On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was perusing a dinner menu the size of a short novel. As I skimmed through the titles and descriptions of various items, I noticed ‘sorghum’ was repeatedly listed. Sorghum? Not only was sorghum listed as an ingredient in wraps, salads, and soups, it was also made into breads.
We whispered between us (embarrassed by our ignorance) as to what this ingredient might be. A vegetable? A cheese? Some kind of soy product?
It turns out sorghum is an ancient grain, popular in Africa. It can be used like rice, but requires far less water to grow – an important fact in drought ridden California. It’s round, like barley, and has a pleasing chew to it. Also, for those concerned with gluten, it’s gluten-free.
Being a gal who treads on the cutting edge (or, at least, nearby), I decided to prepare a sorghum dish and see for myself what LA folks already know. It took 3 tries to find a store in my area that carried this grain – even Whole Foods was a bust. I ended up locating it at a local natural food store, purchasing their one and only bag.
I found a curried sorghum and carrot salad recipe, then promptly adjusted it to suit myself (because that’s what we cooks do). Very tasty!
NOTE: I prefer to use powdered coconut milk so I can make exactly what I need.That way I don’t have to find a way to use up the leftover milk from the canned coconut milk. I order it online.
CURRIED SORGHUM SALAD – makes about 3 cups
- 1 cup raw sorghum
- 4½ cups water
- 1 tsp sea salt, divided
- 2/3 cup coconut milk (if using powdered, put 3 T powder in measuring cup and add water to the 2/3 cup mark)
- 2 T red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tsp curry powder (either purchased in the spice dept or your own blend)
- 1/3 tsp chili powder
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 2 cups carrots, shredded
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
Bring sorghum, 1/2 tsp salt, and water to a boil. Turn burner down, keeping water at a simmer. Cover with lid slightly askew to allow steam to escape until most of the water has been absorbed – then you can put the lid completely on. Start taste testing after about 50 minutes. Once the sorghum is chewy, but not crunchy, it’s done. It can take as much as an hour or more to cook. Pour through a sieve to remove excess water.
While sorghum is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine the coconut milk, vinegar, curry, chili, 1/2 tsp salt, and sugar.
Blend together the cooked sorghum, dressing, carrots, cranberries, scallions, and pumpkin seeds. Refrigerate. Can be served room temperature, but I think it’s best chilled.