Friday, October 30, 2009

Millet!

Millet has little cachet in Japanese cuisine, it seems. According to my sources, it was the food of miserable peasants when they were unable to afford/forbidden to eat rice (one of my sources is a movie about Japan whose name I can't remember, where the peasants were all, "Oh, woe! We grow the rice for the cruel aristocrats, but all we're allowed to eat is this low-class millet"). In my local Asian market even today, several of the kinds of packets of millet I could buy are marketed as (anyway, this is the English) "mini rice."

I don't get the prejudice. I find millet really appealing, particularly after almost a whole month of rice. The only thing I can think of to justify it is that it's hard to eat millet gracefully with chopsticks. Anybody would look like a country clodhopper trying to scoop up the popcorn-like grains with two sticks. But get over it, already, and use a spoon. I'm sure I'm missing some huge cultural issue, though, since in all my Japanese-cuisine travels I have found a total of one Japanese recipe that involves millet, and in that recipe you boil the millet and then form it into balls, and put them into soups and such. Admittedly, this would make it easier to eat with chopsticks, but tonight I just cooked it according to the package directions, and ate it, though with a fork, like rice.

Tip on quick-cooking tasty tofu: you can always make a very swift tofu dish if you have any kind of oriental sauce—homemade or store bought, just so long as you like it—handy. Just slice some firm tofu into 1/3 inch pieces and lightly fry in a little canola oil until barely golden. Pour on your sauce—this can be as simple as just soy sauce, but the flavours improve with the ingredients, especially if they include sugar in some form—and flip the pieces around until the sauce caramelizes around the tofu. This takes just a minute or so. This was an extremely simple, but delicious, dish that, apart from the millet-cooking time, took approximately 5 minutes to make.

2 comments:

  1. Yum, I like millet too.

    I'm going to make some tomorrow, stuffed inside poblano peppers.

    Happy Halloween!

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  2. thanks for your inspirational japanese recipes and your awesome photography for the month of october....enjoy your november bread!

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