Quick and Easy Lunch with Millets and Veggies

This light, filling and nutritious meal comes together quickly and easily. I didn’t measure anything, but it’s a pretty adaptable recipe and you can play around with the quantities. I used the vegetables I had and you can do the same. I would’ve liked to throw in some cooked beans, like chickpeas, but didn’t have any on hand. I’m sure other herbs, like oregano and thyme, would taste great too. This dish can be made milder or more strongly flavoured by using less or more herbs.

quick and easy lunch with millets and veggies

You need:

  • Foxtail millet (You can use another small millet, such as finger millet, or grain alternatives like amaranth. You could, of course, use rice.)
  • Vegetable broth (I used homemade, which I keep unseasoned and unsalted.)
  • Dried sage
  • Dried marjoram
  • Dried rosemary
  • Black pepper (I used a combination of pre-packaged powder and fresh ground.)
  • Garlic, chopped finely (Use lots for a more garlicky taste.)
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cabbage, chopped (You can use green or red, or both.)
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Spring onions, chopped
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Rinse the millets, and cook them with vegetable broth, sage, marjoram and rosemary, a dash of salt, and water as needed, until soft but not mushy. I did this in the microwave oven.

While the millets are cooking, heat a large frying pan or wok (I used a kadhai) and pour a teeny bit of olive oil in to it. When the oil is hot, add chopped garlic and let it cook on low heat for a minute. Now turn up the heat and add broccoli florets. From this point on, be sure to toss frequently to avoid burning and to cook the vegetables evenly. Cook the broccoli for about 2-3 minutes, then add cabbage and pepper. Stir-fry till a few of the cabbage bits start to look brown and crunchy, then add pineapple chunks. I added fresh ground pepper too. After about 2 minutes, add the white bits of the spring onions, and after another minute, add the green bits. Don’t forget to keep tossing/ stirring the whole time! Mix in the green bits of the spring onions quickly, add salt and mix in. Right away, add the cooked millets – I used a fork to get them from their cooking pot to the kadhai to minimise lumps. Toss well for about a minute, then turn off heat.

If you use a small grain or grain alternative, your meal will be ready in about 20 minutes, and that includes preparation and cooking time!


Chutney Hummus

Is it still hummus if it’s got no garlic, no lemon juice and no sesame seeds in it? Or is it just a chickpea dip? Does it matter when it tastes as good as this does?

chutney hummus

Today, I cooked up an enormous amount of chickpeas and built up quite a craving for hummus and veggies – only to discover the calamitous absence of fresh garlic in my kitchen. What’s one to do? Improvise, of course! And what an improvisation this turned out to be – a sweet and sour and hot hummus with Indian spices that I’m definitely making again.

Now, one drawback of improvised recipes is that you don’t know how good they are until you’ve finished making them, so sometimes you can’t be as definite about quantities as you’d like to be. So do feel free to fiddle around with the quantities a bit to get just the right taste for you.

Here’s a trick that I think helps my hummus get all smooth and creamy – I soak dried chickpeas overnight, rinse and pressure cook them in a moderate quantity of water until they’re very soft, almost falling apart. And I turn them into hummus while they’re still warm, using the cooking liquid as well. If using chickpeas I cooked earlier, I warm them before processing into hummus.

You will need:

  • Chickpeas, cooked – 400 gms (Keep the cooking liquid as well.)
  • Seedless dates, chopped – 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind – 2″ piece or 1 tbsp paste
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Hot red chilli pepper – to taste (I used 3/4 of a mundu chilli.)
  • Salt – to taste

Soak the chopped dates in hot water for at least half an hour. If you’re using tamarind pieces, soak these in a separate bowl. Dry roast coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a tiny hot skillet or frying pan, adding the red chilli pepper right at the end. You want the spices to get just a shade or two darker, and aromatic.

Add the chopped dates, soaking liquid and all, to your mixing contraption. I use the wet grinder jar of mine. Mash the tamarind pieces a tad and pour them through a strainer. You might want to rub the the bits against the strainer to get all the pulp out. Pour this in as well. Add chickpeas, salt and toasted spices. Process until smooth, adding water as needed.

I didn’t have rock salt on hand, but I bet it would make this dip taste even more like a chutney! Next, time, I’m substituting half of the regular salt for some rock salt.