Millet Pancake

Millet Pancake

In an attempt to get more cultures to embrace millet, the United Nations has named 2023 as the year of the millet and they are hoping that within five years, its consumption overtakes that of other grains like maize or wheat. While millet has been cultivated for millennia in countries like India, China, and sub-Saharan Africa, it is little known in the rest of world and certainly, here in the west. At a time when the world is racked with climate uncertainty, natural disasters and war, millet, unlike maize or wheat, is fast growing and drought and pest resistant. There are many types of millet like fonio, pearl, foxtail, and finger. Millet may even be gentler on our bodies as it is naturally gluten-free and has high levels of protein, fiber, and essential amino-acids. In India, we use millet flour for making certain breads, dumplings, and pancakes (aka chilla) in the wintertime. And whole millet is used in making pilafs or khichri. Millet pairs beautifully with dark leafy greens, mushrooms, and meat dishes. Here is a recipe for a pancake made with millet flour that you can either ferment and keep in the refrigerator for weeks or make an instant version.

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Cook Time

30 Min to 1 Day



For the fermented batter:
Step 1
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the millet flour, water, salt, pepper, and turmeric until smooth. Add enough water to achieve a thick smooth pourable batter resembling pancake batter. If lumps persist, let the batter rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then whisk again.
Step 2
Pour this into a clean container, making sure there is enough room for the batter to rise when fermented. Cover loosely and set aside in a warm place in your kitchen (near a sunny window or an oven) for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. The batter will rise a little or at the very least, have bubbles on the top.
Step 3
Whisk in the olive oil and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the instant batter:
Step 1
For the instant batter: Whisk the millet flour, olive oil, egg, yogurt, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, and salt together until smooth. If the batter is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water. If the batter appears lumpy, wait 10 to 15 minutes then whisk the batter again.
To make the pancake:
Step 1
Heat a non-stick or a well-seasoned pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and swirl the oil around to coat the pan. Using a ladle, drop small mounds of the batter and spread slightly to roughly 4-to-5-inch rounds. At this point you can add any sort of sliced vegetable but it is important to add them while the batter is wet. This way the vegetables will set inside the pancake and cook with it. Sprinkle salt on the vegetables.
Step 2
Turn the heat down to medium and within 2 minutes, gently test the edges of the pancake with a spatula and when the bottom appears to be done, flip over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes or until the vegetables have a nice sear.
Step 3
Top the pancake with toppings as desired; fried eggs, marinated raw vegetables, sliced avocado, cheese, pomegranate seeds, sprigs of lettuce or herbs.

Millet pancake batter (for fermenting)

2 cups millet flour

1 1/2 + cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric


1/3 cup olive oil


Millet pancake batter (instant)

1/3 cup millet flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon minced ginger

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt


To make pancake:

Olive oil or ghee for frying

Vegetables to top (Such as sliced mushrooms, sliced leeks or green onions, grated carrots, shredded cabbage, sliced asparagus, etc)

Salt for topping vegetables

Fried eggs

Plain yogurt

Fresh greens or herbs

Notes & Variations

  • You could add eggs to the fermented batter if you like. For 1/2 cup of batter, add one egg and a sprinkling of salt and cook as directed above.
  • When picking the vegetables to cook with the chilla, make sure they are sliced thinly so they can cook with the chilla and be careful not to put too many vegetables or they may not cook right.
  • To make the pancake vegan, replace eggs with 4 tablespoons of coconut milk.

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