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Ayurvedic spiced millet and brown rice is a simple whole-grain side dish flavored with ghee and a couple of spices to enhance its flavor and digestibility.
Millet is widely referred to as a grain, but it is actually a seed. It’s gluten-free and high in fiber, protein, iron, and copper. It is also alkaline, and low on the glycemic index.
Millet is sweet, astringent, light, warming, and drying.
Millet is most supportive of Kapha dosha, and for enjoying in the spring season.
According to Joyful Belly, on its own, millet’s astringency can feel irritating to the digestive tract, especially if there is any inflammation or sensitivity present.
Knowing this, today’s recipe is designed to balance millet’s dry and irritating tendencies with ghee and supportive spices. Brown rice also adds demulcent and soothing qualities.
Now everyone can enjoy the wonderful millet.
Another trick we are using is to cook the millet way longer than most recipe instructions say, so that it fully softens and hydrates for easier digestion.
Most recipes say to cook millet for 15 minutes, but we will cook it for 30 minutes.
This allows us to combine the millet with brown rice, which also cooks in 30 minutes after its soaked. Whenever combining grains you want to consider their cooking times so that both grains are fully cooked at the same time.
Before cooking, soak the millet and the rice together for 4 hours, or longer.
This speeds cooking, and also helps with digestibility.
Fennel may be a new ingredient to many of us in the West, but it is fairly ubiquitous in India.
You may be familiar with the candied fennel seeds you get as a digestive and breath freshener after a meal in an Indian restaurant? This is known as mukhwas, and there are many exciting and addictive variations featuring fennel seeds.
Fennel seeds are sweet, cooling, and soothing. They calm the mind and increase mental clarity. How about some of that in your food right?
For this recipe, you can purchase the seeds, and then grind them into powder yourself using a coffee grinder reserved for spices.
Or you can substitute with coriander or cumin powder.
Since millet is so drying, the ghee is really critical to add hydration and balance back in. As I said earlier, only Kapha dosha can handle millet well straight up.
If you don’t have ghee, you could use coconut oil or olive oil to similar effect.
If you are Vata dosha, you can use even more healthy fats if you like.
Satisfying in a different way
As someone that tends to default to rice most days, I really do appreciate switching up my grains with something like millet.
It is worth including millet in your diet, because it is rare to find such a satisfying, yet light grain.
You may also find that you feel satisfied with a smaller portion of millet, versus other grains. Perhaps it’s not as addictive.
However, it isn’t easy to find a recipe for millet that you will actually enjoy, like this one.
In Indian cuisine, they often turn millet into flour to make flatbreads, where they mix the millet (known as jowar) with wheat flour (atta), which adds gluten and helps it roll out better.
They also use ground millet together with urad dal to make idli, which is a fermented batter that gets steamed into little cakes.
I encourage you to try this recipe and get to know millet.
Millet is highly nutritious, and an ancient crop that grows on marginal lands, so it is very important for global food security and sustainability.
Ayurvedic Spiced Millet and Brown Rice
- medium saucepan with lid
- 1/2 cup millet soaked
- 1/2 cup brown rice soaked
- 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil (sub with ghee)
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon fennel powder (see notes for preparation and substitutions)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups water
- Cover millet with cold water and soak for 4 hours, or overnight. Drain, and rinse 2-3 times
- Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Add black pepper, fennel powder, and salt. Wait for the aroma and sizzle of the spices (about 30 seconds), then add the drained millet, rice, and water, and stir.
- Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 35 minutes. Stir, then cover and let stand for another 5-10 minutes.