Seasonal Recipes

Spiced Millet Pilaf with Beetroot, Feta & Mint

Serves 6 or more as a side

1 bunch baby beetroot, leaves reserved and stems trimmed to 2cm

3 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 long green chillies, finely chopped (de-seeded if desired)
a handful fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 rice cups (315g) hulled millet
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 3/4 rice cups (675ml) cold water

1/2 cup (65g) lightly toasted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
crumbled feta cheese, coriander + mint leaves and lemon wedges, to serve

mint + beetroot top pesto dressing
the trimmed leaves from the baby beetroots (approx 100g once stems are trimmed off)
1 cup packed mint leaves
1/2 cup (65g) lightly toasted cashew nuts
1/2 long green chilli (leftover from the pilaf, de-seeded if desired)
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place trimmed beetroots into a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Peel and cut into quarters, halves or little chunks. It's up to you.

Add ghee or oil to hot cast iron pot or pressure cooker on saute, then the mustard and cumin seeds. Stir briefly, then when the seeds start to pop add the onion, cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, chilli, curry leaves and turmeric and stir for a further 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in millet and salt and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often until toasty smelling. Carefully pour in the water, give it all a good stir to make sure the ingredients are level. Pop on the lid, leave to cook. when done remove lid and fluff up millet with a fork. Replace lid until you are ready to serve.

While the millet is cooking, place all the pesto ingredients into a small food processor and blitz until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you'd like it a little thinner, simply add a little more lemon juice and olive oil.

Stir cashews, coriander and mint through the millet pilaf (reserving some for garnish if desired). To serve, place a scoop of pilaf onto plates, top with some beetroot, scatter over feta and drizzle with pesto. Serve with extra lemon wedges for squeezing, if desired. 
Note: Quinoa can be cooked in exactly the same way as millet using a rice cooker.