Millet Pilaf With Shiitake Mushrooms

When I was re-modeling my kitchen years ago the designer opened up my cupboard to see what I had in there and exclaimed MILLET????  The process went down hill after that.  It seems she found it difficult to work with anyone who would eat bird seed, and, not so tactfully, told me so.

So, I was found out.  I do cook millet from time to time.  This “ancient grain” has been around, well, since antiquity, and still used extensively in India, for instance.  And why not?  Millet is more nutritious than wheat, our go-to grain, high in B vitamins, fiber, and protein. And, as a bonus, it does not contain gluten.

This pilaf calls for shiitake mushrooms, so I urge anyone trying this recipe not to substitute regular mushrooms.  Shiitake mushrooms are superior in nutritional value, and when cooked are dense and meaty.

Curry powder can be substituted for home-made garam masala 

Although listed as a side dish on this blog, I use it as a vegetarian entrée for lunch or dinner.


  1. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  2. ½ cup chopped onion
  3. 2 ¼ cups hot water
  4. 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  5. 1 cup millet
  6. 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
  7. 2 teaspoons garam masala
  8. 1 teaspoon salt



  1. Begin heating the 2 ¼ cups of water you will add to the pilaf.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan and sauté the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add millet and cook, stirring almost constantly so that the millet does not stick until it starts to toast and pop (about 2-3 minutes).
  5. Add the hot water and stir.  Cover the pan and lower the heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add the curry powder, salt, and spinach and stir to blend.  The spinach will wilt within a minute or so.
  7. Serve immediately – millet has a tendency to clump when left standing.


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