Millet salad, a new way to eat Haitian pitimi
Have you ever bitten into microscopic rocks while eating millet without meaning to? Is their crackling sound something you’re familiar with?
These questions probably have you thinking that I have gone mad. But I have not. I am simply attempting to describe my experience with pitimi growing up. This grain always ranked high on my “foods to avoid at all cost list.” Yes, I do have one of those.
Growing up, I hated millet. Not only did I hate its mushy appearance, but it seemed to always be stuffed with tiny rock-like bits and pieces. Those rocks made my teeth cringe. I could feel them and hear them. And I hated that sensation and sound.
My including this grain in my cooking is thus quite exceptional. And I have Tchakayiti to thank for it. Were it not for the sense of adventure I acquired through this blog, I probably never would have given millet a shot again. For the longest time, I was convinced that those rocks were just the essence of pitimi. But today, I know better. It is possible to thoroughly clean the pitimi to rid it of any possible rocks and other foreign elements. It is also possible to cook it without turning it into a mush.
The proof is in the tabbouleh style millet salad I am serving you today.
I chose to go that route with this grain because I knew the pitimi ak sos pwa from my childhood wouldn’t cut it. If I wanted to reacquaint my palate with pitimi, I had to find a different way to prepare it. Plus, my family is not fond of that grain either. They never serve it at our family table. If and when we buy it, it’s only to feed the birds. The very same birds we go to war against for the fruits of our orchards.
If I were to feed my family those bird grains, I definitely had to be creative about it. My pitimi had to be light and fluffy. That is why I came up with the tabbouleh idea. I knew the oil mixture would help keep the grains apart. The parsley and tomatoes would simply be an added bonus. And boy was I right. My family loved my millet salad. They even commented that served this way, pitimi is finally edible, and worthy of our table. I agree with them. It is definitely a recipe worth replicating. It is a recipe that taught me something about this grain.
With this culinary adventure, I did not just find a new way to eat pitimi. I also discovered that pitimi does not have to be mushy. After all, I did just cook my millet the traditional way before turning it into a salad. I simply was careful not to cook it in too much water. This does not mean that I would eat my pitimi with sos pwa today, however. I probably never will serve it that way. And there’s one reason for that. Simply put, I am not sure pitimi is a good rice substitute.
I may never eat this grain the traditional way again. But I definitely will be exploring more millet-based recipes. My next adventure is to cook it with djondjon risotto-style. I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this tabbouleh style millet salad.
Tabbouleh style millet salad
I kept this salad simple. You can definitely adjust the seasoning to your taste.
- 1 cup of pitimi
- 2 cups of water
- ½ onion chopped
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tomato chopped
- Green olives
- Bunch of parsley chopped
- ½ chopped onion
- 1 juice of lime
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
To clean the pitimi
Put the pitimi on a flat surface or a tray
Sort through the grains to remove any foreign element
Wash the pitimi in water making sure to remove all floating elements if any
To cook the pitimi
In a thick bottom pot, heat a tablespoon of oil
Add the onions and cook until translucent
Add the pitimi making sure to coat the grains with oil
Cook until fragrant
Add the water and cook on medium until the grains absorb the water
Cover and simmer on low for about 45 minutes
Once the pitimi is cooked, fluff it with a fork and let cool for a few minutes
To make the salad
In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, onions, olives, parsley, lime juice and olive oil
Add them to the cooked millet
Drizzle generously with olive oil, if needed
Serve completely cold