Chef – Yi-Wen Lee
1 cup finger millet, washed and soaked overnight in 2 cups water
3 cups organic blueberries (when in season)
1 cup apple juice and 2 cups water cooking the millet
1½ cups apple juice for the blueberry kanten
1 tbsp agar agar sea vegetable flakes or 1 teaspoon agar powder
2 tbsp kudzu root powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
Brown rice syrup or maple syrup
Umeboshi plum vinegar
Bring soaked millet to boil in 2 cups of soaking water plus 1 cup of apple juice and a pinch of sea salt. Place a flame deflector underneath and let cook covered for 30-45 minutes on medium-low heat. In the meanwhile, line a round springform cake pan with non-stick baking paper. After millet is cooked, place millet in cake pan and even it out with a spatula. Then set aside and allow it to cool and naturally set. In separate pot, heat brown rice syrup, almond butter, and a few drops of umeboshi plum vinegar until well mixed. Spread on top of millet crust once it has naturally set. In a separate wide pot, cook 1.5 cup apple juice and the agar agar, stir until it dissolves. Add in blueberry mixture and let cook for 1 minute, then sprinkle in cinnamon, nutmeg, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. In another separate bowl, dissolve kudzu in room temperature water then add it into the fruit mixture and cook for another 2-3 minutes until it thickens. Pour on top of millet crust and let cool. Decorate with lemon rind and sunflower seeds Once completely cool, put in the fridge to allow it to set completely.
Yi-Wen’s whole food health tip:
We all know blueberries are high in antioxidants but did you know millet is a gluten-free and wheat-free whole grain that is high in iron, protein and rich in B vitamins? It was the chief grain in China before rice became popular. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it also has medicinal properties that help to nourish our spleen and pancreas, therefore is helpful for blood sugar disorders. This is a versatile grain which can be used in porridges, cereal, soups and dense breads, but here I use it as a base for a nourishing tart with blueberries to top which can be substituted for apples or pears in the Fall/Winter season.
The almond butter helps add a richer umami taste to this tart as well as added healthy fats. Sunflower seeds are high in zinc and kudzu is a deep growing ‘strengthening’ root vegetable and agar agar is a vegetable based gelatine (also called kanten) used as a natural replacement for the chemically processed gelatin powder for dessert or gelatine dishes. It’s made from certain species of algae or seaweed so also provides vitamins and minerals from the sea.