November 20, 2011

Sour cereal: a rich, spicy soup made from millet and coconut

In my last post, about the vegan blogger potluck held at my house, I mentioned that one of the guests brought a delicious, coconut-y soup made from millet. Natalie, the person who prepared the excellent dish, agreed to let me share the recipe. She said her mother got the recipe years ago from a Siddha Yoga ashram in Hawaii, and even though I can't know for sure they would be willing to share it, I'm going to take a chance that it would be OK. I'm printing the recipe as it was given to me, but feel free to change ingredient quantities to suit your taste. I plan to make some changes next time I make this, but it's really great as written, so you might want to try it before changing it. Thank you Natalie!

Sour cereal
(2 to 4 servings)
  • 3-2/3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste. This was too salty for me.)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch fenugreek
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup shredded dried coconut
  • 1/2 tomato (I used one roma tomato)
  • 2 to 3 pitted dates, optional (I used 2)
  • 2 fresh green chilies (I used 1 jalapeno), seeded
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled
  • 1/3 cup millet, washed
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  1. Add salt, oil, cumin, fenugreek, cayenne to the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add millet and onion, stir, and return to a boil.
  3. Turn heat to low and cook five minutes, uncovered.
  4. Make the masala. Add coconut, tomato, dates, pepper, and ginger root to a blender jar and blend until well-combined.
  5. Add the masala to the millet mixture, cover and cook on low for 45 minutes.
  6. Add additional water as needed to maintain a soupy consistency. Taste for seasonings.

We had the soup with steamed baby bok choy and deep-fried onion tofu from the tofu shop. Completely wrong accompaniment, I know, but so good.

Slow Cooker recipe testing

We loved the stuffed collard leaves that I tested for Robin Robertson's upcoming slow cooker book. Believe it or not, I've never stuffed collards, only cabbage, and I was amazed how much easier it was to work with collards. From now on, it's collards for me!

Wisconsin has changed ...

My husband snapped this photo on his recent visit to our former home of Madison, Wis. It was tacked to the front door of the Green Owl vegetarian and vegan restaurant, because Wisconsin now has concealed carry. You can pack heat in any place that hasn't posted a warning, such as restaurants, shops — even the Capitol building. As an ironic side note, people were recently prohibited from bringing cameras into the capitol during a protest, but not concealed weapons. We've only been gone two years, but so much has changed ...


  1. Uhm, This is GiGi from Siddha Yoga ashram in Hawaii and as enlightened as I am, Andrea I cannot believe you posted another enlightened soup from me, no matter delicious it is. What is done is done, and you may keep it in this post this one time.

  2. I have to say... it seems quite standard and normal without the name "sour cereal" - but that seems to take it from normal, to super spooky!

    And that is crazy about the gun laws! I live in Australia, and... you would never see anything like that here. No one carries guns other than law enforcement!

  3. Thanks for the recipe, Andrea! The soup was pretty intriguing when you posted about it last time. I wasn't sure what to expect but anything with ginger, hot chiles, and dates sounds very good.

  4. Andrea, I've been meaning to wrap with collards for eons now; thanks for the nudge. As for cabbage, have you tried freezing & defrosting the head first? It's my grandmother's trick & it works wonders.

  5. The whole concealed carry thing is scary here. I feel like we're going backwards. Between that & Walker, Wisconsin has really gone downhill, IMO. Seeing those signs on doors of businesses is so strange.

    The soup & rolls looks really good. I love the combo of ingredients in the soup.

  6. GiGi,
    Thank you for your benevolence.

    The name seems strange to me, too, as the soup isn't sour or fermented.

    Australia 's got it right. I don't think people should carry weapons. According to Wikipedia, "while there is no federal law specifically addressing the issuance of concealed carry permits, 49 states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit from local and/or law enforcement.[1] Illinois is the only state without such a provision."

    Many years ago, I lived in Geelong for five months, and traveled throughout Victoria Province as well as to a few places in NSW.

    The soup is really, really good, though I plan to update the recipe, of course.

    I've never tried the freeze-defrost thing, just the burning fingers routine. I'll try looking for more info about that. However, the collard wraps worked great — just steamed them until flexible in my bamboo steamer, and trimmed the ribs so they rolled up easily.

    Have you signed a petition yet? RECALL!

  7. I really want to make this recipe soon! It's such a unique way to use millet, well I would never have thought of it anyway.

    The bok choy looks yummy too; it sort of looks like you braided it.

  8. I agree with Rose, some of your bok choy does look braided! LOL - you'll stop at nothing for the benefit of a lovely food presentation, will you? ;-)

    Speaking of food, I've scoured Sheridan for celeriac so I could make the parsnips and celeriac soup, but with no success. I've looked and asked for it by both its names, and looked for it visually, using your description. Nada. *sigh*

    Wow, the wonders of living in a fear-based society. Charming. Are you still registered to vote in WI or will you be voting in WA now? Because it looks like ever since you moved, WI's politics have gone downhill! I'm sure WY allows guns everywhere. I'm surprised they don't require people to carry them. And they probably wouldn't let anyone post a sign like the one in the window of the Green Owl. (Since it would infringe people's right to be paranoid and violent, heaven forbid).

  9. Rose,
    I never would have thought of it either. (The other kind of weird thing I've made with millet is millet mashed potatoes.) As for weaving the bok choy — can't take credit for that, and didn't even notice it! The self-braiding bok choy was a great purchase from Costco.

    I'll certainly try to braid more food in the future, if you think it makes the photos look better. :)

    I'm happy to say no vote of mine went towards electing Scott Walker and his crew. It's been a sad two years for Wis. politics and the people who live in the state — especially the hard-working people who've seen their bargaining rights disappear. I hope the recall election is successful; I hear the petition signing is going well.

  10. I knew you wouldn't have cast votes for Walker and his evil minions, but figured WI was sorely missing your votes for his opposition. I hope the recall is successful too, and am glad to hear the petition signing is going well! (I'd bet my vegan boots that Molly has signed it!)

    I've made those millet mashed taters before, and thought they were pretty good! And I'm impressed that you can get self-braiding bok choy at Costco. Did that feature cost extra? ;-) I think most things look lovely braided, so if any other foodstuffs lend themselves to braiding, then I say braid away! :-)

  11. Yeah, the concealed carry thing stinks. We don't have the signs on our school, thank goodness, because schools are exempt. But I see them everywhere and it's creepy.

  12. Laloofa,
    You'd be amazed at what you can get at Costco. After an initial rocky start, Costco and I are good friends.

    I didn't realize that 49 states have concealed carry. I think I'll get a sign for my house, just in case.

  13. Now what are you going to do with that 12 gauge shotgun I know you're fond of toting around?

    The soup - how very unique. I studied the recipe, and I think the flavors would definitely work...for me. Now, my family, er, ah, oh well. I'll make it on a night when we have lots of leftovers for them to choose from.

  14. To answer your question- yes. :)

  15. Blessedmama,
    I'll have to get much looser pants.
    The soup is so good, and you'd never guess it was made with millet. It's a little spicy, though you can control that.

    Kind of thought so. :)

  16. The soups sounds delicious. I can't wait to try it. And, your stuffed collard leaves look so pretty. I think I may need to put those on my menu soon too.

  17. Michelle,
    I hope you like the soup — I love it! I want to try making collard rolls with a traditional cabbage roll filling and cook them in sweet/sour tomato sauce — maybe in the slow cooker.

  18. Glad to hear the sour is just in the name and not in the actual soup, because it looks so good! The stuffed collards look yummy too! They look a little like lotus leaf bundles. :-)

  19. Chow vegan,
    Me, too. I don't understand the name at all. I don't think I've ever seen lotus leaf bundles!

  20. I grew up eating the "sour cereal" that was posted here, but my mother hasn't made it in years and your recipe has helped fill in the missing pieces. Thanks. The chilies we used were Anaheim chilies and 3T dried coconut flake instead of the oil. The cumin was whole and added with the masala. Add in 1 bunch fresh cilantro at the end and top with brewers yeast! sooo good!
    Hope that helps!

    1. Thanks for the added information, Melinda. I'd never had this before but I thought it was really fantastic. The masala has 1/4 cup of dried coconut — I'm wondering if the additional coconut is also added.


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