The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my favourite chefs, vegan guru Tal Ronen who likes to use ancient grains. Tapping into my own ancient Horn of Africa heritage with its African and Middle Eastern influences I have used hulled millet, pomegranate and added ingredients that I don’t usually use such as black quinoa and artichokes.
Millet is a common food in much of Africa where it is eaten as a breakfast food in the form of porridge. It is also cooked into a stiff polenta like dish that is served with either vegetables or a meat based sauce. While many rave about quinoa, millet is not as well known in the western world, but it should be. It is a smart carb that is low GI and has been shown to produce lower blood sugar levels than wheat or rice. (Kamari and Sumathi, 2002).
I also used artichokes in this recipe, a vegetable that I am not very familiar with. I have included pictures of how they look like before and after preparation below.
Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem. Wash them in cold water and boil them for about 30 minutes in water. See picture below for what the artichokes should look like once prepared.
And this is what your dish could look like once cooked and all the ingredients assembled on the serving plate.
Black Quinoa, Hulled Millet, Artichoke and Pomegranate Salad
½ black quinoa
½ cup hulled millet
150g red and gold perino tomatoes, cut into halves
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
10 baby artichokes, top and bottom trimmed
Seeds from half a pomegranate
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2-3 cups of water
Salt to taste
1. Toast the millet on medium heat for four minutes or until golden brown. This will enhance the nutty flavour of millet.
2. Wash and boil the quinoa in one cup of water for about 15 minutes with salt to taste.
3. Boil the millet in one cup water for about 30 minutes with salt to taste or until well cooked. Add more water if required.
4. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.
5. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water and cook in a large pot with a cup of water. Cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.
6. To make the pomegranate vinaigrette, thoroughly mix pomegranate molasses, garlic, salt to taste with olive oil and white vinegar. Toss the vinaigrette through the vegetables.
7. Lay out the sliced cucumbers on a large plate. Pile the quinoa and millet in the centre of the plate and arrange the tomatoes and artichokes around the plate.
8. Drizzle any left over vinaigrette and fresh pomegranate seeds on the salad and serve.