Ah, the simple pleasures of life. There is nothing more comforting, to me, than a bowl of plain millet porridge (小米粥), served with Chinese condiments such as pickled “cai xin” or mustard greens, braised peanuts, fermented tofu & meat floss. This type of simple homely food is my ideal type of meal.
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This recipe covers two methods of making millet porridge – the traditional stove top method as well as the rice cooker method.
I love to add wolfberries (Taiwanese style) and/or flavour it with fried shallots and shallot oil. If you don’t have any side dishes, just serve the porridge plain with Chinese condiments and you have a meal ready.
This is a close-up of millet (小米). To me, they look like couscous or bird seeds. This tiny “grain” is actually a seed. Millet is gluten-free, largely considered as a complex carb (great for weight-watchers) and packed with vitamins & minerals. It is easily digestible, so the porridge is perfect food for toddlers, elderly and those recovering from flu.
In Singapore, I saw the the 1kg vacuum-sealed pack (see above) at Sheng Siong supermarkets, Mahota Market and NTUC Finest.
Method 1 (stove-top). The cooking method is similar to cooking porridge. Add rinsed millet and water in a big pot. Bring to boil and lower heat to a simmer. In the early stages of cooking, you will see some foam gathering on the surface so if that bothers you, use a skimmer to discard the foam. Stir regularly, scraping the bottom of the pot with a silicon or wooden spatula or ladle as pictured above, so that the millet will not stick to the bottom of the pot. It is recommended to keep the pot uncovered during cooking, as the water boils over easily. The porridge is cooked in about 20 to 30 minutes. You can cook longer if you want a more gooey, more congee-like consistency.
Method 2 (rice cooker). Omg, the rice cooker is such a BIG convenience. You need a multi-function rice cooker with the “Porridge” feature. Add washed millet and water to the rice cooker. Set to “Porridge” and cook. When the porridge is done, stir it with a ladle. The rice cooker method is a huge time-saver as you don’t have to watch the stove at all. Even if I want to make flavoured millet porridge, I use the rice cooker to make plain millet porridge first, then transfer it to a pot on the stove to cook with various ingredients and seasonings.