Are you up to the millet dish challenge?

FAO’s Global Chefs Challenge is promoting millet recipes to introduce this under-valued food source into our diets

Sustainable Gastronomy Day reminds us to be mindful of the ingredients we use, how we cook them and where they came from, ensuring that our cooking is respectful of the environment. Remember to save resources like water, food and energy as you prepare these delicious millet-based dishes in your kitchen. © Fatmata Binta


A spoonful of olive oil, a handful of diced onions, a sprinkle of pepper, some finger millet batter and voilà, you have yourself a finger millet pancake. For sure, there is an extra step or two of batter preparation before this, but it is just that easy!

But what are millets, you might ask. Well, millets are a diverse group of small-grained, dryland cereals that can contribute to our diets, communities and planet. Not only are they sources of antioxidants, minerals and proteins, they can also survive in different environments, including adverse climatic conditions, and can offer livelihood opportunities to small-scale farmers. 

During this International Year of Millets, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched the Global Chefs Challenge to show off the great potential of millets. Chefs and hobby cooks from around the world have participated by sharing creative, easy and innovative dishes.

So on this Sustainable Gastronomy Day, a day when we lend attention to where our ingredients come from, how our food is grown and how it gets to our markets and our plates, learn about the contribution of millets to our diets and to planetary health. 

Whether you are culinary curious, skilled in the kitchen or just love food, let these delicious recipes introduce you to a whole world of millets.

Left/Top: Chef Binta’s soupu kanja, a fonio and okra stew, combines her expertise on fonio millets with her passion for West African dishes. ©Fatmata Binta. Right/Bottom: Chef Anahita encourages the use of millets, a widely cultivated crop in India, by replacing flour with barnyard millet in a twist on bruschetta. ©Anahita Dhondy.

Fonio and okra stew by Chef Binta

A fonio connoisseur and native of Sierra Leone, Chef Fatmata Binta launched the 2023 Global Chefs Challenge.

In her recipes, Chef Binta demonstrates her passion for West African ingredients, one of them being fonio millet – an ancient African grain. She collaborated on a recipe with women from Kolda, Senegal to share with us this delicious stew called soupu kanja. This recipe calls for numerous types of vegetables and meats, in addition to fonio. But with easy-to-follow steps, we too can try our hand at this classic dish, a nod to the chef’s West African roots.

As a gluten-free and low glycaemic grain, fonio holds great potential for use in a variety of foods. Why stop at stew? There are more fonio recipes from the chefs waiting for you!

Navratri Bruschetta by Chef Anahita

Another easy millet recipe not to miss is barnyard millet bruschetta by Chef Anahita Dhondy Bhandari.

A spin on the classic bruschetta, Chef Anahita substitutes flour with barnyard millet to create a tasty treat that pays homage to her Indian heritage. Millets have been widely cultivated and consumed in India for centuries. However, over time they have been overshadowed by other crops. Now, Chef Anahita is reintroducing this ancient grain in the form of a delectable snack.

Barnyard millet, also referred to as sama ke chawal in the recipe, provides essential nutrients such as some B vitamins, phosphorus and zinc. Use this millet as you would use other grains and explore new flavours at the same time!

A food enthusiast, Spicy Moustache invents millet tortillas with mushroom stuffing. This recipe calls for relatively common ingredients that you might even be able to find at home. © Spicy Moustache

Millet Tortillas by Spicy Moustache

From the mind of Alessandro Vitale, also known as Spicy Moustache, we bring you millet tortillas. Although not a chef by profession, this Italian’s passion for food and cooking manifests in innovative dishes he shares with everyone. By combining millets with other simple ingredients like spinach and mushrooms, he creates a delicious meal that can be prepared easily and quickly in the kitchen. His tortillas include a mushroom stuffing, topped with a dollop of pink béchamel – colourfully pleasing to look at and appetizing to eat.

Spicy Moustache is also a promoter of sustainable gastronomy. From growing and foraging his own ingredients to ensuring his home cooking is not wasteful, he demonstrates how innovative and delicious meals can be prepared sustainably.

These are just a sample of some of the many innovative millet dishes from the Global Chefs Challenge that you can try at home.

Whether you are a foodie or a chef, start exploring the world of millets and their many benefits to celebrate Sustainable Gastronomy Day! Remember, simple habits like avoiding food waste, supporting environmentally conscious food producers or even growing your own herbs can all make your cooking more sustainable.

Check out more recipes from the challenge and share your own creations!

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