for millet. We’ve tried cooking the homey grain like polenta, or in lieu of rice, but have found it to be sort of blah in both flavor and texture. I didn’t want to throw out the rest of the bag, but there wasn’t really enough millet left to make it worth my time to find a spot in the cupboard for it. So I cooked it up instead, as a dairy-free “pudding” of sorts. After savory millet had failed to thrill, I hoped that a sweet version might pleasantly surprise us. And did it ever!
For such a blank slate of a grain, millet offers a surprising number of health benefits, including being a great source of vegetarian protein, magnesium, and fiber. This aromatic preparation offers the delightful duality of being scrumptious enough for dessert, and nutritious enough for breakfast.
This pudding has a strange and strangely addictive texture. It is at once moist and fluffy like a cake, creamy like a pudding, and also has that slightly sticky crunch particular to coconut macaroons. You can serve this pudding warm or cold, straight out of the baking dish in all its fluffy glory, moistened with a little extra non-dairy milk, or dolloped with whipped coconut cream. Any way you dress it, this pudding is lovely and comforting. I’m going to have to restock the pantry with millet.
Coconut Cardamom Millet Pudding
3/4 cup whole grain millet
3 cups canned coconut milk
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup honey or raw agave nectar (use agave to keep it vegan)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 1.25 or 1.5 quart capacity stoneware or glass baking dish with coconut oil and set aside (I used a 10″ x 7″ rectangular dish).
Bring the coconut milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until honey is dissolved. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish, cover tightly with foil, and set the dish on a metal baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until millet is tender.
Serve warm or cold, as-is, drizzled with a little bit of additional non-dairy milk, or dolloped with coconut cream. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. Makes 6 to 8 servings.