I hate chickpeas, except when in falafel. My husband hates millet, except in those millet falafels. Which leads me to a conclusion that in our household anything will pass as edible if stuffed with enough mint, parsley and spices and served in a wrap.
When I moved to the Netherlands it was quite a shock to find out that millet is not very popular and therefore, easy to find in shops. How this could be possible when millet is so good and versatile? With milder taste than quinoa, it can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. Millet is basically a magic grain that can turn into a fake cheesecake, burgers or base of a salad. It also has a decent protein content and due to being a full grain, high nutritional value. Bonus points for being naturally gluten free.
Millet can be found in “eco bio organic healthy” type of stores, and in Polish shops, where it is usually much cheaper.
Millet falafels are much easier to make than regular ones: no soaking the chickpeas, no meat grinders or food processors. Just one pot and hand blender. They also turn very crispy even without deep frying them, which also reduces the mess in the kitchen. Generally, millet falafels are a fuss-free meal that still derives those delicious Middle Eastern flavours.
I can anticipate some questions about the use of fresh herbs: no, they cannot be substituted with dried ones. And then what should you do with the rest if you buy fresh mint and parsley and then only use a part of it? Remove the leaves from the stems, put them in a food processor or chop finely and pack into ice cube tray. Ta-da, fresh herbs ready to take out of the freezer every time you need them.
Millet falafels (makes 16 balls/4 portions)150g millet (uncooked)
2 garlic cloves
1 small or 1/2 big red onion
2 spring onions
1 heaping tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon za’atar
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Put the millet in a pot (without water!) and roast it for a couple of minutes on medium heat, stirring to prevent burning, until you can smell a faint nutty scent. This step prevents the millet from turning bitter and is optional. Add 350ml water and cook the millet for about 20 minutes, until the water evaporates and the grains are soft.
In the meantime, finely chop the herbs, onions and garlic. When the millet is cooked, add spices, onions and garlic, mix and roughly blend 1/3 of the mixture (I do it in the pot with a hand blender). Blending makes millet very sticky, so the balls will be glued by it. Add tahini and stir thoroughly with a spoon.
With your hands form approximately 16 balls. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat and fry the millet falafels for about 10 minutes, turning frequently, until they are golden and crispy on all sides.
Serve with pita, hummus and veggies, in a wrap or on a salad. I also like them with tomato sauce spiced with a bit of cinnamon and cumin. Millet falafels can be reheated the next day in an oven for about 10 minutes.